Is big back?
The massive trophy homes of the go-go-go Dot Com years seemed to all go away there for awhile - indoor volleyball courts and media rooms giving way to smaller "smart" homes the hip new "green" architects promised would prolong the life of the human species.
But as the financial sectors rebound a little and vast sums made during the boom years come out of shoe-boxes and bank vaults across the land, The Blessed Among Us know a devastated construction sector is eager for work and ready to build.
There's one going in at the end of quiet little cul de sac in Moraga and it's a Big 'un, the contractor apparently going to some lengths to stabilize a hillside behind the home. Nary a peep from the neighbors, whose own 60's-era ranchers are dwarfed and sheepish next to their magnificent new neighbor.
An architect friend calls the trend "Vulgaria," a build-it-to-the-property-lines mentality possibly meant to capture something of an owner's summer holiday to the Rhine or Tuscany, and built to impress.
Morley Safer and 60 Minutes examined the syndrome recently, traveling to Texas - the land of purse dogs, Ferraris, and the New American Palaces - to find out exactly why a family of three needs 40,000 square feet to live in.
An extremely nice Texas lady, purse dog in hand, showed Morley her bathroom - a three-story water closet that looked more like the bell tower for a Franciscan seminary than a West Texas pissoir.
Morley was agog (most journalists are happy if they have indoor plumbing), and he had to speak with the man of the house, a nice guy who said he patterned his abode after "that Versailles, that Versailles home."
"You mean, the Palace of Versailles," Morley pressed.
"Yes, that's right," said Texas' answer to Baron Philip De Rothschild.
People who build homes like this tend to cast naysayers as "envious" little people who would build one if they could, but I don't know. My dream is to have a nice parcel of land with a nice but manageable home built in the middle of it - a comfortable place where the land is appreciated and not the height of my ceilings.
But that's just me. What do you think, is big really better?