For the past few years, Robin and I have tested our ability to keep the 10th commandment (i.e. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house) during the first two weeks of August. I’m referring, of course, to our annual tradition of attending the Salt Lake Parade of Homes. Each year, the Utah Home Builders Association features 30+ mouth-watering homes scattered in locations throughout the Salt Lake Valley. This year, the homes were concentrated in Riverton, Herriman and Draper, and so it was fairly convenient for us to attend. (What was not convenient was to find people to watch our children, who were not at all interested in traipsing through rich people’s homes.)
The tickets cost $10 each, and in order to make it worth it, I like to visit at least 20 homes and to invest 6-8 hours of time. Robin and I saw five homes on Thursday, four on Friday and 10 on Saturday — so 19 in all. We still have a week to check out a few more (show ends on Saturday, August 11).
Each year, our experience goes something like this: as we visit the first few homes, we gawk at the sheer opulence and make jokes about how our master bedroom could fit into their closet (more appropriately termed a dressing room). We then start to think to ourselves,”Does anyone really need all this?” and then, “Just think about how many African orphans could have been fed and clothed if these people hadn’t sunk so much money into a 8,000-square-foot house in canyon!” After we’ve gone through that phase, we can finally begin to just appreciate the homes for their elegance and beauty. Most of them really are masterpieces of architectural and interior design. The landscaping and use of water features is really remarkable, a tribute to economically motivated human ingenuity and creativity.
Now these homes aren’t just big. Many of them are on fantastic lots with breathtaking views. In addition, their creators paid attention to every detail. They have the finest wood, tile and rocks, the nicest appliances and the most advanced technology. They also have really nice carpet, doors, windows, etc. I especially like seeing the technology, including state-of-the-art home theater systems and integrated audiovisual systems with security cameras and stereo systems throughout the house. Robin loves to see the creative home décor and furnishings, which really adds personality and class to the homes. We also enjoy checking out landscaping, pools, sports courts and water features of these extravagant homes.
I think that one reason we go religiously each year is to see “how the other half lives.” Another reason is that it’s fun to imagine my family living in one of those palatial homes, even though it is extremely doubtful that it will ever happen. Of course, we live in America, so anything is possible. Who knows? Maybe one day I could make enough money to live in a place like that. 🙂 Yeah, right.
Last night, we did cart our kids to visit one house on Creek Road. It was a 10,000+ square-foot mansion with 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms with a selling price of 3.2 million. It was my favorite home of the entire show. Parley was awed by it and said, “Oh, I don’t like visiting this house because it makes me wish I could live here!” The owner, who was sitting nearby, chuckled and said he could visit anytime. Perhaps we’ll take him up on that…