Lost in Space
The Boston Globe reported recently that our city's largest single-family home is well, not exactly under construction, but more or less being pieced together out of two neighboring buildings (four condos and a town house) in Boston's Back Bay.
Investment executive - private equity - Ofer Nemirovsky new digs will include bed-bath-dressing room combos for each of his three kids, as well as Mr. and Mrs. studies, bath rooms, and dressing rooms. (What exactly is a dressing room? I grew up in - and have always resided in - homes where the room where you got dressed was a bedroom or a bathroom. But when I think of the chair in my bedroom that's seldom sat in and is used largely to pile clothing onto, I have a sense that I could use me one of them dressing rooms.)
Of course, those bed-bath-and-beyond suites don't comprise the whole, which includes the requisite exercise and media rooms, something called an "upper lounge", and an office for their house manager.
Well, it's Nemirovsky's money, and he and his wife are apparently entertainers extraordinaire - the B52's played at his 50th birthday party - so they no doubt have things to do with all that space. And 24,000 square feet/$23M worth of house sure screams got a lot of livin' to do.
While my first inclination is to crank about wretched excess and environmental depredation - been there, done that.
This time I got to thinking about what, exactly, I'd do if I suddenly came into some extra square footage.
Truly, I can't begin to imagine having 24,000 square feet. It's just not possible for me - right up there with trying to wrap my head around infinity or what if there'd been no Big Bang or who moved the Prime Mover.
And, as a point of comparison, I don't have 3 kids or a house manager. If we divide the 24,000 square feet by 6 inhabitants (assuming the house manager lives in), we get to a more manageable number of 4,000 square per resident.
This would "entitle" my imagination to think about my husband and I expanding our little digs - 1150 square feet - to 8,000 square feet.
While not as unimaginable as the big Nemirovsky kahuna, I still can't fathom having 8,000 square feet - or even 4,000 square feet for that matter. (Confession: I tend to prefer small, enclosed spaces to wide open. Every time I visit my sister Kathleen on the Cape, we pass Brownie's Cabins - tiny little old timey cabins that don't look like they have much more room than the average back yard playhouse. And every time we pass Brownie's Cabins, I remark that at some point I'm going to spend a blissful night in one of them.)
But I can imagine my way to 2,000 square feet of lebensraum, or 850 square feet more than we've got now.
Here's what I'd do:
- Eat in kitchen. Oh, I can hear my sister Trish now. "Your kitchen just screams 'I don't cook.'" But I do eat, and I like nothing better than sitting around a kitchen table drinking tea. So, I could use another 150 square feet worth of kitchen.
- Guest room/den. Even without guests, who doesn't want a guest room. 250 square feet worth of guest room/den would let my husband have complete, unimpeded, 24/7 use of the green room (which is also known as the blue room; the walls are green, the couch is blue) where he has his computer.
- Bathroom. Admittedly, we already have two full baths, which seems like plenty for two full people. But if we had a guest room, we might actually have guests. 100 square feet for another bathroom, which might sound small, but it would be larger than either of the bathrooms we have now.
- Exercise room. God knows I never thought I'd have this on my wish list, but it's there now - with room for a couple of pieces of equipment and a TV to while away the time spent sweating. 200 square feet would do it.
- Big closet. Depending on which way you choose to look at it - sort of a half-empty/half-full referendum - one of the worst or on of the best features of our condo is the lack of closet space. On the downside, taking anything out - like Xmas decorations, suitcases, or the blow up mattress we wouldn't need if we had a guest room - or putting anything back in always seems to entail completely reorganizing the closets. On the upside, if you have no place to keep crap, you have a tendency not to accumulate that much of it. Still, it would be nice to get my Christmas ornaments out without having to crawl on my belly through a narrow space with a flashlight in my teeth. All I ask is 100 square feet.
That brings us to a grand total of 800, so I guess I'd use the additional imaginary 50 square feet for an additional imaginary closet.
So, I can easily see how I could use up 2,000 square feet of space without getting lost in it.
But 24,000 square feet.
To quote the Boston cop working the detail outside the Nemirovsky work-site: "It's a whole different world."