Yet Another Journal

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» Saturday, June 17, 2006
How the Other Half Lives
For many months now, James and I have been passing one of the innumerable house development signs that say "Paper Chase Farms, from the 900s." We both expressed interest in seeing just what the heck cost $900,000.00 and today we had a little time to kill, so we turned off Barrett Parkway and drove a mile or two to this place.

It was set back in the woods, next to a big Spanish-style house with a broad expanse of lawn in front of it and a driveway lined with young firs and the ranch-style home next to it with two barns, a carriage house, and a huge horse paddock. We drove on the property and followed a sign that said "golf estates."

One big brick home was labeled "open," so we drove through the gates (the property was surrounded by a black iron fence) and parked on the driveway. The landscaping was quite beautiful, small fir bushes and various deciduous varieties mixed. The sidewalk up to the front door was bricked, and it was a wide solid wood front door. I felt underdressed! One should certainly have on a long white lawn frock with a small pearl necklace, dainty slippers, and your hair done up in a Psyche knot to walk through a front entryway that looked like that!

The front door opened onto a big square foyer with a stairway with spindles and bannisters to your right. All hardwood floors (not Pergo or laminate) on the main floor. If you walked to the left there was a formal dining room, then a short hall that included a butler's pantry. The kitchen was enormous. The island in the middle of it, with the kitchen sink, was nearly as big as the floor space in the kitchen of our house. There were plenty of cabinets with pull-out drawers and very tall (the ceilings must have been 12 feet), there was an industrial style stove in stainless steel, long granite counters, built-in convection and microwave ovens, and a Cold Spot refrigerator/freezer with paneling on the front. This was one "arm" of a huge L-shape area with room for a good-sized breakfast table and then a big open living room with a stone fireplace flanked either side with built-in bookcases and cabinets. A door from the breakfast nook led out to the deck, which had a narrow wooden pergola lining the side opposite from the house.

If you went back to the short hall it led to a huge den. There was another fireplace (wooden surround this time) and also a cabinet for a big television. The entire back wall was French doors which led out to the deck. (The deck had wooden steps leading down to not a huge, but a good-sized yard, again well-landscaped—it would fit a croquet course or a small badminton or tennis court, or big enough for Dad to play touch football with his sons.)

If you turned right when you came in the front door, the hall led past a half bath (I was quite disgusted to see that someone had pee'd in the toilet and then not flushed it; I did so by pulling up a finial-like flushing knob in the middle of the top of the toilet tank), then to a square, stolid dark-paneled room with another fireplace. This looked as if it could be a men's smoking room or even, if the owner was a lawyer or CPA, someplace where he could meet his clients at home. You could imagine it decorated with red-upholstered wing-back chairs, big leather armchairs with nailheads, hunting prints, brass accoutrements.

If you did not go into this room, but turned to the corridor on your right, this hall led directly into the master bedroom, which was next to the den and a door at the far end of the room also led out to the deck. Beautiful windows overlooked the back yard. In the opposite corner, there was an entrance to the master bath. Oh, my God! It had a stone-block floor, shower stall with multiple shower heads, a big Jacuzzi, a toilet stall, two sinks, one with a longer counter and a huge walk-in closet with his-and-her sides with California Closet inserts, all wood, and a big full-length mirror in the middle.

Back to the foyer and upstairs. At the head of the stairs was a smallish room with its own bath but a small closet. I guessed it was a nursery, although it could do duty as a small guest room. Doors at either end of the long hall led to attic space under the eaves. Down the hall was a large bedroom with a walk-in closet and its own full bath and then two smaller bedrooms with a full bath in the middle. One of the pair had two dormer windows and I could immediately imagine this being taken over by a ten-year-old girl, with window seats in the dormers, so she could curl up and look out over the property and pretending to be Anne Shirley at Green Gables or Rebecca Randall at the Brick House (at least that's what I would have done at that age!).

Also at the end of this hall was a stairway that led back downstairs to the kitchen. That's right, this place was so big it had front and back stairs.

I haven't gotten to the kicker yet. Between the kitchen and the stairway is a hall. A door on the left leads to the garage. Then there's a closet. Then there's another area that looks like another butler's pantry (maybe it's where you're supposed to store the Christmas china, or where you have a small computer/office where you keep the household accounts. Next to this, at the end of the hall, is a big laundry room, with a laundry sink and cabinets on both sides of the room; you could keep sewing or crafts equipment here as well.

Across from the second butler's pantry is a glass paneled door. It opens up...

...and goes down to a huge, unfinished basement. I mean huge, and what they call a daylight basement, because there were small but full windows on at least two sides. There were six rooms down there and a utilities closet with two water heaters. One room obviously was set up to be a bathroom. Another was at the back of the house and had a door that led out to a bricked entryway and into the back yard, like those basement apartments in New York and London. One was small sized and looked as if it might be used as a storeroom. Two of the rooms were square and sizable. Another was very long, James figured thirty or thirty five feet. I thought it might be used as a games room with a billard table and an air hockey table, or maybe billiards and a large screen television or bar area. There was also a big closet under the stairs.

Well, now we know what you get for $900,000.00.

Evidently the other half earns a reeeeeally good salary. :-)