After long weeks on the trail, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney escapes to this San Diego beach house, a fairly spartan two-story structure in an upscale neighborhood. But renovation plans revealed by Politico show the Romneys' want to tear it down and build a home three times larger -- including a 3,600-sq. ft. basement and an elevator for the vehicles in the four-car garage. Ramps are so gauche.
Politico declined to reveal the specifics of the renovations -- which Romney has said would not take place during the election -- after requests from the campaign and Secret Service. The necessary permits from California authorities could take years to win, given how much Romney wants to transform the site -- digging out 1,500 cubic yards of earth for the basement and adding "water features."
It's no surprise the son of former American Motors chief George Romney would want a sizable garage, given that he has a Ford Mustang and a Ram pickup, while wife Ann drives "a couple" of Cadillac SRXs. As for the "car lift" specified in the plans, there's no way to know exactly what the Romneys had in mind, but luxury home builders have long offered more appealing solutions for increasing garage space than simply installing ugly hydraulic lifts like the ones at your nearest service station. Among the newest models on the market: the PhantomPark, designed to lift two 7,000-lb. vehicles at a time with the quiet precision of a surgeon, lowering itself flush into the floor when not in use.
PhantomParks can run about $60,000 for a full installation, but like the trees of Michigan, they're just the right height.
Top photo: AP