Balwyn calling

Ever since I and my family moved into our current rented property, we've been victims of upper-middle-class greed. The first year of our tenure was consumed by the building of a McMansion on one side. The second year saw the building of an even bigger McMansion on the other side. Now, two doors away, another is being erected.

Across the road, building has been on-again, off-again for the whole time and two doors down from that the house was destroyed and I expect another McMansion to start there soon. About 5 doors up, there's a little old brick veneer that is very likely to be replaced.

Some days I can barely get out of my house because the street has been reduced to less than a single lane because of all the tradies' vehicles.

Well, today the second-year building went up for auction. Here's what used to be there:


Look at it. A perfectly serviceable 5-bedroom house. OK, so it had a flat roof and probably got a bit hot in summer, but it was comfortable.

Now take a look at what's gone in its place.


The description goes like this:

One of Balwyn's finest pockets close to Beckett Park, Village shops and transport is an idyllic lifestyle milieu for this simply stunning French-inspired masterpiece, a grand-scale entertainer extending north to decadent al fresco areas amidst salt/solar waterfall pool and garden surrounds. Pure inspiration, this flawless abode is designed for the ultimate in lifestyle excellence with breath taking space, luxury and craftsmanship throughout superb formal domain, prodigious casual areas (unrivaled Miele/marble Kitchen/Butler's Pantry), 5 deluxe ensuite Bedrooms (palatial Master/dressing room/north terrace), Study, Teen Retreat, huge Home Theatre and CBus controlled.

A teen retreat. WTF? Wouldn't it be cheaper to line a closet with mattresses and buy a straightjacket?

And flawless? Like all the other shit that passes for Australian domestic architecture these days, it has NO EAVES.

We're in Australia people. It's one of the hottest countries in the world. You just built the house with a continuous transmission line for heat to enter it from every direction. And you won't stop the sun from shining on those windows. So you're going to need the entire output of Loy Yang to run the aircon. Oooh yeah, I'm looking forward to the brownouts when they fire up that puppy. How about all the Longford gas plant to heat those vast caverns?

Believe it or not, this is a renovation, not a demolition. The local council would have been able to object to, or at least place significant barriers to, a demolition. But by embedding a couple of existing walls, the vendors got round that and erected something that causes a great loss of amenity to the occupiers of the next house. Oh yes, that's me and my family.

We now have much less privacy and we've lost the afternoon sun. With the McMansion on the other side as well, I now can barely get enough sunshine in the back yard to dry my laundry... and that's in the middle of summer.

Take a further look:

McMansion hole

Let's stick a vast hole in the ground floor ceiling just so we can waste as much space as possible.

McMansion hole from above

See what I mean about the wasted space?

McMansion kitchen

You won't actually use this one. There's a "butler's pantry" with its own gas stove. Oddly, none of the rooms is described as "butler's quarters".

McMansion bathroom

Yes, the photo was taken with the Real Estate Reality Distortion Field in place, but do you really need to take 5 steps to get from the shower to the basin?

And there's room in that garage for not one, but... count 'em ... two lard-arsed Suburban assaUlt Vehicles.

Whoever buys this isn't necessarily buying quality either. Oh, it's been dressed up in marble and wood panelling and rendered all over as is the fashion nowadays. But it's not too hard to see the cracks, and the bricks don't even reach the ground floor ceiling. Under most of that render is polystyrene foam! I kid you not. Not only am I gobsmacked by the cheap-shit construction, but I had to live with polystyrene snow for the best part of a month.

Detect any jealousy? Maybe I wish I had that much money, but I sure as hell wouldn't do that with it if I did.

Piousness? Why not? The vendors of this place have severely affected my life. I don't do this shit to other people. Why did you do it to me?

Moral superiority? You bet. We're all going to hell in a hand basket and, as a middle-class White-collar dude in a Western democracy, I'm doing my bit too. When the fires of hell come, you'll burn with me. However, I don't see any point in hastening the process. What gives you the right to trash the planet faster than the rest of us?

Yes, I want to restrict your freedom of choice, and mine too, for the common wealth.

(Now there's a phrase one doesn't hear very often these days.)

To the vendors of this place, and to my new neighbours:
You might be the nicest people in the world. But your choices FUCKING SUCK.

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A vanity publishing venture of David Rodger, sound production teacher and wannabe PHP developer