Marolt: Livin’ the reality! | AspenTimes.com

Marolt: Livin’ the reality!

Roger Marolt

Real estate ads are a wonder. One shows a woman in hazy pajamas staring wistfully from a gauzily draped window in the bedroom of her "lifestyle estate." If it was morning or evening, the sunlight would shine directly around the woman and highlight things through her thin sleepwear that would not be suitable for a small town newspaper. Instead, the sunlight comes from above revealing how actively our imaginations can work and we know the shot was taken around noon. One can picture a cool drink just out of sight on a bedside table, maybe a mint julip or an iced macchiato with a shot of whiskey.

A lifestyle estate, indeed. To me, the ad depicts a scene I could maybe stand once or twice, at most; maybe for awhile on my 80th birthday or recovering from meniscus surgery. Who wants a lifestyle that revolves around the house? I'm not much for using pajamas as daily wear, anyhow.

There's another one I find amusing because it lauds the local life and I am local enough to see that the ad is as phony as the cowboy at a Starwood News Year's Eve event.

There is a beautiful deck and a table with a cloth across it, holding up plates cradling politically correct appetizers. There are candles and flowers and champagne flutes and separate forks for salad, dessert and the main course. The problem, which only an observant local would notice, is the sun shining off the peaks in the background which could only come at that angle off those east-facing slopes at around six in the morning. A meal like that would be a lot of trouble before heading up Independence Pass to ski Fourth of July Bowl.

If it's not a lifestyle estate you are looking for, perhaps a Swiss Chalet, a chateau, or a haus is more your style. We have cabins, too; some might even have a lap pool in the backyard or a bowling alley in the basement. Unfortunately, we are out of bungalows. The last one sold in about 1986.

We have properties in the town's core or perched on mountainsides, sundrenched and cozy. We have lots of places with unobstructed views, and if your thing is a view, it may as well be unobstructed.

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For fans of the paranormal, we have lots of magical homes. Brokers are tight-lipped about exactly what kinds of magic occur in these places, but it is part of the mystery to discover it. It's what you are paying for, after all. Maybe it will be a pot of gold in the crawl space that can help justify accepting only 5 percent off the listing price. If this is your thing, it may be wise to hire a mystic or witch to inspect the place before you sign on the dotted line. There can't be much more disappointing than finding out afterward that you paid for legitimate magic and fell for a slight of hand.

I like the idea of sophisticated properties. Imagine sitting around staring at the walls on some rainy afternoon and coming away feeling more cultured. It beats a lot that you'll find on Netflix.

No matter your desires, all houses in this area are spectacular, special, spacious, stunning, conveniently located, immaculately renovated, well-built, fabulous, fantastic, premier, unique, amazing, beautiful, custom, immaculate, rare or one block from the gondola. Although little mention is made about comfort or practicality, there are probably some that might be either. One thing is for sure — none are described as economical.

All this perusing of real estate ads made me think about what I would say about my home:

It's gray, at the end of the cul-de-sac, the one with a gravel driveway. The lawn is healthy, but the damn cottonwood roots are producing knots on the ground. You can't really see them, but they are hell to bare feet and wreak havoc with the mower blade. The soil is not conducive to productive gardening and varmints will eat what you can grow before you can get to it. The views, inside and out, are better than average, but I honestly don't often notice. My wife prepares great meals here, but I give her credit instead of the kitchen or the dining room where we eat and talk about things other than the architect or builders of our house. We have hot water, toilets that flush, gas heat, electric lights, and I sleep soundly most nights. We keep the place clean, but that's our choice. The neighbors are friendly and their kids are healthily boisterous. The trash is picked up Wednesdays. I hope I never have to sell, because I doubt I'll ever want to.

Roger Marolt knows the difference between a lifestyle estate and a home. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.

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