“It’s not the size of the house. It’s how much love is inside,” said country music star Martina McBride, according to a dubiously sourced website of inspirational quotes. Well, Martina McBride and/or that quote’s website is wrong. Many Americans are currently spending nearly every waking moment at home, and as it turns out, the size of the house does matter. So does a lack of outdoor space, grim lighting, lumpy furniture, and jumbled piles of kids’ toys.
Meanwhile, thanks to Instagram and outlets like Vogue and Architectural Digest, we have a pretty good idea of the way many celebrities live. As self-isolation mandates drag on, celebrities are filming talk shows, cute family pranks, and inspirational videos from their spacious homes. Frankly, famous people seem pretty upbeat right now compared with the rest of us. I can’t help but wonder: Could the secret be their gorgeous and immaculate homes with sweeping oceanside views? And a follow-up question: Were I forced to choose, which celebrity home would be the ideal quarantine location?
We can stipulate that the homes will be fully furnished, but the celebrities themselves will not be present. With that in mind, let’s pick a fantasy quarantine house.
Thanks to Legend and Teigen’s prodigious social media posting, this is arguably the most familiar celebrity house in 2010s America. The spacious kitchen, the wood floors, the pool, the piano, the shelves of award statuettes, the immaculate lawn, the sunset views. I have seen it all from every angle. And I’d like to be in it.
This is your pretty standard $88 million Bel Air mansion: state-of-the-art appliances, floor-to-ceiling windows in the bathroom (toilet situation unclear), a leather-lined spiral staircase(?), multiple pools, a “living area under the pools”(???), yadda yadda yadda. Most exciting for the current moment, however, is the fact that apparently the couple installed a backup generator before they moved in.
Actor Statham’s house “embodies his connection to nature,” Architectural Digest announced last year. “In these times, we need to connect with nature,” Slate editor Jeffrey Bloomer said in selecting it as his personal fantasy quarantine location. “It also looks small enough to keep clean.” The modern home features a teak deck overlooking the ocean, a garage full of wetsuits and surfboards, shelves stocked with wood by the fireplace (Statham, honorably: “I didn’t want to go out and buy a ton of books to put on the shelf”), and a huge set of speakers that Statham apparently uses to listen to reggae, but in this scenario would be yours to use as you choose.
If one must be quarantined in New York, here is an appealing option. Jones has described the home as an “escape from city life,” and it sure looks like one. It has a sun room and, inconceivably, a heated pool and hot tub in the backyard. More importantly, perhaps, for maintaining one’s emotional equilibrium in the current moment, it includes a custom wet bar.
Bieber rented this modern monstrosity back in 2015 and doesn’t live there now, but the glass mansion has been subject to a new round of roasting recently as aerial shots made the rounds online. “Justin Bieber’s house looks like if Amazon made a community college,” as one tweet put it. Others compared it to a “mansion-sized salad shooter,” “the research center of a SimCity expansion pack,” and “the 1995 Micro Machines parking garage.” So yes, it is hideous, but on the other hand it has a sweet pool and thick vegetation for privacy.
The Breaking Bad star’s rural home is a supersize upscale cabin, with adult bunk beds, a sauna, and a basement entertainment complex featuring a movie theater and poker room. “It feels like it was built with an impending pandemic in mind,” said Slate designer Derreck Johnson. “An isolated palatial cabin in the woods of Idaho? You could fit several small families in that place. … I can only imagine that he’s there right now feeling very secure.”
Kardashian West described her sprawling space as a “minimalist monastery” last year. In a video shot for Vogue’s “73 Questions” feature, she wanders the rooms of what sometimes looks like an empty set, with a color palette ranging from white to off-white. The kitchen counters are almost comically large, and the huge bed looks soft and inviting. On the one hand, it might be a soothing place to clear one’s mind of pandemic anxiety. On the other hand, there are only a few books in sight and no signs of food at all.
If you’re stuck inside for an indefinite period, minimalism gets old fast. Better to occupy a space with new details to discover every day, like a taxidermy ostrich, a taxidermy tiger, an “ethical taxidermy” rabbit wearing a tailcoat, a taxidermy pheasant, and a lovely patio. Then again, “every single sofa in this house is extremely uncomfortable,” Von Teese tells Architectural Digest. “There’s really nowhere to sit in this house.”
This is a 300-acre compound. Choose this one.
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