IF YOU’VE GOT IT, FLAUNT IT. Not exactly the most fitting motto for Portland. But there are those among us for whom price really doesn’t matter. Coffeemakers that cost as much as used cars? Check. Personal jets worth the GNP of small African countries? Sure. Heated floors for your goats? Oh yeah. Whether you’re window-shopping or living vicariously, these mega-priced items, all of which were sold (or put up for sale) in the Portland Metro area in 2007, are an eye-popping reminder: This is how the super-rich really live.
JURA – CAPRESSO IMPRESSA Z6 SUPER AUTOMATIC COFFEE CENTER $4,500
IT SOUNDS LIKE it should have a spoiler and racing stripes, but the Z6 sold by Sur La Table is, in fact, just an espresso machine. But unlike your rickety Mr. Coffee, this creation—part percolator, part supercomputer—requires you to sit through a 35-minute-long DVD tutorial before you can strap yourself inside its chrome-caffeine embrace. “It’s very high-tech,” says a Sur La Table part-time counter girl, who would need to save her salary for four months to buy one. “But once you master the pre-programs and settings, all you have to do is punch a button.” What better way to stick it to the dead-eyed barista than to render him obsolete?
FAIR-TRADE RUBY $35,000
LONG BEFORE Leonardo DiCaprio’s bad Zimbabwean accent in Blood Diamond hurt the ears of moviegoers everywhere, Eric Braunwart was banging the fair-trade drum in the gem industry. Braunwart, the owner and CEO of Columbia Gem House, a wholesaler in Vancouver, had long stopped buying rocks from areas where miners endured sub-standard working conditions or were caught in third-world power struggles. Today he’s able to specialize almost exclusively in conflict-free gems—even though that kind of certification usually comes with a 30 percent price mark-up for the customer. “At the end of the day we’re selling a luxury item,” Braunwart says. “But people don’t mind paying a little more to be part of the movement.” As evidenced by this crimson 3.25-carat ruby from Malawi that has all the subtlety of a shiny red apple dangling from your finger.
KRUG COLLECTION 1985 CHAMPAGNE $700
TASTY ENOUGH for even the most fickle of tongues, regal enough for christening an ocean liner, the 1985 cellar offering from the legendary Krug Collection circulates like liquid gold among wine snobs. These deep green bottles have lain undisturbed in the cool, cavernous crypts of the Krug estate in France developing a wave of flavors: an initial hit of toasted brioche, vanilla and caramel, followed by dried fruit, honey and coffee. Of course, the longer this ages, the more the flavors will morph. Some sippers have even tasted truffles. Want to hunt down a bottle? Ed Paladino over at E&R Wine Shop can cut you a sweet deal: a mere $700. “It’s a lot of money,” he admits, “but it’s a really amazing champagne.”
GULFSTREAM 550 $50,000,000
SELLING PRIVATE AIRPLANES in this high-flying decade has become a lucrative business in Portland—how else to explain the need for seven local aircraft dealers? But one plane soars above the rest: the Gulfstream 550, a leather-lined, jet-fueled sky-loft considered the Lamborghini of private aviation. So what’s driving the demand? “Have you flown commercial lately?” offers Robert Baugniet, with Gulfstream’s communication office in Savannah, Georgia. Should you feel similarly exasperated by mile-long security lines, $50 million will buy you access to phone, fax, internet, satellite communications, beds, kitchen and an endless supply of fresh, non-recycled air. Even billionaires must have patience, though. Order now and your plane might be ready by 2012.
VANILLA BICYCLES CUSTOM-FIT ROAD BIKE $5,000+
THERE ARE BICYCLES and then there are the chrome-and-gear works of art that Sacha White handcrafts at Vanilla Bicycles. Polished lugs. Custom racks. High-tech steel alloy frames built to fit your exact measurements. Think of it as West Coast Choppers for the non-motorized set. And it will set you back, on average, $5,000 or more. In fact, it’ll be $500 to $1,000 down just to get a spot in line. And right now, that line is closed. “We’re building bikes five years out right now,” says White’s assistant, Scott Ramsey. “Some people are pretty disappointed when they hear that.” And no, Vanilla does not accept bribes.
MANSION IN SHERWOOD
PORTLAND MAY BE quintessentially cute, what with its abundance of moss-laden bungalows, but its upper echelons still show a preference for homes more aptly described as manors. Consider this presently uninhabited 9,538-square-foot monstrosity for sale in Sherwood. Constructed in the Italian Renaissance style in 1999, and erected on 20 ornately landscaped acres that appear to have been air-lifted straight from Florence, the fabulous suburban villa represented by Harnish Properties at Realty Trust includes a granite cobblestone driveway, a domed entryway hand-painted with fields of Tuscan sunflowers, and ponds for turtles and koi. Plus, the goat barn has heated floors. Yes, the goat barn. Because when you’re this loaded, even the horned menace that ate your Bruno Maglis shouldn’t have to suffer chafed hooves.