Furniture designer Michael Amini, 64, is not a minimalist. Not by a long shot. In fact, he's known as the "King of Bling." Amini was an unhappy electrical engineer. His dad, John, ran a company that made kidney dialysis machines in Tehran.
After earning a degree in electrical engineering at Cal State Long Beach, Michael and went to work designing circuits for a company in Brea, California. He was bored out of his mind. He wanted to design things that people could see and appreciate. So he started designing furniture. Really frilly, blingy, ornate furniture.
Today his company, Amini Innovation Corp., also known as Aico, is located in the Los Angeles suburb of Pico Rivera. The company sells its products in more than 3,000 stores in 80 countries. Amini's products are not for those on an IKEA budget. The average price of a dining room table and chairs is $5,000 to $9,000 but can run as high as $20,000 or more.
Knowing this background about Amini will prepare you for the Newport Coast home he just put on the market for $69.8 million. Look, they don't call him the King of Bling for nothing. His home makes Donald Trump's gold-plated New York penthouse look kind of plain.
Amini's home is a monument to excess. The seven-bedroom home looks like a Palladian European castle with columns, decorative balconies, ornamental detailing, and grand arches. The home is called, appropriately, the Palais de Cristal. Inside, surprising details reveal themselves, such as a garage with its own sound system and smoke machine, enabling it to quickly convert into a nightclub complete with a rotating dance floor.
The home's entry features a floor mosaic made out of Jordanian marble with an inlay of pink onyx. Looking towards the ceiling, light streams through the glass dome, with an "Eye of Phoenix," a Swarovski crystal-encrusted eye at the center of the dome. Staircases made of handcrafted iron with 24-carat gold detailing descend on either side of the foyer and were inspired by Paris' Peninsula hotel.
Clearly, Amini sees interior design as a fashion statement. He designed many of his home's unusual amenities. The chandelier in the dining room, for example, is made out of 36 crystal vases. The door handles throughout the mansion were imported from Italy and are coated in 24-carat gold. The basement contains a theatre with an LED constellation on the ceiling, a bar made out of green glass tiles, a glass pool table, and a gym. The office has maple and brass cabinets.
The 15,500 square foot estate overlooks the Pacific ocean and also has a large family room, a spa with a wet and dry sauna and a massage room. The house also features an elevator. For the pool, he brought in specialists from England who had worked with Middle Eastern royalty to create the tile mural at the bottom of the pool. The mural features underwater scenes at both sunrise and sunset.
Amini bought the undeveloped land where the home stands today in 2007 for $5.1 million. He had to temporarily postpone the project when the global financial crisis hit in 2008. He really got going on construction in 2013. He only recently finished the home and though he originally planned for this to be his home, in the time it took to finish, his children grew up and moved out. So the house is just too big for just Michael and his wife. He is selling the house fully furnished.
The $69.8 million price tag is not too far-fetched for the area, especially since it comes fully furnished—even if those furnishings are tailored to a very specific design aesthetic. Last year, author Dean Koontz sold his home in Orange County, California for $50 million. A house on the same street as Amini's sold earlier this year for $41 million.