|Magician Criss Angel is known for performing stunts like burying himself alive, levitating off the tip of Las Vegas's Luxor hotel and being lifted by helicopter via fishhooks dug into his back, all with his signature goth style and highly dramatic flair. His new six-bedroom, nine-bathroom home, which he purchased for about $12 million and has spent at least $8 million renovating, is about as unconventional as one might expect.
In a community with multiple guard gates about a half hour from the Las Vegas strip, the 22,000-square-foot Mediterranean features dark wood, onyx, marble and gothic interior trimmings like custom stained glass and wrought iron. It abuts the 13th hole of a private golf courseâ€”13 is Mr. Angel's "lucky number."
The home has many Vegas mansion trappingsâ€”10 fountains, a bronze sculpture garden, a 3,000-square-foÃ©ot master suite and a sprawling infinity pool with four fire pits, underwater bar stools and a seating island reachable by a small stone footbridge. The pool's focal point: an acrylic ball about 4 feet in diameter with water cascading around it, sitting just above the water's surface. Nearly the entire back of the house opens to the waterscape with wall-size glass pocket doors.
Inside is Mr. Angel's extensive collection of magic memorabilia, including items like Harry Houdini's handcuffs and Lance Burton's top hat. DÃ©cor includes drawings and paintings by Salvador Dali, as well as several custom pieces by popular artist Michael Godard including a three-dimensional painting of a rabbit pulling Mr. Angel's head out of a hat. There are numerous gothic crosses and two large murals of crucified Jesus, one of which is embellished by drops of Mr. Angel's own blood puddled on the floor below.
A stone rotunda just off the home's entry-way has two 19th-century wood chairs and a 200-year-old Bible, which belonged to Mr. Angel's late father; a gold cross hangs above. Upstairs, a bathroom is wallpapered in fake $100 bills. A framed photograph of Mr. Angel overlooks the toilet. Several coins are shellacked to the floor, and the mirror above the sink squirts water.
"This is all me, I didn't have any designers," said Mr. Angel, an energetic and boyish-looking 42-year-old with a long black hair and a Long Island accent.
Raised Greek Orthodox, Mr. Angel, whose real name is Christopher Sarantakos, grew up on New York's Long Island, where his Greece-born mother still lives part-time, though she has her own room at his new house. He began performing as a young child, and his big break came when he got his own off-Broadway show around 2001, after which he starred in several TV specials.
Mr. Angel's sixth season of his A&E reality show "Mindfreak" debuts Aug. 4; he also performs 10 live shows a week at the Luxor under his 10-year, $100 million contract in a show he collaborates on with Cirque du Soleil called "Believe." Some critics have panned the show, though it often ranks in the top five or 10 Las Vegas events in terms of weekly ticket sales, according to TicketNews.com. Mr. Angel also markets over 1,000 branded products, from magic kits to clothing.
After several years of living in Las Vegas hotel suites, Mr. Angel purchased this home, the first he's owned and inhabited, in December and began renovating soon after. A newly built 15,000-square-foot seven-bedroom house in the area that has an indoor bowling alley is listed for $7 million.
Mr. Angel said he named the house "Serenity" because it offers a respite from a busy schedule and it's a place for friends and family to hang out on his day off. "For me, this is very tranquil and serene, and then I have this life that is chaos," he said. On a recent visit, Serenity was a flurry of activity, however, with landscapers, staffers and relatives buzzing about. In addition to his chef, a housekeeper, an executive assistant and a personal assistant (who lives on the property), two handymen and his brother Costa are frequently at the home.
Mr. Angel also uses the home as a place to work, editing his show from the upstairs screening room. His home office, which had dark wood floors and granite countertops, is inspired by the magic stores he'd hang out in as a childâ€”though it's filled with antiques instead of merchandise. "I wanted to bring that sense of wonder I had as a kid that you loose when it's a business," he said. Shelves are lined with items like memorabilia from magicians like Doug Henning. "You get the chills when you look at this stuff."
Mr. Angel confessed to being something of a neat freak. One of his three laundry rooms also has dry-cleaning capabilities, and his two antique pinball machines are covered in plastic because his cat likes to climb on them. (An attached note reads "please do not use the pinball machines without Criss's assistance, per Criss.") "He's probably one of the most focused workers and individuals I've ever met," says his manager David Baram. "I think that's reflected in the way he's built the house."
Room for Car Lifts, Taller than Average Garage Doors, High Ceilings, Compressed Air Lines (built-in), Long Driveway, Separate Storage Areas, Electric Door Openers, Rear Vehicle Entry, Side Vehicle Entry, Extended Length Garage, Tandem Garage