My flat is tiny. When I’m battling claustrophobia, and tangled up in clutter, I gaze enviously up at the luxury flats twinkling in the sky. I want one. I imagine the stuff I’ll find there: space age fridges, three ovens, and automated shoe racks. Occasionally I sneak in to look around a new development, but I always feel like an impostor. The selling agents can sniff out a time waster; the wonder on my face betrays me.
These spacious apartments (they are never flats) show me that the rich really are different; they have bigger homes, and more cupboards. Styled like the fantasy residence of Austin Powers, or Captain Scarlet, they are swinging bachelor pads, with unyielding marble floors and granite surfaces, set in macho, tumescent skyscrapers.
These airy expanses mess with your sense of space and time. You need satnav to find your way back to the lounge from the second spare bedroom. Rooms are enormous, and furniture is never crammed in. Instead they boast expansive leather sofas which sit as islands in the middle of prairie like lounges, as the city lights sparkle below (you also pay for the view).
There is nothing feminine, or fluffy about these high end luxury apartments. There are no soft edges. They are designed like the biggest, shiniest, must have gadget you can find. I’ve seen walk in wardrobes larger than my flat.
But there is something slightly seedy about them. Hot tubs, roof top gardens; all these trappings of wealth have me imaging older men with lifted faces, wearing nasty leather trousers to ‘squire’ rapacious, blonde ‘dolly birds’ whose expensively renovated bodies are clothed and painted to match the mechanised drapes (we’ll have no curtains here). Unlike my own residential dovecot, some even have helipads on the roof.
I envy them their money, but more than that their cupboards. You’d think it would be the en suite steam bath, or the skirting board embedded with motion sensitive lighting, for when you stumble blindly in the dark that would make wistful and covetous, but I’d kill for all that storage space.
These flats have bidets. They are made for footballers, and their wives, embracing the ostentatious, conspicuous display (and cupboards) which accompanies that luxurious lifestyle. But it’s strange; with televisions screens broader than the vast Odeon, and stereos programming fifty CD’s at once, nobody seems to own treasured, dog eared paperbacks, or beloved ancient vinyl playable only with a one pence coin balanced on the pick up arm to stop it jumping.
I am completely baffled by the fondness (in luxury mezzanine apartments) for spiral staircases. You can’t move a piano, or easily carry a lover up such a monstrosity. You need a winch, and there’s never one in situ. And did no one consider that spiral staircases prevent the installation of a Stannah Stairlift? We’re none of us getting any younger, you know, especially the millionaires I imagine capable of buying flats like that.