It’s time for my annual review of the Princess Margaret Lottery’s multi-million dollar show home in Oakville, Ontario. I’ll begin by saying that it always puzzles me why me and my Baby Boomer BFFs are never consulted on these projects. I’ve written to major commercial and residential housing developers and blogged about what we like and do not like, yet they continue to ignore us. Consequently, they end up designing and building retirement condos that don’t have enough closet and storage space, no balconies suitable for sitting outside and barbecuing our dinner, inefficient kitchens and no linen closets.
Last weekend my honey and I visited the newest Princess Margaret show home valued at five million dollars in Oakville, Ontario. Friends have also checked it out and while many aspects are wonderful, which is to be expected from designer Brian Gluckstein, we agree there are some serious flaws.
The biggest mistake they make every year is putting the laundry room in the basement. The room is usually large enough to host a barn dance but me and my BFF experts figure that if someone can afford a home like that, the least they can do is put another laundry room on the second floor, perhaps incorporate it into the master ensuite for doing items you don’t want the maid to handle. Who wants to hike miles from the second floor humping a basket full of sheets and towels down to the basement at the opposite end of the house or at the very least to wash your frillies or iron a blouse? Sheesh! It’s not rocket science. That’s what happens when men who don’t do housework design homes.
- Sticking the TV/media area in a hallway in the basement with awkward bench seating while devoting an entire room to music jamming on a fake stage seems a bit weird. Maybe watching television and movies is more of a priority for us than playing the drums but that’s just the way we are.
- We wish Brian (or his designers—we’re inclined to think one of his “people” had a greater hand in the decorating) had stuck with his traditional colour palette of various taupe shades for the big things and bringing in colour in the accessories which require less of an investment. The greenish-blue, seafoam and teal colours are for very subjective tastes which do not include me and my BFFs.
- There was an awkward stretch of marble counter in the master bathroom that blocked an attractive architectural niche that they’d filled with a giant plant, like an afterthought—oops, better stick a plant there so this counter won’t look like a mistake. I can think of eight hundred more attractive uses for that niche. For example, a makeup vanity taking advantage of the natural light would be perfect. But that could be my bourgois taste dictating that everything has to have a purpose.
- The diningroom was half-a-day’s hike from the kitchen and the table seats only eight people. That could be a problem at Thanksgiving or Christmas not only for my family but most families, particularly if you’re Italian.
The landscaping was perfection, laid out in lovely zones for chatting, swimming, eating or just relaxing with a good book. The garage was a teeny bit on the small side. By the time we put the Ferrari (included in the prize) and my Ford Escape in the garage, my honey’s vehicle would have to sit outside in the snow. While dozens of Perrier bottles and vintage boxes of Corn Flakes artistically lined the kitchen pantry shelves, in reality most of us don’t use our pantry shelves for artistic expression. Real-life cupboards are jammed with an assorted variety of half-used boxes of cereal, cookies and biscuits, Tupperware bins of dusty flour, sugar, raisins and other comestibles as well as open bags of chips, oily bottles of condiments, bags of pasta, extra cases of pop and spare rolls of paper towels. There is no logical rationale for having this mess visible from the kitchen.
The washed oak herring-bone flooring and neutral porcelain tiles were divine and something I would love to have in my own home. I really did like the library and true to the Brian Gluckstein esthetic, it reached to the second storey. The beauty and warmth of this room was enhanced by shelves of lovely leather-bound matching encyclopedias, law books and other visually attractive volumes. Somehow I don’t think my trashy paperbacks, beauty and decorating how-to books, magazine collections, self-help guides and tattered cookbooks would have the same cachet on those gorgeous shelves.
While I am a huge fan of Brian Gluckstein, all this suggests I’m just not cut out to live a life of the rich and famous. Perhaps if I didn’t do my own laundry, entertained family and large groups of friends at a restaurant rather than at home, played bass guitar in a boy-band or never stocked actual food and supplies in my pantry, the house might work for me. As it is, it’s just not me. So, when I win the Princess Margaret show home (which I will because I bought several tickets), there’ll be a large For Sale sign on the front lawn. Just make the cheque payable to Lynda Davis. And clear the track for Justin and Kathleen who will be there with their hands out for their share.
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