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  • Writer's pictureAndy Ross

Judging Your Houses

As a depressed elder millennial, I have incorporated a common trait among my generation into my morning routine. As I sit with my first cup of coffee for the day I’ll grab my iPad and browse around houses for sale on the Zillow app. There are many houses around our fine region that, if I had the money, I would buy in a heartbeat. The fun part of the Zillow app is that not only does it let us snoop into the homes of strangers, but it also lets us be judgmental as all get out about their choices.

There are the obvious choices to judge, paint color, wallpaper, decor, and the like. Kid's rooms with the children’s names stapled to the wall in large, wood-cut letters. These rooms all look relatively the same. Bright-ish primary colors and the names all look to be the same as well. Almost every home with a kid’s room like this you’ll find a name like “Brayden” or “Bryliegh.”

There are the ever-popular vinyl cut wallpaper sticker decals. 9 times out of 10 you’ll find an inspirational quote. Again, these all have similar rings to them. “May you dance brightly in the fields where your dreams ferment.” One of the truly stranger placements of a decal like this I once saw on Zillow was in a bathroom where for some insane reason the person wanted “May you always blossom in this space” above the toilet. I don’t know, maybe they worked for Kohler or something?

Outside of this, there is one odd thing I have noticed a certain number of homes have in common. I don’t really think you can call it a trend, as it has nothing to do with the decor. It’s an architectural choice that to me seems strange. I don’t think a small kitchen is un-useable, but as someone who has been in charge of more large family holiday gatherings than he cares to admit to, I know what one needs to truly excel in the kitchen.

So riddle me this, friends. Why on the earth do so many houses that cost upwards of $600,000 or more have such tiny kitchens? I’m talking about those large McMansions. The cookie-cutter homes that are more statement pieces for people with too much money who hate people who don’t wear the same brand of khakis as them. They all have incredibly small kitchens. My mother has always said of this phenomenon that “it’s for people who can afford to not cook.”

I have issues with this argument. Not so much with the people who would have a house like this, but more with the person who designed it. You’re gonna tell me that you designed a massive 4,3000 square foot home and the best you could do was stick a galley kitchen in there? Was this done on a dare? Were you really baked one night playing Tetris with a deadline looming and upon seeing the “L” shaped piece fall into place you suddenly realized you could stick that kitchen in the corner that was mostly dead space?

At worst, they’re not even logical for heavy-duty cooking. Maybe you have a stove and maybe it has some counter-space by it. Maybe there’s room for an island. Maybe, instead of the island, you have the cube type “U” shape that has zero room to roll out dough, prep a casserole, dress the turkey before you roast, or even break wind without fear of rattling the cabinet doors.

Perhaps I shouldn’t put all of the blame on the designers of these homes. Maybe it falls to the clients and their lack of taste in most things. I can imagine some young, hopeful architects excited about designing their first home for someone. Their excitement quickly gives way to heartbreak as the client tells them “I want a bedroom you can park three mack trucks in, a living room that requires sonar to find anyone in it, and a kitchen that feels like a closet.”

But I suppose anyone who enjoys an all khaki lifestyle and eventually running for some position they need to get elected too as they have too many photos of themselves with their family in a field is welcomed to do whatever they want with their money. If it was me, I would have a large kitchen and a home theater. And a pinball room. My house? My house would be epic. Y’all should start a go fund me or something. I think The A.W. Ross Estate would be something our region could be proud of. See you next week.


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