Shelter

And then we have this plaudit, following the Chinkvirus lockdown(s):

Shelter in place has us focused on the characteristics of a home that makes us happy. What makes us happy in a home has not changed, but since we are spending more time in a home than ever, we are focused on what makes us happy in a home. Neighborhoods become more important during shelter in place. Here is a home that exudes the elements of a home we enjoy when we shelter in place. Architect Max Levy designed this home that is immersed in nature, enjoys the shared greenways of the neighborhood, and is surrounded by vibrancy.

And this “immersion in nature” looks like this:

You know where this is going, right?  Let’s look at the interior:

It would not surprise me if the cushion coverings were hiding concrete blocks.

This excrescence is part of a series of five houses which inspire us to shelter in place, and only one of the five does not inspire me to load up the Molotov cocktails and go for a little drive down some “shared greenways”.  Here it is:

…and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, this house was designed IN 1939.

All the above are located in Dallas (not renowned for anything classical, architecture least of all), but I do know the real estate market around here quite well, and I can truthfully say that the only houses I’d consider buying in the city would be the few still standing which were built before WWII.

All the rest are either foul beyond words (“mid-century modern” aaargh ) or else ultra-modern carbuncles like the ones above.  The newly-built ones, by the way, all look like they’re owned by Russian oil oligarchs, retired Cowboys footballers, Arab oil sheiks or Colombian druglords.  (And that’s not just my opinion, by the way:  Mr. Free Market, who has been on several tours of the area conducted by Yours Truly, has even worse things to say.)

Here’s one in Plano which exemplifies the type:

At least it looks like something a little classical.  But the supercars parked oh-so casually in the driveway give the game away.

It makes me not want to buy lottery tickets, if that’s all that obscene amounts of money could buy me.

Shared Accommodation

So somebody comes to you and says, “Hey, how would you like to share a house with us?” and you run away because you don’t want to share accommodation with anyone.

Then there’s this situation:

A stately apartment on the historic estate where Four Weddings and a Funeral was filmed has had its price tag slashed by half a million pounds after failing to attract a buyer during the pandemic – and could now be yours for just £1.95million.
Apartment Three at Albury Park Mansions in Albury, Surrey, UK, is one of 14 luxury properties in the mansion house was transformed into separate apartments 12 years ago, and has been on sale since April last year.
It consists of four bedrooms, three bathrooms, kitchen/dining room with mezzanine above, utility room, reception hall, and access to gym, spa, sauna and wine stores.

Here’s a pic of the entrance to said mansion:

…and the master bedroom:

Yeah, it may be a little spendy at about $2.7 million for a 4BR/3BA pad with a detached garage, but you can’t beat the setting.

At those kind of prices, you’ll probably find that the co-inhabitants of the place are bearable.

And for those who care abut such things, you can walk to the estate’s church on Sundays, no hassles with parking.

Boring And Gray

I know that colors tend to come and go as fashion statements, and maybe soon it will all change.  But I have to agree with the people complaining about this trend (now referred to as the “Grey Plague”):

‘Tasteless’ homeowners have been slammed over a trend of ruining pretty homes with dreary paint-jobs, supersized fences and Astro-turf lawns, dubbed the ‘Grey Plague’.
A number of examples have been shared online in recent weeks, showing how once picturesque white houses, often dating back centuries, have been transformed into ugly, grey mountains stripped of greenery and often with imposing front features.

Here’s an example:

Yes, that’s the same house.  The picturesque, somewhat eccentric Victorian cottage has been turned into some neo-Bauhaus nightmare, the shrubbery replaced with… concrete, and the family dwelling has come to resemble the offices of a small architectural firm.  To call the change “ugly” is to understate the matter.

I know, I know:  it’s a private property issue, so all you librarians can go back to reading Lysander Spooner or Atlas Shrugged.  Of course you should be able to do what you want with your property — but as it’s in the public domain (being oh-so visible from the street), I likewise have the right to express my opinion that it looks like shit.

The other bitch about a modern trend has to do with this fascination for the color gray / grey (depending on which side of the Atlantic you live;  both are correct).  From the linked article, look upon this foul eyesore, and despair:

For those who’ve never been to Britishland, allow me to mansplain.

Both these pics were taken on a sunny summer’s day — but, as the old joke goes, that’s not the way to bet when it comes to British Weather.  At least 80% of the time, it looks like this:

…cold, damp and dreary.  In a word: gray.

Now use your imagination and add a gray day to the white house in the pic on the left-hand side, and to the gray house on the right.  That’s right:  putting a gray house into a gray day turns “dreary” into “gloomy”.  Kinda like Edinburgh on any day, come to think of it:

(That was taken from my hotel room just after lunch, in October 1999.)

I don’t really mind gray — light gray — as an interior color, although I think it tends to make the room feel a little cold.  In fact, the walls in our current apartment are light gray and while we’d pick a different color (e.g. pale blue or a very light tropical-beach-sand color) if we had our druthers, the gray doesn’t offend.  However, the outside of our apartment complex is a dark gray, similar to the gray Victorian above, and that makes me want to bring the dynamite, especially when (like today) it’s overcast, chilly, drizzly and as New Wife calls it, “positively British”.  Here’s what I’m talking about (taken at about midday yesterday):

Change that to white walls with gray accents, and we’re talking turkey.  As it is… ugh.

Anyway, as I said at the top, maybe the fashion will change and gray will be replaced with some other color.

My luck, it will be avocado green.  Then there will be murders.

Alternative Use

Looks like this is a week for alternatives, but this one is a little less… contentious, shall we say, than the one from yesterday.

While looking at this article about Harry Redknapp’s little beach cottage, one of the pics got me thinking.  While I think the house in general is awful (like Alyssa Milano:  quite lovely from the outside;  inside, not so much), this room is excellent:

Now I have little use for a wine cellar, being that I don’t drink a lot of wine and have no interest in collecting it either.  But a temperature/humidity-controlled room, with very limited access… can we all say “Gun Room“, children?

If I ever same into something like this (assuming it was in the Land Of The Free and not Hoplophobic Britannia), I know that one of the first things I’d do is turn to the interior designer and say, “Lose all those faggy shelves and stuff, and put in some glassed gun display cases, with room for a couple-three safes on the side.”  All that’s left is to have a decent, robust table somewhere with several clamps for gun cleaning and -smithing, and there ya go.

The same is true of houses that have projection rooms — in-home cinemas, as it were — which I think are a total waste of space.  Here’s one, from some mega-mansion on the market here in Plano:

Once again, a room with no windows, a single door access… who the hell needs stupid Disney movies that much. when you could have a primo gun room?

I know, I’m so hopelessly out of touch.

Kim’s Back Yard

Following yesterday’s post which mocked the British ideal of “dream garden”, here are my own (ranked) top ten desirable backyard features:

1. four-bay 25-yard air-conditioned indoor pistol range
2. 100-yard rifle range with back stop and shaded shooting benches
3. sporting clays area, with six or more stations
4. six-car garage
5. climate-controlled storage shed for ammo and sundry shooting supplies (maybe backing off one of the ranges) with a decent reloading setup inside
6. outdoor kitchen with both charcoal- and gas grills, including a bar counter
7. woodworking shop, e.g. Norm Abrams’s “New Yankee Workshop”
8. swimming pool
9. surrounding the entire back yard with a couple extra corners thrown in, a go-kart track which could accommodate grownup cars e.g. a Caterham 500
10. Guest house where my friends could stay for their (probably weekly) play dates.

Okay, the race track is possibly something of an overreach, but not necessarily.

As for the “garden” idea… meh.  Patio or deck with pool and BBQ grill, no lawn.  Pots with artificial flowers.