Coastal Living

Oprah, never pictured without the requisite !, recently told Black Enterprise magazine: "I don't care about money. It throws people off." Winfrey is worth $2.5 billion and has more homes than you've had dates. Only the wealthy have the gall to treat money with indifference. Especially in a recession. Give me $2.5 billion, and I'll blasé her, as Buzz Lightyear so neatly put it, to infinity and beyond.

My question: did she utter her disdain wearing Narciso Rodriquez or a $6,000 Loro Piana cashmere blouse? Image counts. If you want to sell indifference, don't wrap it in vicuna. It's disingenuous. Like when Obama and Clinton pretend to like each other. Or when Dick Cheney shot his friend in the face and the victim, not the shooter, had to apologize. "Sorry, my face got in the way of your bullet. My bad!"

I mention this because money doesn't talk, it screams. And it screams loudest when it comes to gasoline. Or real estate. There is a housing crunch on -- and it's clearly a buyer's market, mostly. But for some lucky Americans, like the readers of Coastal Living, it matters little. Billed as "the magazine for those who love the coast" -- and who doesn't? -- it targets subscribers who lust after water views and beach-house makeovers.

Now, I'm no expert on home repairs, but last time I checked, it takes Discovery's CEO salary to underwrite a Sausilito, Calif., re-do. And by re-do, I mean rebuild. Like new, only better. The aforementioned exec, John Hendricks, earns $58 million in cash and options. Are shark shows that lucrative? If Obama gets to payroll tax those grossing above 250K, Hendricks should help save Social Security -- which will keep those pesky sautéing-catfood-in-retirement nightmares at bay.

Bay! Back to the water.

This time, we're in Nova Scotia with the Fraser family. They trek every summer from Scottsdale, Ariz., to Canada, where the husband grew up. Forget that the kids are wearing Hare Krishna orange in the photo, a color no human being can pull off. Here's the part that gets me: They live in his grandmother's house. She lived there till she was 102, but "the derelict cottage desperately needed renovating." Does this mean grandma lived in squalor? I'm fairly certain she didn't captain the 25-foot Chris-Craft Launch, which is plugged twice in the article.

So is conspicuous consumption.

The Editor's Letter goes all gooey over a 15-year-old who has "set his aspirations as high as possible." No junior Louis Brandeis or Jonas Salk here. Our little Patrik (cq) is a land-locked Ohioan, though he regularly visits the Jersey Shore, who wants to devote his energies to securing, in his words, "a cedar-shake seashore Colonial with walls of glass... decks, porches/balconies everywhere and even a clerestory/tower sitting area."

First, I had to look up "clerestory." Second, my guess is that he'll win his dream house doubling as a set designer for Broadway musicals. Rest easy, P: I see the Hamptons in your future. Or maybe he'll go the CEO route and buy himself Fiji. Either way, he'll be a Coastal Living subscriber, since the magazine, which is lovely, is big on lifestyle additions, like entertaining, dining and festivals.

There was even a piece on hyper-realism painter Eric Zener. His wife, and mother of their two kids, often doubles as his model. Who is her trainer? I was almost as impressed by her flat tummy as the restoration of a big Victorian seaside home in Rhode Island. The owners are from California. They never list their occupation, but anyone happy to schlep bicoastal lives in their own world. Correction: worlds.

And like Oprah, the owners of Coastal Living homes probably don't care about money, either. "We didn't want the house to be perfect. We loved the sloping wood floors, wavy windows and architectural details," says Lore M., who purchased the New England manse. I don't know what her definition of "imperfection" is, but here's where precious meets pretentious. You could drown in it.


Published by: Southern Progress Corp.
Frequency: Monthly
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