Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Got House?

A constant refrain in the Darwin home is, "When we build our own house...." Over the years, we've accumulated so many features and design choices we want to incorporate that we'll never remember them without a list. I'm going to start a blog category called "Ideal House" for jotting down these items whenever they spring to mind, so that whenever we're ready to build we can just show our list to an architect and watch him laugh hysterically.

But I guarantee that our ideal house will not include an ice room so that we can sit in a whirl of artificial snow, six stories worth of parking garages, or cost $2 billion:

Like many families with the means to do so, the Ambanis wanted to build a custom home. They consulted with architecture firms Perkins + Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates, the designers behind the Mandarin Oriental, based in Dallas and Los Angeles, respectively. Plans were then drawn up for what will be the world's largest and most expensive home: a 27-story skyscraper in downtown Mumbai with a cost nearing $2 billion, says Thomas Johnson, director of marketing at Hirsch Bedner Associates. The architects and designers are creating as they go, altering floor plans, design elements and concepts as the building is constructed.

...The home will cost more than a hotel or high-rise of similar size because of its custom measurements and fittings: A hotel or condominium has a common layout, replicated on every floor, and uses the same materials throughout the building (such as door handles, floors, lamps and window treatments).

The Ambani home, called Antilla, differs in that no two floors are alike in either plans or materials used. At the request of Nita Ambani, say the designers, if a metal, wood or crystal is part of the ninth-floor design, it shouldn't be used on the eleventh floor, for example. The idea is to blend styles and architectural elements so spaces give the feel of consistency, but without repetition.

Wonder what $2 billion looks like?


Anonymous said...

Sometimes when I'm about to splurge on something nice/frivolous for myself, I think of all those poor people in India and start to feel guilty. How much good could that money do if I gave it to charity rather than something I want but don't really need? Then I read this story.

F**k it. I'm buyin' a Blu-Ray player. Carbon-fiber racing bike. Corvette. Italian suit. And I'm gonna borrow money to buy these things, so I'll be too strapped to give a dime to charity for years to come. Not my problem anymore.


bgeorge77 said...

I'm a custom home builder... and custom homes are from the devil. Any married couple contemplating a custom home I would advise to keep a marriage counselor on retainer.

mrsdarwin said...


I hope that we won't be the clients from hell one day. Most of our desires are pretty common sense stuff (mostly about windows facing all directions and having awnings) and are reactions to living in a poorly designed suburban box with NO GOOD PLACE FOR THE LITTER BOX. Unfortunately, in our area it's probably less expensive to buy your own land and build than to find one of the few homes from before the 50s, say, when people built for the realities of a Texas climate with no air conditioner.

Foxfier said...

Find out who designed Presdent Bush's place--I hear that it was designed like a dream, from an energy view.

LogEyed Roman said...

Too bad you are planning to build in Texas; if it were Southern California, my brother could find you the right architect. Trust me.

Now. As for that gazillion-dollar custom home. I had a brief daydream about when they get tired of the color of the paint and decide to move, and I get to be the real estate agent who gets the listing. Six percent commission--drool.

And yes, custom homes are nightmares in general, though knowing you two you would be the exception. Custom homes, especially really lavish ones, are the Devil to build, because most of the owners cannot be satisfied. The real reason, I suspect, is buyer's remorse. It's never as satisfying as they expect, and they try to find someone to blame, and the builder is the easiest target (from my experience; presumably the first target in such families is one another--"Well, it was your idea!" etc. ad nauseum.)

Find the Texas equivalent of my brother--a very experience developer willing to do a single-family home, who happens to be very ethical and not greedy. Yes, I know; it might take less time to just find a nice house built before World War II. I'm just saying.

LogEyed Roman

P.S. Any bets? I bet these people sell their $2-billion home in less than 3 years.


CMinor said...

Thought 1:
What a boondoggle of conspicuous consumption!

Thought 2:
What a pain to clean!

Hope they budgeted for the housekeeping staff.

rose said...

There's just so much wealth to re-distribute...

Literacy-chic said...

But I guarantee that our ideal house will not include an ice room so that we can sit in a whirl of artificial snow, six stories worth of parking garages, or cost $2 billion

Awwww... Why the heck not? I mean, don't your children deserve the best?

Our musings never get past "IF we ever decide to buy a house some day--" [cut short by hysterical laughter]

Literacy-chic said...

And btw, is it just too obvious to say that this thing is ugly as sin? What happened to the good 'ol days, when rich people commissioned artwork or aesthetically pleasing architecture? Think of what Gaudi could have done with $2 billion!

mrsdarwin said...

Think what I could do with $2 billion!

Literacy-chic said...

Good point. I guess I think of the billions as coming from somewhere else. Even as fantasy, it stays remote.