Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Not so little boxes....

This is an image posted by a friend who moved to
Western Pennsylvania. She may have thought that she was getting away from the Mansionization capital of the universe, but nooooooooooo, it just was a little slower to get to her.

Firstly, I will never for the life of me understand people that feel the need to move to a certain area only to totally wipe out any vestige of that area's original appeal. I've seen it all over the US. What little sense it may make in beautiful Beverly Hills to move into a neighborhood filled with gorgeous little story-book cottages so dripping with cuteness and original detail that you have an urge to burp them, (I guess if you dropped 2 million on the place, you might want more than 2 bedrooms and "original charm" ends at 1927 wiring) only to shoehorn in some huge box that usually has all the grace, style and architectural significance of your local strip-mall, I can't get why people feel the need to go out into the woods, clear cut a few acres, slap up a thyroidal monster in that ever present mish-mash of neo-Colonial French country and Meditterrifyingly bad hash that looks just as ridiculously stage-set-like whether it's in Boise, Bel Air of Bala Cynwyd.

What is it that caused this shift in tastes? (He types, getting out his grumpy old man trousers) What happened that seemingly everybody in America feels that it's not only their right, but their duty to have a two-story foyer, "Great Room" and separate bath for the pets? Why on earth would someone move to say, Scottsdale, which has some of the most glorious desert terrain imaginable, and slap up a faux Ante-Bellum with an acre or rolling lawn and some live Oaks? Why not just move to the South if you just have to go home to Tara every night? Why move into a heavily forested country area, plow the ground flat and do the same thing? Just so you can have two extra bathrooms, a sub-zero and enough room to dock your giant Ford ExxonValdez?

Do we need these houses, really? I wonder what's going to happen when tastes shift back (and what with the price of heating oil doubling this year, I think tastes may shift back faster than anybody thinks..). Since they are nothing even remotely specal architecturally, and the ones I've been in have all the quality of construction of a '78 Cordoba, I see a huge glut coming of ugly, big-ass houses that won't sell at half the original price...


Lily said...

Damn you, tmpo. I come here at the advice of Cantankerous and BAM I am hit again with my fucking clearcut.
But let me tell you why I put these pictures out there in the blogosphere: because I hope that just once people will realize that it is not for "everyone else" to sacrifice. Nobody wants to be the one to forego the walk in closet or leave their backyard scraggly for the birds. It comes down to selfishness, my friend, and the fact that we no longer develop the part of our brains that tolerates discomfort or delayed gratification is evident in everything, from our health to our homes.
We are as you say, 'entitled' to the biggest and the best.Even if we can't afford it, we have credit and we will simply pay for it until we are ancient. We are conditioned to think that we can be somebody by contriving externalities.
Since you no doubt know I rant on this regularly, I will jump ship for a moment and ask that you consider another wrinkle beyond the oil-addicted suburb and the vinyl-faux-Tara. What do you think will happen as we continue to subsidize our income with credit, as we continue to worry only about the item from Pottery Barn now that would be so fab-but NOT about RETIREMENT. Beyond destroying the planet's resources consider that we are destroying our own. Our health as a resource, our money, our future solvency... why do not even the most selfish among us see that?

tmp00 said...

I think what's going to happen is that we will all have to die in the saddle or go homeless, and that's very scary. Why don't we see it? Is it our willingness to whore ourselves to the great god of consumerism, or the media pandering to us with our fantasies that life is not complete without an infinity pool and a new Escalade?

I'm not casting aspersions on people who want to have a nice backyard or a walk-in closet. But if you have to clearcut several acres, you don't need to buy in the woods.

Lily said...

Exactly. And if you live in a city, you don't need a huge SUV like somebody on a mountain top covered with snow either!