There is a lie that permeates artistic discussions of space. The theory, he says, is that the artist needs infinite free time, infinite solitude, infinite space around his little brain to produce anything worthwhile. I understand where this mindset comes from. Some of that lingers, I think, because there’s always a moment – whether it’s a minute or a few days – after you come back from vacation where your creativity exists in a heap. Because your brain has had a moment to work in the background without your intervention, it’s easier to move forward.
But a lot of that belief, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, comes from the history of art and who makes it. Many people believe that the only way to produce anything of value is to work very little because for a very long time the only people who could produce anything creative were those with large sums of money. family. There is a distaste for what I will call, for lack of a better analogy, reps.
Everyone wants to believe that if they were given a house on land and an income and no other responsibilities (maybe a picnic basket of lunch delivered to their door every day), they could write the next great American novel. . I think that’s a bit stupid. Sure, it’s nice to have space for your art, and you definitely need time (which isn’t a luxury not everyone has), but you don’t need to. be isolated in the woods. You don’t need to separate yourself from society. You certainly don’t need to focus only on achieving something big.
When you do this laser focus on the idea of greatness you lose any opportunity to achieve anything meaningful because you are so focused on what the art can do for you and not enough on what art wants to be. It’s a lot of theory to say that rationally I don’t believe that running away from my problems and the world would solve the creative problems I’ve had recently. But emotionally, I still buy wholesale into the garbage cultural theory that it might.
Today’s home was brought to my inbox by Emily. She said that Zillow is now part of her “self-soothing before bedtime navigations” (ditto!), but that this house is NOT a bedtime navigation. It’s a house for art, in theory, but not art that she (or I) wants to see!
Emily found the house because she was browsing real estate in New Mexico because, “it’s a blue state with Mexican food, so it’s nice to dream of a state where politicians don’t court actively my death by firearms, disease, carbon monoxide, hypothermia, hyperthermia or misadventure of pregnancy.As someone who grew up in Texas, I feel this feeling in the pit of my stomach.
New Mexico is also a great state to dream. Maybe heaven could solve all your problems. Maybe if you went out there and you had a big hat and you worked on your art all day and you never, ever had to read emails, you could be next Georgia O’Keefe. Who’s to say you couldn’t?
Either way, this house is a good reality check. The listing indicates that part of this house is used as an art studio. It’s Albuquerque, and the blurb promises “skyrocketing ceilings.” With three beds, three baths and 2,994 square feet and a $678,000 listing, this certainly doesn’t sound like the worst home we’ve seen.
But Emily warned me. She said: “It feels like a dream house, in the sense that it was built based on plans made in someone’s dreams, when they couldn’t read or interpret the measurements.” Creepy.
Let’s see what we have here. Take a look at this week’s house:
I have to admit, it always freaks me out when there’s a photo like this first in the slideshow. It’s not a nice photo of the house, but it also clearly shows that the house is surrounded by an empty parking lot. The lot says it’s 0.31 acres, so I’m guessing part of that parking lot would belong to us. But do we want it?
Before entering, I also want to salute the soccer ball-sized red flag that is swinging dangerously in front of my face at the moment. Until maybe this month, the market was a seller’s market. Homes had flown out of Zillow before I could write about them because interest rates were low and people were grabbing homes left and right. This is no longer true. Houses sit longer in many places.
But this house. Hmmm. It went on sale in May 2021. It did not sell. The price was lowered and it went on sale again in September. It was pending sale within two weeks, but something happened. The sale was unsuccessful. Again, it listed in December and had a pending sale in January. AGAIN, the sale did not materialize. Again, it went on sale in early May, went on sale very quickly, and then hit the market again on the first of that month.
So something is seriously wrong with this house. It seems like a lot of people looked at it, were convinced they could fix it, and then an inspector told them bluntly that it couldn’t be fixed.
Here is the monster:
Wow. I don’t even know where to start. There are some weird texture decisions here. There is brick on the floor and on the wall. There is a kind of terrible prison in the lower right corner. These stairs are… a death trap. And listen, I live in a place with killer stairs right now and they’re not that scary. This is a great place to twist your ankle for sure!
I don’t know what I think of this open ceiling either. I understand the urge to get rid of drop ceilings, but now look at this:
This hose doesn’t even go anywhere!!!! It’s just an industrial adjoining design in a space with a lot of softness. The yellow painted metal stair railings particularly bother me. Who did this? Why! Who put that window in the stairwell? Why has God abandoned us? We’ll never know.
I guess we’re going to that little room over there.
Oh it’s an office/living room/tv room/café! Complitly normal !
I never like when the windows are covered in Zillow listings because it scares me that some terror lurks outside. Couldn’t the windows be opened for a minute to take this photo? Scary!
I don’t like that window air conditioner either. It’s hot in New Mexico! Soon there will be no more water! Here is a place where so many ways to die rush at you from all directions
On top of all that, the floors look fake or are fake, and they look bad. So why does this lamp seem to contain the ashes of a relative no one likes to talk about? The atmosphere could only be worse if it was about this house with the whole prison.
Let’s go where I think I’m upstairs but where I know is definitely the kitchen:
Ah yes a kitchen. It has all the normal kitchen stuff like, uh, a drawer with a glass window full of noodles? Normal!
Again, we can’t see out the windows, which scares me, but we can’t see an oven either. There’s a stove and toaster oven, but no full-size oven. It may be too hot in New Mexico to cook in the oven. And call me old-fashioned, but I think a nearly $700,000 house should have a goddamn dishwasher.
I really like those tiles with the yellow circles on them. Which I find appealing. But if you look closely at the green tiles on the left, you’ll see that they’ve been laid askew in the wall. This does not bode well.
Moving on, we have a room.
It’s boring. I hate that. I don’t like how the bricks are whitewashed only halfway up the wall. I don’t like that weird plywood wall. I hate it all. I didn’t even include the photo where someone attached saltillo floor tiles to the walls. It seemed like a step too far.
Here we see the basement.
No. No. No. No. No. See that wet spot on the spine? To me, that screams WATER DAMAGE. See that big fan next door? More water! It can’t be good.
The description says this space is used by an artist, and I can’t imagine what kind of artist can work in such an ugly space. I do not wish it. Just like I don’t want to imagine what might come out of that unfortunate little door in the wall, or what that wooden contraption is.
It’s hard to believe this is a creative space, even though there’s natural light, plenty of privacy, and enough terrible atmospheres to script an entire horror movie.
Oh! Here is the stove!
Where is it? I cannot tell you! It’s a different room. Is it up or down? How are you supposed to navigate this strange space? Does this cabinet open or is it stuck forever? These are the unanswered questions of our time.
There are also wine glasses here, which is fine I guess, but what is very concerning is that from here on all the photos look like they were taken on an iPhone. It’s not good. It’s a terrible sign for such an expensive house. Hire someone to take the pictures! At the very least put your fucking phone in landscape mode so the images fill the entire screen. No, it’s reframing something.
Here is another iPhone photo:
Wow a cactus. Very informative. This photo seems to highlight that not only is the baseboard made of small sections of wood, but some of them weren’t even dyed the same color. What a mess! It also seems to be one of the only rooms in the house without a lot of natural light, so I don’t know how the cactus survived for so long.
There is one more thing we need to see. It’s here:
What a beautiful photo to encompass all the problems of this house. Here we have a late installed top floor that intersects the large circular window that we could see outside. We have an aesthetically added brick wall that doesn’t appear to be structural in any way. We have both a fixture low enough to bang our heads in and a sloping ceiling to bang our heads in. These steps are ugly AND there is carpet. What a whirlwind.
It’s a great reminder that the grass isn’t always greener. Running away to the desert will not reinvigorate our creativity if we have to live in this terrible house. This is where the creativity will die.
This week’s home has been listed for $678,000 for a month. If you buy this house, please let me know. I think maybe the most creative person in the world could fix it.