AMERICAN HOMES INVESTMENTS : HOMES INVESTMENTS
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American Homes Investments
- (American home) The American Home is a not-for-profit center of intercultural exchange located in Vladimir, Russia. The home is designed to model a typical American suburban home and its main focus is the ESL (English as a second language) school that provides lessons for Russian students.
- A thing that is worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future
- The action or process of investing money for profit or material result
- (invest) furnish with power or authority; of kings or emperors
- An act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result
- (invest) make an investment; "Put money into bonds"
- (invest) endow: give qualities or abilities to
A testimonial to the heights to which our consumer culture can go when shelter becomes an investment vehicle. Bad for the planet, bad for communities, bad for the poor, and yet another way to fleece the middle class of wealth via investment bubble. Not that we didn't know all that, nor does the author come to this conclusion but the details give some insight into American thinking behind the built environment just when we should be preparing for a much more diminished resource consumption lifestyle.
Homeownership replaced the status once attributed to careers, because now people have niche jobs so obscure that careers are too hard to read as a social marker so people talk about their houses and show off their houses waiting for the wow response to their immense foyers or home theatre, wet bar and jacuzzi.
The extent to which homes have been supersized outside of the Bay Area makes 3,000 sq ft look small when 9,000 sq feet is the top end. They've just increased the sizes of rooms. Interior designers have had trouble giving these interiors a human scale. Homeowners can't remember how many bathrooms they have.
Americans want new stuff, thus new homes that are custom ordered from packages developed by corporate homebuilders ie: Toll Brothers. Much time is spent by homeowners choosing all the details. Increasing amenities are simply rolled into the mortgage thus creating a "savings" for the buyer compared to after market installation. Of course the size of these homes means enormous repair bills if you have to have a roof replaced or some painting done.
Investment property bought site unseen was supposed to be the new 401K but the reality of it is shabby homes for poor people, continued urban blight in communities and no guarantees that investor will reap a return due to mitigating circumstances like hurricanes and managers who run off with the rent.
Author offers a run down of all the home shows on TV, their origin and why they appeal. He also exposes the investment gurus that teach weekend workshops for a tidy sum, some of whom push illegal practices.
Author did not discuss how zoning plays a role in enabling these ridiculous homes. Author is himself a self-identified victim of House Lust and his book does not offer a serious conclusion, only that house lust, like fitness fads shift the culture in favor of the trend even as it dies out. So we're stuck with it. This is what we're up against in attempting to change the culture towards sustainability.
Like other material obsessions that turn into addictions, more is never enough. Author does not speculate why except that's it an American thing. I would say that in a culture of the individual, "more" fails to fill the need for authenticity ie: shelter that actually fits the lifestyle of the home dweller. American home building is about buying a product based on marketing. People project, onto their purchase of a home, who they think they are and what they think they want their lives to be, thus the chef kitchens that are never cooked in. The resulting built environment is disfunctional, driving up isolation among people by being so spread out. There is nothing in such House Lust that brings families or communities together.
American Home, Federal Heights 2, Salt Lake City, Utah : Gone to Look for America - Patrick Alan Swigart © 2010 USA
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Found: I like stylized-realism andI had hoped to emulate the fine architectural renderings in pen-ink-wash-and-watercolor that I used to admire in the public library books in the Architecture section. I became interested and discovered these materials when I took a class in drafting. It was not mechanical drawing that interested me but rather the rendering process in the final work after the original design was conceived in plan views.
I believe that if you have the dough you have a right to pay heavily for such things, but it sure looks like an opulent, expensive way to live where more is investment and less suffices and saves. Still, one does a double take at some homes owned by some Americans. In California this home would cost about 3 to 6 times as much as it does here in Utah. Personally, I would like the house behind a wall but much closer to the street so that the whole lot in the back could be used for gardening.
I took a job my first years of college at the 4-star Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara (Montecito) where I earned summer cash as a bellman, doorman, and chauffeur for tips. When I worked as a doorman, I had valet service with it. The rich folks would park their cars with the keys still in it, you gave them a claim check, parked it down the block, and ran back to earn the next tip. Well, I noticed that these fancy dinner guests at the hotel looked pretty fancy in furs, heels, tuxedos, and gowns, but the truth about them was often waiting for me in their cars. Some were slobs, quite trashy with cigarette ashes all over the dashboard and console, but the most disgusting thing was the smell of heavy recycled air conditioning with nicotine and tar laden smoke. The smell made me positively want to wretch. I would drive the car holding my breath and park as quickly as I could without inhaling! Ha!I I developed a kind of healthy disrespect for the wealthy and enjoyed the fact that my respect was the one thing they could never pay for. I was a Tennis bum at the Courts across from the Country Club. I played about 6 hours every day and was an amateur A-player half way up the tennis pyramid in Santa Barbara-Montecito. These rich guys were always coming by from the Biltmore looking for a rally. With my visor and sunglasses on and all stripped down, they never recognized me. I always obliged them, when they saw I could handle the rally, they would ask for a game and then a set and then a match. I most always beat the pants off these guys with relish -- and onions! Just a memory, but a good one. I humped their bags at night, but I enjoyed making their tongues hangout with my cross-court returns!
I'm sure the people in this house are real nice folks, on the other hand.
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