As We See It

What will become of Liberace’s former home?

We thought partying at Liberace’s house would look a lot more, well, sparkly.
Photo: Steve Marcus
Molly O'Donnell

After an hour of marveling at interior design that includes everything from etched Aubrey Beardsley mirrors to a ceiling mural of Liberace’s face, I’m still puzzled. Not about the design of the iconic entertainer’s mansion, but about the fate of the space itself.

In between bites of piano-shaped hors d’oeuvres, I wonder what will happen to the recently purchased property. Are the design mockups in each room what used to adorn the now-empty walls or what they will look like after some unspecified renovation?

“The Liberace Foundation is still committed to moving Downtown,” says Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Brian Paco Alvarez when I snag him in the hall.

Nothing shines quite like Lee's Rolls Royce.

But it’s British timeshare guru and millionaire Martyn Ravenhill who has invited us to his most recent acquisition to celebrate the release of his book The Social Stockmarket (think, How to Win Friends & Influence People) and to unveil his plans for the house that sequins built.

After nearly two hours, Ravenhill takes the stage in what appears to be Liberace’s garage, lit by at least six chandeliers. He says he hopes to get the city to change the house’s designation from a single-family dwelling to a kind of museum. Ravenhill explains his plans to cordon off an area of the house for himself and restore the mansion to its former glory—“get it looking as close to when Liberace owned it as possible.”

Having bought the property in a fit of excitement, Ravenhill let his inner fan lead the way. It didn’t hurt that he paid a song, “the London equivalent of a two-bedroom flat,” he laughs.

In the gleam shining off Liberace’s Rolls Royce, on loan from the Foundation, Ravenhill looks toward a glamorous future for the fallen property. Somewhere Liberace is smiling.

This story has been corrected to reflect that the Liberace Foundation is moving Downtown.

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