First stop on my illegitimate open house search: Bel Air. Bel Air is one of those places that you actually go to maybe a handful of times in your life, unless you hit the lotto, sell twenty blockbuster screenplays, or a very wealthy uncle leaves you his estate. The times that I have had actual purpose to visit the neighborhood clocks in at about five – two times to play softball against Harvard Westlake, one time to a Halloween afterparty of a brother of the dead brother that used to own the joint, and two runway shows. The real part of Bel Air, the windy streets shaded by old trees not torn down by idiotic developers, is stunning and completely intimidating. It’s like meeting the President of the United States in your pajamas.
At least that’s how I felt today. When I left the house for a four hour adventure to Mom’s, I felt too lazy to put together an outfit that would make me look like a legitimate million-dollar home buyer. Last week I donned a black blazer (Goodwill find), Moschino shorts (ridiculous sale), a Jenni Kayne top (free), and some Sigurson Morrison flats (also, ridiculous sale). Dressed for the part, I’d say. I did try on a pair of my brother’s size 34 golf pants left at Mom’s, thinking that the absurdity of its bagginess around my crotch and butt would make me look like the hobo-chic daughter of a millionaire. But I’m wasn’t sure if real estate agents get fashion so I opted to keep on my skin tight gray jeans with zippers on the side and a white tee shirt. Rich people go casual too, right? I made the mistake of cleaning my glasses with the front of my shirt. Dirt smudge. Damn it!
I walk up to my first open house, a traditional, brick drivewayed, stately place with roses and a copper colored dog in the front yard. The sign reads “Su Z so and so.” Who spells their name like that? Su Z is a nice, mild mannered woman with giant glasses I would have killed for. She gives me the spiel: two bedrooms upstairs, lovely sideyard that you could open up the living room to with a French door if you liked, blah blah blah. This is a speech I hear her repeat to each person who walks through the front door she’s manning. I nod my head attentively hoping that she doesn’t think I’m full of shit and regretting my decision to act like the devil may care sloppy trust fund kid. The other people looking at this $1.4 million dollar home are at least a decade older than myself, a few of them carrying babies. I look like an asshole.
Su Z finishes with me and I make my way into a wood paneled sitting room. There’s an Eames chair in there I’d like to get my hands on. A fully stocked bar is located in a room the size of a closet. Brandy snifters, crystal glasses, etc. It made me think of 1950s group alcoholism disguised as good hostessing. Then I thought about when Mad Men was going to come back on…
There are rugs EVERYWHERE. Small rugs. Persian rugs. Oriental rugs. Round rugs. Big rugs. Small rugs. Outdoor/ Indoor rugs. I can barely remember if the place had wood floors. Rugs, rugs, rugs. I’m wishing that the realtor had opened some windows to let life air in. It all just felt so stagnant.
I head upstairs to the living quarters. The blue carpet is covered with more rugs, a design choice I find redundant and unnecessary. The master bedroom is painted a violent shade of periwinkle. The bed is a giant king size, brass poster bed. Two bathrooms connect to it, which I can’t understand for the life me. It wasn’t like a his and hers thing; it seemed like they took the liberty of retrofitting a walk in closet with a toilet. God knows why. There’s a cute little sitting room that is the saving grace of the place, filled with light and seemingly a delightful place to read the paper and have a coffee. However,my absolute favorite place in the home is the hallway connecting the master and the adjacent bedroom, solely for the visual absurdity of it, the overzealous use of busy wallpaper. The walls, the ceiling, every inch. I sensed that the place had the ability to give you vertigo and send you flying off the banister and down to the first floor, so I move on.
Boredom sets in quickly as I run run out of things to critique. I give a thank you to Su Z. Unlike the couple that left before me, she does not offer me a bottle of water. Damn these pants and the smudge on my shirt!