Wednesday, October 28, 2009


If there was a twelve-step program for my most peculiar jones, I would probably have to confess something like this: "Hi, my name is (whatever it is this week) and I'm addicted to house porn."

Yes, sad to say it's true, but like the teen with the fashion magazine addiction in the film Mumford, I love to look through magazines with glossy photos of beautiful architecture, amazing floor plans, exquisitely furnished rooms and gorgeous landscaping. I think it's the lack of clutter that seduces me, plus the fact that everything looks like art instead of a place your kids can wreck, your guy will track mud into and your dog may upchuck on.

I know it's a silly, frivolous addiction, and I've done pretty well managing it. I don't let myself impulse buy them anymore, and I've whittled down my subscriptions to the two I can't live without (Architectural Digest and Veranda.) I really thought nothing could tempt me again. But today as I was at the grocery store shopping, I saw this new addition on the mag rack:

Yep. It's not just house porn, it's mansion porn. After I picked my jaw up off my sneakers I grabbed it and checked the price: $7.99 -- as much as a paperback novel. I wasn't going to pay that for a magazine just because I instantly fell in love with the cover. Then the magazine sort of fell into the cart and I didn't notice it was there until I checked out, and then, you know, it was too late to put it back without holding up the entire line, so --

All right. I bought the damn thing. It was just this one time, okay?

I didn't thumb through it, and I probably should have, because it's actually a real estate magazine for billionaires. Inside there are mansions. Chateaus. Islands. Enormous estates in exotic places. Practically every home listed comes with a beautiful name: Acqua Liana (cover)*. Lions Gate. Coeur d'Alene. There's even a castle in Umbria that comes with a title -- for eleven million dollars, you could become an Italian Count.

These are not ranch houses, obviously -- every other one comes with a heliport and two or three panic rooms and probably interior waterfalls. The house on the cover has a glass "water" floor, for God's sake. Imagine trying to clean that with your Swiffer. Or what would happen if your spouse happened to accidentally drop their bowling ball case.

But when I got home and got over the guilts for falling off the wagon, I settled down with a cup of tea and looked through all the lovely pictures to my heart's content. In the process I came up with five or six story ideas and solved a problem with one of my settings. Sometimes we're addicted to frivolous things for a reason.

But I also paid for falling in love with a beautiful magazine cover, because inside this was the only other image of that room:

But that's okay, I found another shot of it in this article about the mansion. And I might sketch it or paint it, and build my own house around it, and work a variation of it as a setting for my next book, but that's all. I promise. I mean, $7.99 an issue, that's just ridiculous . . .

Do you think they give you a decent discount on the subscription rate?

*It has a web site, too -- the mansion is listed for sale at $29,000,000.00 U.S.


  1. Anonymous1:41 AM

    I'm sure they'll give a decent discount. Absolutely amazing images.

  2. Dita Parker4:28 AM

    I knew there was a name for it!

    Don't worry, it could be worse. You could be on constant lookout for books on home improvement and architecture and historic houses and districts like...someone I know.

    It is inspiring, though, isn't it, and filed under "Research" should anyone question your bookshelf or your sanity. Mine. Okay, mine. Where do I sign up for this twelve-step program again?

  3. I usually look through these sort of magazines when I'm in the dentist's waiting room - I think I'm just nosy, and like to see inside people's houses. But I always want to know...what do they do about storage? Do they just not have as much junk as me, or somewhere in that picture perfect abode, is there a REALLY cluttered room full of all that moth-eaten furniture and outdated antiques that they just can't bear to part with?

  4. Yeah, that is porn. It's got me excited.

    Wordless Wednesday - Now That's Scary

  5. I'm pretty much a sucker for those things, too. Neat that it solved a problem for you!

  6. Lynn said, "In the process I came up with five or six story ideas and solved a problem with one of my settings. Sometimes we're addicted to frivolous things for a reason."

    All that for $7.99? A bargain!

  7. It might not be so bad. A 12-month subscription would run you $94.56, but if you sell one story idea out of it, it's more than paid for itself!

    I can't help wondering, though: Why would a magazine for multi-million dollar real estate be in the rack at grocery stores? Don't the people who could afford those houses have staff they send to Winn Dixie? Or are the publishers of that magazine mocking us?

  8. It has a website - - and it looks like they have a digital version of that plus two other magazines. (My browser was too slow this morning to load it.) Looking at properties online is my secret addiction. Thanks for another fix, Lynn. ;o)

  9. My best friend's aunt had a house listed in Better Homes and Gardens or House Beautiful or one of the magazines at that level. I can't remember now, it's been several years. I do remember though, all the hoops she jumped through to get that spotless, museum look the magazines showcase.

    I looked at the picture of the perfect antique oak dining table and thought "wow! didn't look like that two weeks ago when we had craft stuff piled all over it and all through the room" so I can tell you from experience, they don't all look that good all the time.

    Since you got some great ideas from this though, I think it was money very well spent. That's called research, not an obsession.

    Isn't it? ;)

  10. Well, it is a lovely house.

    ;) We've all got our vices.

  11. Keita Haruka11:51 AM

    Oooooh.....That staircase...That floor! It's so gorgeous...

    And that's why I never, ever so much as look at magazines like that.

    You're an evil, evil woman for putting that where a gay boy can see it. ;-)

    Thanks! :D

  12. I got addicted to that new USA TV show "Royal Pains" because it was house porn set in the Hamptons. So I will never throw stones!

  13. There is no way I could take my husband into a house like that. He would kill it within a week.

  14. Only 11 million to become an Italian Count!? Im usually the type to say fuck the title, just give me a raise, but...that'd be one I'd enjoy.

    Not only do you get a cool house, but a title as well. All my pubescent delusions of granduer involving castles and scantily clad slave within reach.

    I still live it. Why do you think I chose my pseudonym?

  15. Oh, my God!

    And this is why I'm addicted to decorating shows on TV.

    Mostly, I enjoy house porn it because I fear I will never own my home. I'm almost fifty and still an apartment dweller.

  16. I'm sure those magazines are possessed. They keep falling into my cart as well.

  17. Emily6:51 PM

    Well, if it's research, it's a writeoff, right? No worries. Gorgeous stuff. EJ's comment made me snort...they are totally mocking us.

  18. Hmmm... The twelve step program worked for me versus these types of magazines and television shows. I used to watch all of the home improvement shows on DSC and my eyes were snared by the pristine vistas featured in the "architectural porn" offered by pulp-pushers like these.

    My home is tidy, but the thing that weened me from this type of porn is the realization that I cannot afford that volume of wasted space, and, that while tidy, the accents that make the home amazing would look 'well used' within a short period of time in my hands.

    My porn is free. I have a serious writing instrument and paper fetish. In the office supply magazines I receive, I pore over the latest pens and drool over the papers that are available, though I probably have more pens than I could use in a lifetime and, as far as paper is concerned, have no commercial purpose, outside of business cards, that would require me to purchase a paper above recyclable grade.

    I could go on to write a book about the pens and papers I love, and maybe someday I shall, but in the mean time, I'll say that I have a severe office supply fetish focused on writing instruments and, to a lesser degree, the paper they write upon.

    At least my "porn" is free and doesn't degrade anything with the capacity to have feelings.

    My 2¢.

  19. Anonymous9:08 AM

    Oh! The wet bar with saltwater aquarium! How beautiful. I hope he gets full asking price. :)


    My word verification was rainessi. How appropriate.

  20. When you "build my own house around it", don't forget to keep the hub's bowling ball bag in mind. ;-/

  21. Well, if there's a twelve... step program for house design magazine addicts, then save me a seat... I'll bring the donuts.

    My weakness is mid-century modern homes and modern/cotemporary kitchen design.

    I can't walk past a Dwell Magazine without flipping through the pages. You'd think I'm in a library when I'm in a check-out line. With my eyes glued to a magazine, I've had people clear their throats to get me to move along, too many times to count.

  22. I'm addicted to house porn and food porn. How bad is it. I not only lust after kitchens, but when watching iron chef and they show the secret ingredient, I start thinking of different things to make with it. :)


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