For part of this past Christmas vacation, my husband and I spent a week visiting some dear friends in the southeast. We stayed with one of his good friends; a successful businessman bachelor, a very generous man devoted to Catholic ministry.
I've been looking forward to this trip for some time, because besides being excellent company, this particular friend just finished his own 3,500 square foot dream house, and his tastes exactly coincide with my own.
Panoramic water views on multiple wraparound porches. Balconies. Verandas. Crown molding on cathedral ceilings. Teak floors. Industrial kitchen. Custom tiling. Marble counters. Craftsman woodworking. Waterfall walk-in shower. Custom touches and luxury finishes everywhere. Walls of original artwork. Imported furniture. Persian rugs. A complete guest kitchen!
No expense was spared, and yet somehow it is not pretentious, gaudy, or overdone.
Tasteful. Elegant. Classic. Beautiful. The floorplan is utterly original but eminently practical. It's exactly my style and everything I would want or dream of in a house, down to the bronze towel racks.
The first day was heaven. We sipped wine and tasted cheeses and dried fruits before cruising downtown for the Christmas lights display. When we came back to the dream house, we had jerk chicken grilled over a wood fire in his enormous stone chimney. After dinner, we rushed to do the dishes in his two-drawer power wash dishwasher; a piece of fine china out of place in this magazine house stuck out like a sore thumb. "This is livin'" I thought.
On the third day, our host departed for his own vacation with family in the northeast, so we had the whole dream house to ourselves! We watched a movie on his hidden but ascending-from-out-of-the-solid-wood-furniture flat screen plasma TV, were duly impressed by the hidden surround-sound theater speakers, and leaned back on his plush European couch. I didn't dare put my feet on this couch; it was much too nice. "Wow, what a life," I thought, eating Blue Bell ice cream on a silver spoon.
On the fifth day, I hollered upstairs to my husband. "Watcha doin' up there?"
No response. "That's strange... he always answers me right away."
I walked up the polished hardwood stairs to find him happily frying up an omelet on the six burner gas range. "Oh, he must not have heard me."
That evening, after a taxing day of socializing, I went down to bed early.
Something wasn't right. My husband wasn't on the other side of the wall. He wasn't within earshot. He was hardly in the same zip code. He was in the far corner of the upstairs, which may as well have been 1/2 mile away.
"This house is too big," I murmured to the 12 foot ceiling. "And I'm too comfortable," I grumbled between the 1,500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. "And it's too nice," I sighed as I looked for a place other than the Lebanon-cedar nightstand to rest my water glass on.
Then it dawned on me in a flash of sunglare-in-the-rearview-mirror light. Trust me, the irony of the realization is not lost on me.
My perfect dream house... the exact fulfillment of all of my tastes...
"It's a great place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live here."