I have more than one acquaintance who has acquired or built enormous houses. We’re talking four to six thousand square feet. They’re inevitably way out in the suburbs, because that’s the only place they’re affordable. These folks aren’t the idle rich–they’re the upper-middle class with mansion-envy.
Unless you’ve got a brood of six kids (in the cases I’m thinking of, they’re families of two, three and five respectively), or plenty of extended family living with you, I really frown on this. I know I should keep my nose out of other people’s business, but huge houses seem like enormous wastes of money and energy.
If you’re four people living in a 5000 square foot house, there are probably a lot of rooms which are underused. And yet people pay to furnish, decorate and heat those rooms. Why have spaces which you don’t regularly use?
Personally, I’d much rather have a 2500 square foot house (and even that strikes me as on the big side) which is beautifully appointed with unique pieces than a 5000 square foot house furnished out of a catalog (which seems to often be the case).
I was reminded of this pet peeve when talking to somebody about how they acquired their grand piano. As it turns out, they bought it from a couple who was downsizing from one of these sprawling suburban abodes.
They’d kept the piano in a room–get this–dedicated exclusively to Christmas. It was a salon decorated for the Yuletide season, and only used in the month of December. They’d have little parties in there, and bring somebody in to play the piano (nobody in the family could actually play the thing). Have you ever heard of anything more bourgeois?