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Zillowing Out

A €4.5 Million Home Where We Can Live in Opulent Disgust

blown out artistic rendering of a house
Chris Thompson/Defector

I feel a special affinity with the Irish. I am probably at least part Irish based on my skin, and my hair, and also my inherent belief that sometimes to get what you want you have to make a little trouble. But perhaps most of my affinity with the Irish comes from the absolute bounty of culture the Irish have been exporting in the last ten years. It's not just Sally Rooney and the TV adaptions of both Normal People and Conversations with Friends. It's Derry Girls. It's Banshees of Inisherin. It's everything Tana French has ever written. It's Hozier. It's Patrick Radden Reefe's excellent book Say Nothing. My most recent consumption of Irish culture was Caroline O'Donoghue's novel The Rachel Incident, which was just released in paperback this week.

Like the Rooney novels, The Rachel Incident is a novel about what it means to be young, and what it means to grow up fast. It's about a college girl who is publicly accused of sleeping with a college professor, and it takes place in 2010, which for many middle-class people was a terrible time (in Ireland and elsewhere). In the book, the main character (Rachel) comes from a middle class family whose financial situation has rapidly shifted due to the '08 economic recession. I loved this book because it was so heartfelt, and O'Donoghue has a great authorial voice, and because there is no plot I love quite as much as a money issues plot. (George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss is my current front-runner for book of the year.).

So I had a vague idea that property and owning houses constituted a dramatic part of Irish culture when reader Eve emailed me this week's house. She is Irish, lives in Ireland, and is looking to buy a reasonable home. Like ... uh ... seemingly everywhere right now, it is almost impossible for a normal person to buy a normal house, so she was also looking at insanely priced mansions for fun. Who amongst us!?

"Property is a big deal in Ireland, because the rental market is also out of control," Eve wrote. "You could probably trace the generational traumas surrounding property back to British occupation and the 'famine,' when tenant-farmers were main victims of the British genocidal policies, but I digress." Thank you, Eve. That is very helpful in fueling my rage over this week's house even further.

Okay, so let's take a look at this giant house. It is listed at €4.5 Million ($4.86 million), and according to Google Maps is located about an hour by car (with traffic) outside of Dublin. It is listed on a website called Daft.ie, which I had not heard of before, but which I expect will dominate my weekend browsing time. Here is a picture of the front.

screenshot: Zillow

So far, things are looking normal. Very green. I do like the red front door and red garage door, and how well that contrast pops against the lawn. The lions I find puzzling. There are no lions in Ireland. They are indicative of a kind of wealth that feels almost gimmicky. Like, we get it! You have money! You don't need the lions to tell us this!

"I also like the lions and could see myself forming a compulsion that I have to pat them every time I pass or something horrible will happen to my family," Eve wrote. This is a good point. I would like to pat the lions.

Here is a picture of this house from the back:

screenshot: Zillow

OK, this is wild.

It's giving wedding. The lanterns on the sidewalk are so large. I think I could make it approximately 30 minutes before gashing my shin open on one of them. The sweeping staircase on the left side leading from the lower outdoor patio to the upper outdoor patio for some reason just reminds me of the idea that servants exist. It feels like the kind of staircase that the people who live in and visit the house would never use, which brings me to another important fact about this house: It is located on a golf course.

"This house is big and gaudy because it is on the grounds of Ireland's swankiest golf course/country club, The K Club, and lends an air of false exclusivity and superiority, " Eve wrote. Wow, I am learning so much from Eve. The K Club was designed by Arnold Palmer. What a world we live in. Personally, having never even been to a golf course or a country club, the idea of living on one makes me want to vomit. What do you do in there? Even if I was an excellent golfer, I don't know that I would want to live among these people with their caddies and their weird visors. No thank you!

Here's the entryway:

screenshot: Zillow

The visceral reaction I had to this Versailles cosplay was instant and unfortunate. The website's description of this house makes sure to tell us that it has "Nero Marquina and Giallo Sienna marble inlaid floor." That means nothing to me. I am but a pauper in pursuit of beauty. I genuinely and unashamedly love marble, but this is not it to me. Thank god, Eve could provide me with some more context.

"Maximalism is a big thing amongst the Irish nouveau-riche, so much so that this Instagram page exists," Eve said. "My personal theory is that the gauche is influenced by Catholic iconography and the Roman Catholic Church's love of bling, but haven't substantiated that beyond conjecture."

I choose to believe Eve's theory whole hog because this is kind of knock-off Roman Catholic. The Catholic churches in Italy are so beautiful. They are so gaudy. But they also understand the elements and principles of art because they paid masters with all the money they stole.

Let's look at something else:

screenshot: Zillow

This house is 793 square meters, which is a whopping 8,535 square feet. We are not given enough photos to understand what all of that space is, but a whole hell of a lot of it seems to be used on walkways. There is so much useless space in this house. That's the benefit of luxury I guess.

The tartan carpet and wallpaper combo here is killing me. The reds don't even match! This looks like a house I would make in The Sims as a joke. It's so unbearable to see this suburban stair railing coupled with these other textures. Why not a metal railing? Why not a fully carved wooden one? Like many design decisions of the nouveau-riche, the desire to appear rich cheaply causes the house to look even cheaper than it probably is. Also, I just hate this carpet so deeply.

Here's the dining room:

screenshot: Zillow

What I want to know is who decided that the key to unifying this house was to obtain as many different patterns of red wallpaper as they could find. I would love to chat with this person, and by chat I mean demand they stop.

This long table is so pseudo-fancy that it feels like a board meeting. What are you gonna do, gather all your friends around to tell them about profits? Boring! If you are going to put in chandeliers, they should fucking glimmer. These are weak! They are uninteresting!

Here's a living room, I guess:

screenshot: Zillow

MORE REDS THAT DON'T MATCH!! Perfect!!!!

Let's look more closely at the bar, which I do like:

screenshot: Zillow

If I had an 8,000-square-foot house, I too would want to own a fully stocked bar. It's fun. It's exciting.

Here's another room:

screenshot: Zillow

I am fascinated by the contrast of the all red, heavy comfy-vibed rooms, followed by this. None of the art in here is displayed in a way that makes me want to look at it, which is a massive failure, but I also do not want to be in this room because it feels like a lot of dreams I have and that scares me. Again, with these ugly boring chandeliers. It's like a child's idea of what being rich should be.

This is the only photo of the kitchen included in the listing:

screenshot: Zillow

At least we have moved into another color way (yellow). I do kind of like the floors with these cabinets, but the color of the wall makes me want to die. Whoever designed this house had only heard of one concept and that was monochrome.

Here's more proof:

screenshot: Zillow

This is the at-home Barbie gym!!! "The sparkly wallpaper in the home gym would motivate me to run faster to get away from it," Eve wrote. Not me! I would not be going down there. I would never ever enter this space, which has such bad vibes I think it would destroy any workout I tried to do.

Next, we have an office:

screenshot: Zillow

I cannot explain to you how hard I started laughing when I saw this. The chair was clearly moved in from the dining room, the desk bought at some antique sale. The return of the bad carpet, and EIGHT monitors!!! What the fuck are you doing at work that you need eight monitors? Is this another way of trying to display importance? Are you watching TV on both the TV above your eight monitors and four of the monitors individually? Is this a security desk where your private security monitors all motion around your home? And if so, why do you live in a gated community?

What a world we live in. Let's leave this space.

screenshot: Zillow

I regret beginning this blog by saying that I appreciated the contrast of the red against the green. I now recognize that like a baby who has memorized all the words in a book but cannot read, it was but a front implying capability. This house is awful.

This week's house has been listed on daft.ie for €4.5 Million. If you buy this house, please just gut it and start over.

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