Yesterday, I drove up to the big park in my city and went for a lovely hike in a big meadow with a potential new friend. It was our first time hanging out, knowing each other through several mutual friends. I brought my dog because she loves to hike, so the three of us went romping around in the woods. My potential new friend showed me a beautiful meadow, and we discussed important topics like what is the correct lighting for house parties (very dim). The whole time I was thinking how nice it is that people at some point decided that parts of nature were more important than real estate development. It is so beautiful that we have the parks we have, and that I can frolic around in a meadow inside city limits.
I had a really lovely time, but afterward in the car, I felt a little uncomfortable. I haven’t made a friend in so long. I forgot about how it can be so vulnerable, how just because you think someone is interesting and fun does not mean they have to think that about you. It did not help that, when I got home, I realized I had left a pimple patch on my chin for the whole date.
I also felt a little vulnerable because I had just come from therapy, and it’s normal to feel a little squishy after being asked to interrogate all of your own thoughts and desires for a full hour with a stranger. My brain is alway betraying me but one of the ways it has been really leading me into a darkness recently is by asking over and over again how things could possibly get better when for my entire lifetime they have only been getting worse. How do you fight for a future that everyone deserves—one with food and shelter and healthcare and a planet that isn’t dying—when the country is built for the richest people only? Yesterday, I learned that the United States does have enough farmland to make enough food for us. But rich people are buying up farmland now because it’s an “asset.” Welcome back to the feudal system! What a bad place we live in!
Most of the bad things in the world are caused by some people having too much money. It is more likely that a camel will enter through the eye of a needle, I guess, than that America’s ultra-rich will realize that they are the problem. Today, we will look at one of their houses because (despite the fact that Rays Week is technically over), it’s Rays Week!
Today’s house is perfect for Rays Week because it has DIRECT OCEAN ACCESS WHERE WE COULD LOOK AT RAYS IN REAL LIFE. Should it be demolished and returned back to the people as a place to commune with nature? Yes. But let’s look at it anyway.
Here is it. It is worth $32 million.
You may be, like me, thinking, Wow, is this the set of the hit HBO drama series starring Aaron Rodgers’s ex-fiancée Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies?? It looks like it, but no! This is Laguna Beach, home of the hit TV show staring Lauren Conrad, Laguna Beach! I don’t know much about Laguna Beach that I didn’t learn from watching that TV show 500 years ago, but I do know that it is south of L.A., very expensive, and filled with rich people.
This house is ginormous. It has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, and 6,135 square feet. It is listed at $32 million. The listing includes this line: “Whether watching whales in their migration from atop the home’s many terraces or observing sea bass, stingrays, and octopus in the private-access ocean pool below, every day at the estate is an experience that leaves a lasting sense of wonder.” Wow. I would like to have a lasting sense of wonder every day. Seems fucking great. The home is also, as you probably already guessed, in a gated community.
Let’s get into it.
All right. This is the entryway. That space between the two slatted walls is the door. It is made of glass. I guess half the point of living in a gated community is that you can make absolutely stupid decisions like having a glass front door, but I hate it. Sure, it allows you to see the ocean on your way into the house, and it creates a kind of false synchronicity between the house and the earth around it, but I think it looks a little stupid.
Here’s a better look inside the front door. This house was built in 2013, which is strange because it looks so much to me like some distant cousin of Louis Kahn designed it, which is to say it has a lot of raw materials (concrete and steel) and almost none of the beauty and playfulness of Kahn’s work. What we have here is a home that looks like it is dressed up for Halloween as a museum. You may be saying, No, Kelsey, that’s modernism, and you just hate modernism.
I do hate modernism, but what I hate more is things that aren’t interesting. The true problem with “modernism” is that it sucks to live in. Nothing is more leaky than Le Corbusier’s work. Now, is leaky the end of the world? Would I put up with it to live in the Villa Savoye? Of course. But that’s true modernism! That’s risky and strange and fun. This is boring.
How many shades of white do you see? I see at least five, but what I really see in this room of beautiful angles and very nice light is this shopping-mall-ass handrail. Sure, you don’t want people to fall down the stairs. I assume this decision was made so that nothing will intercept the light, but shadows can be fun! This railing should be the same slats as the front door! Homes need contrast! Even all-white ones.
Part of the problem, I think, is that a house like this needs to be filled with art and specifically brightly colored art. You can tell how good that painting looks up there next to that child sized candle. but a house like this is not made for art to live in it. First off, there are no walls. Secondly, there is very bright direct sunlight which is not good for paintings.
Anyway, I’ve now seen four different floorings, which I guess is to differentiate the rooms from each other. Whatever.
Here is the kitchen. I do really like many things happening in here. I love this peaked ceiling. I find it very refreshing and a nice contrast. I also really like the lighting in here which makes sense because lighting is the most expensive thing in the world for some reason. In my next lifetime, I’ll become a lighting artist.
The chandelier is cool and rules, and I like whatever this giant metal bar light is over this island the size of two cars. I also like those ploppy black chairs that are maybe outside? Those look really nice to sit in. What I don’t like is the idea of cooking red sauce or chili in here. This is a kitchen for spinach salads with a greek vinaigrette only.
Down the stairs by the front door, we have this:
My understanding of rich people’s houses leads me to believe that there should be a piano down here since usually there is a piano somewhere, and I haven’t seen one yet.
I do love these binoculars. It seems very fun to hop up and spot a big whale! But I do not understand this little sitting area. These chairs are not comfy enough to sit down here a long time, and the table is too small for snacking. What is one supposed to do with this space?
The shadows from the stairs, however, rule.
Let’s go to this bedroom:
Ah, just what I’ve always wanted, an open-concept … bedroom?
Let’s see we’ve got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 pillows on the bed. That’s perfect. Love that. We have two small rugs that overlap for some reason. We have built-in curtain tracking because there is a patio outside this room which means I think someone could see directly into our bed. This room is also too big. It is very hard for me to believe that anyone uses this couch.
Here is the bathroom attached to it.
What … is happening with this mirror/behind the counter space? It has some kind of design on it?
I would die for this gravy-boat tub, but I would not like to use the gravy-boat tub in what appears to be an aquarium-like situation for anyone standing near the sinks. Again, I am asking why! If the tub is going to be out in the open anyway, and if we are foregoing privacy in favor of sunlight, why not just put the tub by the window so I can see the ocean and look at whales!
Here is another bedroom. It looks like it was furnished at Pottery Barn Kids. This lighting fixture looks like a fire hazard. It also looks exactly like when I climbed up and taped a lot of pieces of paper to the outsides of the terrible light-fixtures in my apartment so that the light would be warmer instead of cold since I wasn’t allowed to change the bulbs myself.
Another good balcony here.
Oh yeah. I’ve stayed at this Destin condo. It was fine! There was sand everywhere.
Moving on. We’ve got a LAP POOL:
This pool—with its double sections: one for laps and one for hanging—has just reminded me of a girl I knew once who was extremely rich and had a very good pool. I tried extremely hard to like this girl because she had such a good pool and Texas is so hot and pools are so nice. But she was so rich that she literally could not understand the basic world around her. Like she didn’t realize that most people clean their houses themselves. She didn’t know that not everyone went on vacation. This pool reminds me of her pool in that no annoying person is worth tolerating enough for a pool.
On the other side of the pool, we have an office:
This desk is too small. What are these weird decorative objects? Where are your stacks of paper!? Anyway, this is also misguided because if you own a $32 million dollar house, you could just allocate your money differently and not work at all. Then you don’t need an office.
Next we have a movie theater:
I’m assuming this is close enough to LA that probably some Hollywood person had this built. That person has clearly never been to the new movie theaters that normal people go to, because why would I want to sit on this hard couch when I could sit in a recliner with buttons. Sure, they’re tacky. Movie theaters are tacky! Grow up and get a popcorn machine!
That photo of a car? It’s not a photo. It’s a window. See:
How do you get those motorcycles off the wall? Do they not come down? Is that the art? I have to admit that I do not know enough about cars to know how fancy this one is, but I do feel like if you are going to put your car on a turntable it should be red. Red is a more fun color and it would match that weird dog painting up there.
Let’s go outside to the beach shall we? I’ve had enough in here.
Wow! This is the shit I like. You can see our house up there on the top right and the very steep steps we will try not to fall down on our journey to the ocean.
I always wonder how often people who actually live in these places make it down to the water, but if I lived there I would go down to the beach every single day because the most woo-woo thing about me is that I believe that all natural water can fix my terrible brain. Imagine how warm that big puddle must be. I would like to sit in it. But what’s this over here?
Wow, this is so beautiful. Look at this extremely cool cove! Imagine how stunning it must be at sunset. Imagine coming out here to see a whole family of manta rays swishing around. Imagine seeing a whale. Imagine if spaces like these didn’t belong to anyone, if we could all enjoy them and no one could buy them for $32 million.
This house has been listed on Zillow for $31,995,000 for 114 days. If you buy this house, please demolish it and make it a public park and become the enemy of the whole gated community. It would be so fun.