I admit it – I’m guilty of grass is greener syndrome. In my little suburban apartment, I thought all I needed to be happy was an old house and closet space.
Now that I’m in my 1942 one-story with three (tiny) closets, and I find myself dreaming of an even older two-story with a guest bedroom and more than bathroom – and more closet space.
But in reality, I don’t really need those things. I’m simply intrigued by what I don’t have – give me a Craftsman and I’ll dream about living out the rest of my days in a Queen Anne, a Queen Anne and I’ll dream about life in a Craftsman.
I think to some extent, everyone feels that way – everyone except the one-time residents of the Biltmore House in Asheville, N.C.
What more could you possibly want when you have 25,000 square feet of living space and an 8,000-acre backyard?
With 250 rooms and four acres under one roof – not to mention the treasure trove of European antiques and art inside – the Biltmore is the largest privately-owned home in the U.S. and truly a study in opulence. In a time when most folks hadn’t heard of indoor plumbing, the late 19th Century chateau of George and Edith Vanderbilt had 43 bathrooms.
Photography isn’t allowed inside, but you can check out a slideshow of interior pictures on the Biltmore website.
Suffice to say, it makes the historic Grove Park Inn, which we also toured in Asheville, look like a modest shack (albeit a shack with a killer view).
FYI, if you ever make it out to the Biltmore, try to figure out how much time you’ll spend there – then triple it. Between the museum of a house, the gardens designed by renowned landscape artist (and Central Park designer) Frederick Law Olmsted, the stable house turned shopping center, restaurant and ice cream parlor, we were there for over four hours.
Funny thing, though – as much as I enjoyed winding up and down the many spiral staircases, and around the many garden pathways, all I could think about was how much I appreciated the simplicity of my ordinary cottage.
The truth is, I like my 960-square-foot house. I’m lucky I have what I do – if you’ve ever been fortunate (or unfortunate?) enough to tour an Ikea, you’ll see neatly organized living spaces in 500 square feet or less – I’ve got no excuses.
Sure, less space means freedom. But it also means less cleaning, organizing and decorating – and, in a way, requires more creativity. Besides, I like to do actual living in my living room – kind of hard to accomplish when you’ve got like 30 of them.
I could use some of that closet space, though.