Mega Millions Winner Selling $26M Mansion Due to Son’s Health Says the Home Has Been a ‘Blessing’
“I will not be looking to buy such an extravagant home this time around,” Rick Knudsen says.
The Mega Millions lottery winner who is selling his $26 million southern California compound is ready to downsize.
“I will not be looking to buy such an extravagant home this time around,” Rick Knudsen tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I am looking to purchase land and build a home and ranch half the size of what I have now. I will still be looking for a great view and to add more ranch animals—maybe a few horses and buffalo.”
After winning the $180 million jackpot in August 2014, Rick Knudsen purchased 845 acres of land on a mountain in Oak Glen, California. He said at the time that he and his family had lived in their home for 23 years, and though they promised to stay humble after winning, they couldn’t wait to purchase a new home.
“Before winning the lottery, I had actually been looking for a home in the Oak Glen area,” he says. “Soon after winning, I went on a pre-planned fishing trip to Alaska with my former boss. By the time I returned to California, he had convinced me to buy a much larger property, so, fortunately, the Eagle Crest Estate was for sale. We purchased it in a down market and it has been an incredible blessing and privilege to live here.”
The estate was the most elevated mountain compound in Southern California, and Knudsen says the seclusion and privacy the property offered made his purchase an easy choice.
“I looked up at this mountain from my previous home in Calimesa and I had always wondered what it was like up here,” he says.
But now, Knudsen is leaving the place behind so he can move to a lower elevation with his son Ricky, 36, who was born with a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. So far, Ricky has had three open heart and two closed heart surgeries along with two valve replacements.
“We had an elevator installed to help him,” Knudsen says. “However, he is quite stubborn and chooses to walk up and down the stairs grumbling all the way ‘I can do it,’ only using the elevator when absolutely necessary.”
Ricky, who is now on his third ICD defibrillator, has now lived twice the age the doctors expected him to, Knudsen says. But after speaking with his son’s cardiologist this year, Knudsen says its recommended for Ricky to move to a lower elevation.
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“He feels it is time to move to a single story home probably no higher than 4,000 feet,” Knudsen says. “The difference of 2,000 feet will make a big difference in pressure and it should be an improvement for him.”
Ricky is admittedly sad to leave his life at Eagle Creek.
“My son enjoys his life up here, he has great freedom,” Knudsen says. “He has a Mule—no, not a donkey, a Kawasaki UTV Mule—that, believe it or not, he has put over 30,000 miles on from just driving all over the property.”
But Knudsen says he’s ready to move on, and is already planning a new 100-acre development with a ranch where Ricky will be able to enjoy himself. Knudsen himself though admits that he will miss quite a few things about the property, especially all of the wildlife and the ability to experience all four seasons.
“I wouldn’t I’m say heartbroken, but it has been an amazing experience and I have enjoyed finishing the estate to make it what it is today,” he says. “I feel that I have done everything here that needs to be done and it will be nice to start another project.”
However, Knudsen is incredibly grateful that the lottery was able to give him this experience.
“Where do I begin?” he says. “I still have to pinch myself to believe that it really happened. The odds that I would have the winning ticket are one in 250 million. It has given my family an opportunity to all live in nice homes in the same community instead of being spread out. I am still trying to instill in all of them that they need to continue to work hard and be financially responsible for their own lives. Ricky was given a new sense of freedom and independence. He has also been able to help around the ranch, which has built up his self-worth.”
“Most of all it has given me the ability to invest in long-term investments for my family and to provide financial freedom for the future,” he adds. “I definitely see the world in a new and incredible way. Dreams really do come true.”
"I will not be looking to buy such an extravagant home this time around," Rick Knudsen says.
American couple cringes at price tag of 50-acre mountain property despite winning big in lotto jackpot
American couple Rick and Lorie had just won $180 million in the lotto, when they began the search for their ultimate dream home.
Despite their massive winnings, they budgeted just $1.5 million to $2.5 million for their new house. So after viewing two huge properties within their price range, they baulked at the cost of an epic, mountainside house in Southern California.
$5.8 million wouldn’t get you this in Australia. (Nine)
But My Lottery Dream Home host David Bromstad was sure Eagle Crest had everything the couple wanted and more, if they could just get past the price tag of $5,800,000. Surely that’s peanuts when you won the jackpot?
“You really think we can afford this,” Lorie wondered as she inspected the features of the property.
Rick is won over quicker than Lorie, who just can’t get over the price. (Nine)
And the features are impressive. When you enter the five-bedroom, eight-bathroom house a life-sized taxidermy bear greets you, and also hints at the lodge-cabin aesthetic to come.
No need for a butler’s pantry with double everything in this kitchen. (Nine)
The kitchen is so big it is basically two-in-one, complete with four ovens, a trash compacter, warmer and cooler drawers and a huge pull-out spice rack. Though Lorie doesn’t cook, surely she could just hire someone with the amount of cash she and Rick now have.
Now that’s the kind of spice rack I expect in a multi-millionaire’s kitchen. (Nine)
The master suite is basically a studio apartment, with a kitchenette and a bed so big it seems to be two king-sized beds pushed together. The ensuite has his and hers sections, with a dressing table and Jacuzzi.
Is that a TV in the bathroom? (Nine)
Other bedrooms had themes including the western room and the canoe room, which, as the name suggests, has two canoes attached to the ceiling.
There is also an apartment that Lorie’s dad can live in, as well as six garages — and all on 50 acres of land with picturesque views that extend far into the distance.
What a view?! (Nine)
If that’s not enough there is also a gentleman’s lounge, pool room and a fully equipped gym.
While there is no pool, the house does come with a home cinema. But it’s not just a couple of recliner chairs and a flat screen TV. This space has a functioning ticket booth and candy bar plus tiered row seating, 20 recliner chairs and a big screen, though it is slightly smaller than you might find at Hoyts.
“Ughhh,” Lorie responded when asked if she was sold on the property yet.
“It’s probably the most beautiful house I’ve ever seen, but the price is way more than the other two [we looked at].”
Find out if Lorie was willing to fork out an extra few million for the house from her and Rick’s huge winnings on Episode 1, Season 1 of My Lottery Dream Home.
American couple Rick and Lorie had just won $180 million in the lotto, when they began the search for their…