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disneyrsh

'House Lust' You HAVE to read this book!

disneyrsh
14 years ago

Ok, so I have what I thought was a pretty innocuous hobby; I watched House Hunters on HGTV, I have a couple of home improvement magazines that I subscribe to, I have a list on a local realtor's website that I watch the home prices in our neighbhorhood, and I've been saving like mad to redo our 40 year old vintage master bathroom. I *think* I'm normal.

Then, I find this book at the library; it's called "House Lust" by Daniel McGinn.

I discover that I have a problem.

The front of the book says "An unyielding urge to make our huses bigger, bolder, and more luxurious, no matter what the cost." Guilty.

"An irrational desire for cathedral ceilings, mud rooms, and natural stone countertops." Guilty!

"The national pastime thta is taking its toll on American wallets, relationships, and minds." Guilty!!!!

So I actually open it and start reading it. The author admits that he has links to the tax commissioner's website so he can pull his neighbors home values up on the computer. Oh, gawd, I do this too!

The biggest problem, I have discovered, is that by looking at all these houses and home improvement articles and watching what's up for sale, is that it makes me very dissatisfied with my own house. And there's NOTHING WRONG WITH IT!

Yeah, it's old, and we're fixing stuff, but what was I thinking, putting in a ten jet steam shower in the new MBR? After reading just the first chapter I ran upstairs and erased the steam shower off the plan I'm designing. I am now thinking, what is basic and useful, not "what did I just see on HGTV?" I can't even begin to think how much money and time I've been wasting on worrying about stuff like this!

About the only thing I don't do that a lot of people in the book do is obsessively go to every open house they can find. Even when they don't have a house to sell or buy!

So, if half your Tivo is filled up with HGTV buying/selling shows, your Favorites folder is mostly real estate websites/forums, and you think your house sucks, you may want to check this book out of the library!

Comments (28)

  • triciae
    14 years ago

    Disney,

    roflmao...I've been saying what you've read in that book for almost two years on this forum & people have scoffed at me!

    It's sooooo true. You really will be OK without those steam jets! :) HGTV started a 'movement' one person at a time. They have people believing they NEED this stuff & that if they don't have it they're, somehow, failures.

    Too funny. I mean, really, when have you ever judged somebody by whether they had the latest & greatest doodads in their homes? Hopefully, never. As I've said here before, I call HGTV..."Pravda" (for those of you too young to remember..."Pravda" was the old USSR propaganda newspaper).

    Even I, the ultimate cynic, have granite on my countertops. I am proud to say, though, that my appliances are good old-fashioned & timeless white. I purchased them purely out of defiance four years ago. lol

    Sounds like a fun book. I'll check it out. Maybe, we'll have a 'revolution' against HGTV in the country...sorta like, "We were blind but now we see!" :))

    /tricia

  • disneyrsh
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Hey, I have to add that I cut and copied this from another board I was reading; it is not my post. I tried to get it in quotes and add to it but it didn't work quite right.

    What IS really funny is how similar this post is to my life, which is what I wrote in the extra part of my original post that didn't get in there.

    I don't want to take credit for someone else's post, but I REALLY do want to read that book now!

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  • tradewind_64
    14 years ago

    I can certainly relate to house lust. Even if I don't personally care for what most people are lusting after, I still have the lust, just for different things!

    For example, I don't care for stainless appliances in my own home (sometimes I feel like I'm the only person in the world like this); I would rather have white. So...as I'm getting ready to remodel my gutted kitchen, I keep eyeing Big Chill, NorthStar, the white glass refrigerators, etc. I used to be fine with plain ol' white, now it seems...too ordinary? Like I need to have a Smeg to make my white refrigerator seem "updated" and worthy of my new kitchen. Ha.

    Countertops...don't want granite. But formica is too...ordinary? Even though I really, really, LIKE formica. So I keep looking at Paperstone type products...all which cost much more.

    I remember the days when I was happy with plain white appliances and formica countertops. Which I truly like. What on earth makes me feel that I need to do a more "upscale" version of what I really like??? Totally not rational...

    House lust...

    Joanna

  • lucy
    14 years ago

    I figured this out a while back while watching Relocation, Relocation (you DO get that in the US?). The buyers don't go around complaining about the silly things we do (or not very often), but are more interested in character and proximity to schools, etc. They don't care if a bathroom isn't shiny and perfect, just if there's enough room to expand it, and/or if there IS one at all that isn't divied up between 3 separate closets. They appreciate age in a home and talk about reconfiguring everything - they can see past current style mistakes, etc. Why don't we get real and stop b...ching about nonsense. Or maybe it's just House Hunters that's such a turn-off?

  • qdognj
    14 years ago

    This topic has been hashed out a few months back..Do you really need just about any "luxury"? No, but is it wrong to want it? No..No matter what you have, there will always be someone who thinks it is not necessary..Central air? clearly not a necessity, but i have it, and wouldn't buy a home without it..Do you really need a plasma or flat screen tv? no, but i have one..Why have a nice tiled bathroom, when a fiberglass tub/shower does the same? because some people prefer to...The whole concept of lusting after things for the homes has been going on for generations...Heck i'd rather have nice luxurious home then a boat ;) ..Why would anyone need a boat?? (tongue in cheek t)

  • triciae
    14 years ago

    The only people I can think of that 'need' a boat are commercial fisherman, the Coast Guard, the Navy, freight haulers, cruise ship owners, etc. There may be more but I can't think of them at the moment? By their very name, "Recreational Boaters", are people who own boats for pleasure use but don't need them. I know hundreds of boaters & none of them would say they 'need' their boats or, to use your phrase, that they 'wouldn't be without them'.

    My father had a saying, "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll spend all his money on tackle he doesn't need, pass all his time somewhere out on the water in his boat, and eventually end up divorced!" :)

    And, depending on one's belief system coveting anything may be considered a problem.

    qdognj, your constant attempts to justify an extravagent lifestyle reminds me of Dennis Kozlowski's shower curtain affair. Hmmm, he had a boat also...the America's Cup entry...'Endeavour'. lol He finally sold that beauty for around $13M...nice buy for the lucky new owner! :)

    I own many things that would be considered luxuries to most of the country. I could, however, lose them today & I'd be OK with that. The only material possessions I have an attachment to are family heirlooms. My lack of attachment to possessions is one of the reasons I was successful as a real estate & banking negotiator.

    And, qdog, you'd purchase a home without A/C if you couldn't afford to do otherwise. This discussion originated around people who've become obsessed with 'home lust'. Lusting after anything is not considered a positive attribute by most people. HGTV has, IMO, contributed to many people lusting after things they can't afford to an extent that they are unhappy with themselves as they are. That, to me, is sad & unnecessary. Steam showers do not define a person's self-worth no matter how hard HGTV tries to tell us otherwise.

    /tricia

  • qdognj
    14 years ago

    t, not at all trying to justify an extravagant lifestyle..Just pointing out that many people,including yourself,have things that are considered luxuries.And if you could afford them,why not have them? Should we all live in the same sized homes,in the same color,with the same sized lot,with the same amentities inside? I don't think so.
    As you well know,i have stated numerous times,"Live your own life, don't worry what others have or don't have" Don't view your home as an investment,but as a place to live.and live within your means..
    I find it a tad hypocritical of you to say you have such and such, and you boought only "white"(which is coming back)appliances 4 YEARS AGO..Heck, i bet many people wish they could buy new appliances ,but struggle with 20 year old appliances...though i do concur with your comment about not measuring a person by what doo-dads they have..you constantly harp about my alleged defending of the extrvagant life, but you have posts myriads of posts of your saga for this wonderful old home that you'd love to buy..hypocrite??

  • feedingfrenzy
    14 years ago

    Strange that this thread has focused itself on steam showers as the ultimate in trendy, but useless, gadgets. Of all the "useless" things I own, the steam shower is about the last one I'd give up. Over the past six years, it has done wonders for my respiratory system. I've even been able to give up the asthma medications I used for many years.

    The truth is that steam rooms go back to the Roman Empire (at least) and have been a routine health and hygiene ritual of numerous cultures around the world. The only thing new about steam showers is that you don't have to have separate installations for a shower and a separate steam room.

    And speaking of showers -- there's another unneeded gadget. After all, our great grandparents didn't have them. They may not even have had a bath tub for that matter, or indoor plumbing in general. Many people living in the world today don't have any of these "gadgets," so I guess that means that none of them are necessities.

  • disneyrsh
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    I went and picked the book up yesterday at the bookstore, and wow, it was cool. I'm about 2/3 of the way through, he's just getting to the part where he buys a rental property in Pocatello Idaho, sight unseen, to "cash flow" (he uses it as a verb).

    The biggest thing I'm getting from the book is that people simultaneously seem to have guilt over what they do have and be envious of what others have. It's messed up!

    I had to laugh about the part where he's thinking of becoming a real estate agent just so he can get a jump on the houses that are out there. Yaaaaaah, that thought has TOTALLY crossed my mind at some point!

  • c9pilot
    14 years ago

    I switched on to the last couple of minutes of the 2008 Kitchen & Bath Convention on HGTV last night...one of the featured hot new gadgets was a shower drain stopper that was a clock (kinda like a big watch face) so that you know if you're running late in the morning! They were all very elegant and came in a couple of different finishes, some studded with gemstones or some such fancy gimmick. My DH and I collectively groaned and laughed, thinking, we can't believe anybody would pay $550 for that ridiculous thing.

    So have it be known that there are far more useless, supposedly trendy necessities than steam showers!

  • qdognj
    14 years ago

    FF, i hoped to add a steam shower to my recent reno, but i have cathedral ceiling in bath, and would have been too costly to drop ceiling down in shower area..I agree about the usefullness of steam..When my allergies are going full throttle, a nice hot steam does wonders..

  • triciae
    14 years ago

    Hypocrite? Maybe, it's hard to judge oneself. I don't believe I am. I hope I'm not. I have always acknowledged having 'stuff' that many consider luxury & that I don't need those items. Don't forget though that I live in a 1,250 s.f., 2 bed/1 bath home.

    And, had we agreed with all of the posters on my 'House Saga' thread & just paid the asking price we'd never have been in the mess we are over the stupid house. We, however, were too cheap. And...and, that house is approximately 2,600 s.f. Large, but not over the top large by today's standards.

    BTW, our boat is for sale. We are going to be "Boatless In Mystic". Illness. I've been diagnosed with lupus so a fun-in-the-sun type of hobby no longer makes much sense. DH will get something small to putt-putt around the harbor & do a little fishing. Since our intent was to live onboard we're rethinking our retirement plans. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have cruised her up/down the Atlantic seaboard. Nordic Tugs are very cool boats.

    /tricia

  • qdognj
    14 years ago

    t, your small home all 1250 sf is WATERFRONT,if i recall...so while small, it is worth significantly more then similar sized homes in different parts of country....and i am 100% certain you don't mean anything by your comments,"rethinking your retirement plans about lving onboard a boat seems very "luxurious" to me :)

  • c9pilot
    14 years ago

    tricia,
    So sorry to read about your diagnosis and change in plans.
    We are grateful for every day here in FL that we can go out and pull the sails up with 10kts of wind in lovely 80 degree weather. Glad to read that you will continue to boat, though!
    R/Lisa

  • triciae
    14 years ago

    Yes, qdognj, living onboard felt very good to us. Much better than sitting on land. The view changes, ya know! :)

    Also, even a Nordic Tug is cheaper than a decent house in many parts of the northeast. Upkeep is cheaper too 'cause there's no real estate taxes. You pay tax once & you're done with it. If you're Coast Guard documented there's no annual state licensing fees. And, if you have a loan (recorded just like real estate on CG doc boats) the interest is deductible same as a house. Many people own boats as "cheap" (relative term) waterfront property. They never leave the dock...weekend condos. And, unless the Feds decide a boat no longer qualifies as a second home...having a boat can also be a decent tax write-off....well, at least lower the cost of ownership. To qualify as a "home" a boat must have galley, sleeping quarters, & a head. Even a 24' cuddy run-a-bout can meet those qualifications. And that doesn't even consider the cost savings on vacations, etc. because you don't actually own a boat...the boat owns you! So, you can't ever spend money going on vacation unless it's on the boat. You must spend every available moment swabbing decks, waxing topsides, & cleaning the engine room. In return she gives you moments like the picture below.

    Of course, there's lots of jokes such as the weathered painted slate sign hanging near our starboard pilothouse door..."Enjoy Boating. Stand in a cold shower & tear up $100 bills!" Or, "A boat is a hole in the water that you toss money into!" lol But, the same could be said for homeownership, right?

    Hmmm, I wonder if many people know when they're considering a vacation home that a boat is eligible for the same tax benefits as a house? It can be either a primary dwelling or a second home.

    {{!gwi}}

    Peaceful, huh? (taken in the Bahamas returning home after a dinghy ride) I'll miss her, she's very seaworthy; but I don't lust. Maybe, someday, I'll get into a remission with this lupus thing & we'll consider another boat but, for now, I've bid her "Adieu" & wished her fair winds & safe harbor. And, yes, I'm well aware that we are Blessed.

    /tricia

  • marys1000
    14 years ago

    Joanna - Stay Strong! I like formica and white appliances too. I believe that even if I won the lotto that you would not see granite or stainless steel in my kitchen. Maybe some super high end made in France white stove LOL!

    tricia - wow. Sending good thoughts your way.

    House lust? Not so much. The only time I think I've ever swelled up with greed and lust was when I bought that 9 acres in Nebraska. Oh yea, there is something about owning land. It may have been a treeless, sloped clay field that I didn't really like, much less really afford to take care of they way I wanted - but I still loved it. Acreage. Land. So hard to resist. Could I ever really have enough (considering I have none now:)? Oh to be Ted Turner
    (2 million acres). The house comes second.

  • qdognj
    14 years ago

    t, i hear you about the boat and the same goes for housing!!! I have friends with boats that allows us the fun without the work or $$$...When i jokingly asked last summer when gas prices were high,but not as high as today. what it just cost him in fuel to drag my family around the bay, he said about 100 bucks!!!! YIKES!!!!

  • harriethomeowner
    14 years ago

    This sounds like a book I'd like to check out.

    tricia, beautiful picture.

    joanna and mary, I agree with you about the white appliances/laminate counters and so on. I'm currently trying to decide what color laminate to get (to go with our oak cabinets!), and then I get that twinge of feeling like maybe we ought to get granite instead -- but why? DH will just start breaking dishes every time he drops something on them. :)

  • xamsx
    14 years ago

    triciae I am very sorry to hear of your recent diagnosis. My thoughts are with you.

  • tradewind_64
    14 years ago

    marys and harriet -- I'm glad I'm not alone in my true fondness for white appliances and laminate countertops. Sometimes it feels that way, doesn't it? :-)

    My sister put in gorgeous granite, and then she switched all her glasses to plastic tumblers and her dishes to Corelle, because her kids put stuff down too hard. I have a slippery grasp too, which is why I went with hardwood instead of tile in the kitchen for a floor. A broken plate is one thing...dinnerware shrapnel is an entirely different animal :-)

    Joanna

  • word_doc
    14 years ago

    I've been thinking a lot about this lately, not having any idea there is actually a book that addresses it. We sold our home at the top of the market in late '05 after having updated it to reflect some of the HGTV trends of the day. We purchased a home built in 1977 with outdated bathrooms and gold and blue shag wall-to-wall in the upstairs bedrooms. Obviously that wall-to-wall needed to be replaced since it was 30 years old, but what I've realized is how silly it is to turn my home into a showplace based on how it might benefit potential resale value one day. I've read many times on this and other forums (but this one is particularly bad for it) some condescending and even downright snotty advice from people who perhaps unwittingly give off the impression that not only would butter not melt in their mouths, but that they would sooner run naked over hot coals than cook an omelet on anything less than a Wolf or Viking range.

    Don't get me wrong--I do enjoy living in a nice home, and my home is indeed a nice one. It's just not one that is currently or will anytime in the near future be tricked out with granite, stainless, 'hardwoods' (because 'hardwood' is no longer in fashion; it's 'hardwoods' in the plural or we all might just as well go with the horror commonly known as laminate), or a marble counter in the bathroom topping a trendy but completely impractical vanity. I still enjoy home improvement projects--at least, I enjoy the result--but these days I seem to be looking at the most cost-effective way to update rather than the one they would do on any number of HGTV shows. I think it might actually be a bit more fun than throwing money at the biggest, shiniest/most matte model of modern design I might come across. Granite, soapstone, marble, inexplicably vast expanses of reflective stainless? They are great. I enjoy coming across them here and there.

    However, one place I am unlikely to come across them is here in my very nice, certainly above average, structure that has truly become home to my family. I will continue to enjoy tweaking things and decorating my 31-year-old home, and I will enjoy the process as well as the result.

  • disneyrsh
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Y'know, every time a jelly jar flings itself out of my (horrors) plain white fridge and bounces on the vinyl floor (new, installed last year) I ask myself, do I REALLY want tile in my kitchen?

    Because I'd be cleaning up jelly and glass every darn day (because my kids just don't know how to put a jar away properly).

    I'm in the epilogue part of the book now. I really enjoyed it, and it made a HUGE difference in how I look at my home, for the better!

  • jlhug
    14 years ago

    Y'all are making me feel better (not that I felt bad about my kitchen choices before. I really like my corian counters, laminate floor and white applances. I don't like the look or feel of granite and stainless. I'm not a fan of black appliances. I've lived with tile floors and don't like them.

    This is my house, I live in it so I am comfortable and happy with my choices. What works for me probably won't work for everyone else. Since I'm planning on moving out of this house in a pine box, I'm not particularly worried about resale.

  • c9pilot
    14 years ago

    IF you have a porcelain tile floor and your 12 y.o. son accidentally drops a Costco-sized bottle of Tabasco right next to the built-in fridge, and you happen to get down on your knees and elbows to reach under the fridge to clean it all up, and 30 minutes later your forearms are burning, smear sour cream on them to draw the chili oils out and sooth the burn. Will probably have to rinse and re-apply once or twice.

    You may wonder how I know this?

  • triciae
    14 years ago

    Lisa, rofl

    I once dropped & spilled a one pound bag of King Arthur yeast all over our tile floors. It bounced around like miniscule marbles. I spent hours on the floor with the vac. The tile was that builder's grade light tan stuff & you couldn't see the yeast but, oh boy, was it there! :)

    /tricia

  • ironorchid
    14 years ago

    wow, i've found some kindred spririts! i've read the book and also endorse. i've just rennovated a 50's kitchen with white appliances, solid surface counters, and commercial grade sheet vinyl floors. would also have gone with formica counters if i could have had a integral sink, with no seams to collect grime. not going to post pictures on "rate my space", and i don't care that i'm not up to the high end specs on the kitchen part of this website. i've got an easy to clean, practical work space that fits with this modest house. the people in my area of San Diego that took equity out of their houses to put in granite and SS are the ones that are now getting forclosed on. when did modest and practical become bad words? not bad mouthing anyone who is actually rich enough to afford luxury, just don't get people mortgaging their future to impress others, to copy a TV show trend or thinking it will make them happier. Since i'm on a mini rant on the subject, what the heck is the point of a "spa-like" bathroom? i spend as little time as possible in the BR, and i wouldn't spend money to make it an "escape". that's what the garden is for...

  • featherz
    14 years ago

    Since this thread was bumped, I wanted to comment also. I just bought a 70's house with shag carpet, wood paneling and formica. Flecked formica. Oh, and carpet in the kitchen and black appliances (new). The formica is in good shape, but IF I replace it I won't be spending a fortune on granite. My black appliances work as well as SS and I don't need tile in the kitchen if I pull up the (still in great shape) carpet. Probably the only thing I don't think I can take is the flaming yellow shag, so that's going to go, but it will be replaced with more carpet upstairs and maybe (horrors!!) laminate downstairs. Or we'll keep the downstairs carpet, which looks newer and less dated. So not everyone is running out to remodel and there are those of us who would still buy an outdated house (although it will narrow down our lookers should we choose to sell, most likely).

    We just sold a house with mismatched white and beige appliances, vinyl and laminate countertops without a problem. My main concerns are 'does it work' and 'is it clean' and 'is it energy efficient' - a fridge that's 20 years old has to go, no matter what IMO. Uses too much energy!

  • housenewbie
    14 years ago

    Tricia--good luck w/ the lupus. Hope it goes into remission.

    I have no intention of ever haveing granite coutertops--when I touch the marble top of my doo-dad table in winter it's FREEZING. I don't need a huge slab of granite sucking all the heat out of my house, no thanks. I like Corian--no seams.