This week The Hound asked:
If you could spend one evening in a multi-millionaire’s home:
1. what’s the first thing you’d want to see?
2. what would you expect to find? NOT expect to find?
3. what could ruin that experience (of spending an evening in a millionaire’s home)?
First of all, I have been to millionaires’ homes. I assume we are talking about multi-millionaires now, because a million on paper isn’t saying much today. In most cities, a million-dollar house is no mansion; even here a million-dollar house is a big house, but that is about it. Zillow says that mine was worth almost a quarter of a million this summer but it’s going down, and the townhouse that I left twenty-nine years ago in the Denver suburbs is alleged to be worth nearly half a million.
(Go figure. I made about 20k on the deal and I had gotten it as a HUD.)
I am sitting in a very modest house. The millionaire who was my parents’ friend, whose house I frequented, had a house only a little bigger than mine. In fact, it wasn’t much bigger, since theirs was a split-level and neither floor was as big as my ranch style.
This leads me to say that there is no such thing as a typical millionaire. As with these folk, sometimes you’d never guess how much money some people really had when visiting them in. Oh, you had your show-offs, and you could usually tell those because they don’t even know about their furnishings or art because they don’t trust their own taste and hired a decorator. Their homes are not warm and inviting because the occupants are not comfortable there; it’s decorated by a stranger with that person’s taste, or their experiment in mind.
I generally found out that the people I visited were millionaires only after spending time with them, then getting to know their relatives or mutual friends, who told me that the people were heirs to vast fortunes, more-famous-than-I-knew artists or writers, children or grandchildren of celebrities, those who made big money on patents, in business, or those who were given vast amounts in divorce settlements.
We had famous and extremely wealthy people around in nice, but not grand, neighborhoods in Washington D.C and the area. They didn’t have their own tennis courts, seldom had their own pool, music room, no chef’s kitchen, wine cellar, or butlers’ pantry.
In fact, I saw housekeepers and maids, which were always part-time, and there was an occasional nanny, but no butlers that I recall,
and although some had ‘assistants’ (generally part-time), most answered their own phones and drove their own cars.
But here I am, ready to answer the questions posed on what I’d like to see, and what I would not like to see in the house of people who live like they have really big money:
1: Anyone who knows me knows that I usually need to see the ‘powder room’ soon after getting anywhere, so it just occurred to me that I would expect a lovely-smelling, clean place with nice guest towels, soaps, hand lotion, plus other amenities, and good paper products, all in a place which is decently decorated.
(I would probably walk right out if I saw gold fixtures.)
I’d like to see their garden(s); I find them restful and interesting.
I’d like to see the artwork there, hopefully tasteful artwork. (One woman in Georgetown had a semi-nude of herself hanging in a stairwell. I was a teen; it was awkward.)
2. I would expect to find a library, a formal dining room, formal parlors/entertaining rooms, plus more comfortable rooms for their family and friends to relax. I imagine that most places now have some sort of media room or in-home theater.
(Rich folk in Kentucky have ‘party houses’. I have not been to one.)
I would expect to see neatness everywhere. I would not expect to see unkempt outbuildings, or things that should be kept in them left out of them.
3. Boorishness always ruins the experience. Bragging ruins evenings. Bullying of staff destroys any respect or admiration that I may have had for my hosts.
Being served something immoral would send me flying, (I would rather not go into it, but any animal-meat served better be completely dead).
I agree with Elaine-the-Wednesday Fox that when drugs show up, I leave.
The over-the-edge opulence of days-gone-by may apply to those who have more money than taste and want to use gaudiness to try to impress with an “I’m better than you” attitude.
You find these people everywhere, not just among those with money.
Too much gold would definitely turn me off. Yes, I’d like to see books. In a more contemporary home, perhaps they wouldn’t be in a dedicated library but I’d look for them on shelves somewhere. And yes, a media room would probably be where people gather informally.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I had a dedicated room as a library.I moved some of the shelves out and I am so sorry that I ever did.
your mention of decorators reminds me that I had intended to cover this mini-topic in my own post yesterday.
I’ve never understood anyone who would hire someone else to decorate their home… UNLESS that decorator was working with quite specific guidelines as to taste, budget, and TYPE of furnishings.
I’m familiar with a younger person who had a nice 2-bedroom, 2-story house… in a nice, newer neighborhood. He was single and had hired a decorator. That place LOOKED like a decorator had furnished it… and (except for one or two items in the main room) there was very little which reflected that person’s individuality.
I found it rather disconcerting.
Exactly. I would never be comfortable with another person’s taste and not what I like. I’ve seen it too many times.
You can always tell when a decorator does a room. To me they usually look bland and impersonal. I have things in my house that have been there for a long time just because I love them. I hate it when you find some ‘expert’ on the internet telling me what’s good to use and what’s tacky. I can make up my own mind thank you very much.