Remember Dumpster Dad, who decided, after his divorce, to move into a dumpster? And then wrote this unnerving “It Happened To Me” story for XOJane which included the detail that the dumpster was behind the women’s dormitory at the university where he taught? (Seriously, were there no dumpsters behind the business school? Or the environmental studies program?)
Well, Dumpster Dad is back, and he’s now been promoted to Professor Dumpster. The Atlantic has a lengthy feature on Professor Dumpster (aka Jeff Wilson), one of those sweet glossy features with animated GIFs and dumpster schematics, and here are a few of the updates on Professor Dumpster’s life:
—People actually call Wilson “Professor Dumpster.” I have no idea if this generated naturally or if it is Wilson’s self-styled nickname (and BRAND). I do know that it is the name on Wilson’s Instagram.
Yay! Great Homes and Destinations time. This week we learn what we can get for $1,500,000, which includes sixty acres in Colorado, some industrial space in New Orleans, and oooh “a shingled house” (better than a house with shingles) in Rhode Island:
An addition was built at a 90-degree angle from the original house to create a light-filled great room with a vaulted ceiling, a rock fireplace and French doors opening to the outside. … The long kitchen island is topped with black walnut, while the flooring was salvaged from an old mill in Providence. Kitchen appliances include a six-burner Vulcan range and two dishwashers, including one in a butler’s pantry.
The master bedroom suite is on the second floor. Its bathroom has a walk-in steam shower and a custom-built butternut vanity. Another upstairs bathroom has a tub from an old Providence mansion; there is also a 1902 console sink. Off the second-floor landing is a sitting area. The other five bedrooms are spread out over the second, third and fourth floors, reached by an original staircase topped with four contemporary skylights.
BLACK WALNUT. BUTTERNUT VANITY. What are these, ice cream flavors? CONTEMPORARY SKYLIGHTS. BUTLER’S PANTRY. Where the butler goes. To buttle.
Let’s power up the Good Enough Homes & Destinations generator and see what you get for a flat $500,000.
Go Midwest, young man
Erika Anderson writes about being born on The Farm, the commune in Tennessee made famous by midwife Ina May Gaskin – and led, in “counter-cultural” but still patriarchal fashion, by Ina May’s husband. (#BanMen) What is a personal reflection about the pros and cons intentional living in the rural south doing in Vanity Fair? Who cares? If you’ve ever been curious about small-scale socialism, this is an essay for you:
Life on the inside had its charms and quirks. A Farm store operated like community-supported agriculture; I remember each house getting a box of cooking oil, Ajax, a bar of soap, margarine, salt, and seasonal vegetables, except most couldn’t supplement these with trips to a grocery store. Noodles and peanut butter were forbidden treasures for us, things my dad might buy with his weekly allowance to feed his masonry crew, since anyone who worked off The Farm had additional, necessary privileges.
While we were growing up, there was no refrigeration, but there were telephones and a laundromat. To get in line, you placed a call first thing in the morning so you could wash clothes for your entire house, which might hold a single family or 50 people. “It was a lot like calling in to win a prize at a radio station,” my mom told me, laughing. ““You are caller number four!’” Within minutes, all 15 spots would be full.
While men worked in the fields, or off The Farm to earn money, women had weekly or biweekly “house days.” One or two women would look after the kids in their home, make meals and do the laundry if they could. Then they would spend the other days of the week working in the community, outside the home. “I got to have a varied life,” my mom has said. “That was one of the things you missed when you moved away. But it was the only thing you missed.” That and friends, who had all but become family.
There’s also Lauren Groff’s novel Arcadia, about communal New York State living in the ’60s, if you want more.
The Grey Lady is packing bathing suits and plastic bags (to hold wet bathing suits) and towels and face sunscreen and body sunscreen and aloe and moisturizer and hardly has time for Great Homes and Destinations this week. Her magic number is $2,400,000, which is again and always hilarious. What’ll that get you?
The three-story house has an elegant foyer on the first floor. To the right is a den with chestnut paneling and a coffered ceiling; a flat-screen TV over the fireplace is hidden behind a painting. To the left is the living room. Ceilings on this level are more than 20 feet high. Updated kitchen appliances include a Wolf range and a Sub-Zero refrigerator. Both the kitchen and the dining room open to a terrace and a bluestone patio overlooking downtown Providence.
A rich lady in Beverly Hills once showed me how, at the press of a button, artwork on the wall of her bedroom rolled aside to reveal a flatscreen TV. She was so proud.
We’ll see if we can find some houses with secrets in today’s installment of Good Enough Homes & Destinations: What You Get For $240,000.
+ Portable charger to keep my phone alive during viewings, $35.
+ Bottles of water grabbed between viewings, $3.
+ Emergency granola bar to keep from fainting one day in the August heat, $1.50.
Gray Lady hasn’t had her coffee today and is totally over work because it’s August and settles for giving us a list of the totally ordinary houses you can buy for $1,500,000. Like this one in Shark Key, Florida:
Shark Key is a gated island community seven miles west of Key West. The island is about a mile long and only two lots wide, with a saltwater swimming lagoon in the middle. Community amenities include two tennis courts and a clubhouse. Shopping and dining are within a 15-minute drive, on the palm-lined streets of Key West. This house is on a peninsular lot near the southern tip of the island, surrounded by water on three sides. … The house is on about an acre, lush with mature banyan, coconut and banana trees. Parking is in a covered spot under the house. There’s space to pull a pontoon boat in and out of the water.
Let’s see if we can find something more exciting in this week’s edition of GOOD ENOUGH Homes & Destinations: What You Get for $500,000.
As we’ve established and you already knew deep in your bones, the same house will be more expensive in Greenwich, CT, than in Fargo, ND. What you may not have known, though, is that the difference in price is not merely reflective of the difference of costs, specifically land and material costs in CT vs ND. There’s an X factor too, or, as the experts call it, a “shadow price,” that makes San Francisco so absurdly unaffordable it might as well be Mars.
The price of a house or apartment, the authors argued, is more than just the value of the land plus the value of the building. There’s a third, shadow price, which represents how difficult it is to get something built given local regulations. In highly restrictive places like San Francisco, regulations impede the supply of new buildings, and so raise the price of housing.
So, like, for example, materials and land cost 2x the national average in SF, and yet a house costs 3.6x the national average. The difference can be attributed to regulations. You know, bureaucracy, red tape, all that nonsense. The Economist flatly states, “the [Bay Area] is one of the most difficult places to build in the country. Prices are therefore soaring and neighbourhoods are changing, touching off some occasionally nasty social conflicts.”
DC apartments, though nutsy, remain more reasonable than SF’s, in part because, after our nation’s capital went through crisis after crisis between 1969 and 2001, it decided to get back on its feet by investing in tons of new housing — for DINKs. If you build it, DC figured, they will come, “they” being single, sexy, spendy types, which represent more short-term gain for an urban area. And lo, the city was right.