In the two years since they moved into their voluminous 8,000-square-footer on the edge of Virginia’s suburbs, the Bennett family has not once used their formal dining room, where the table is eternally set for eight with crystal, an empty tea set and two unlighted candles.
Not even guests use the palmy, bamboo morning room beyond it; and the museum-like space Bonnie Bennett calls the Oriental Room — all black lacquer and inlaid pearl, fur, satin and swirling mahogany — is also gloriously superfluous.
“It’s kind of stupid, because we never sit in here,” said Bennett, 32, who bought the largest house she could for the investment.
But she carried around a crumpled photo of the furniture for eight years, and now that she has space for it, she admires it as others might a work of art.
“It’s just me ,” she said.
“Me and my friends joke about this, but I think Pottery Barn is responsible,” Skinner said. “You get the catalogue showing playrooms, then there’s a craft room, and you’re like, ‘Yeah, I need a craft room.’
“The irony is, the bigger the house, the more junk you buy. Then you have nowhere to put it, so you want more storage.”
As the Psihases saw it, moving into a bigger house was not something to be questioned, but something to be accepted, an axiom of American life.
“Bigger bigger, better better,” Georgia Psihas said. “It’s just a part of life.”
It has a guest wing, five fireplaces, three laundries, a hobby room, an elevator, a spa, a home theater, a summer kitchen, a chandelier lift — not things that the average American can necessarily afford at the moment, Hannigan said.
But, he added, “we figured we’d make this home in keeping with where our country’s going.”