Recently my husband and I visited Graceland, the palatial estate of Elvis Presley. Okay, so it's sadly dated these days, but once upon a time the estate represented the very highest achievement of unlimited money paired with dubious taste .
So, naturally, on our looooong drive back home, we started imagining what we'd do with dubious taste and unlimited funds. Besides, one ought to be prepared in the event that one is fortunate enough to be the sole winner of a multi-million dollar lottery. We were shooting for outlandish, though it may be that some of these are actually de rigour among the 1% ... not that we're ever likely to find out!
- To start, we're definitely installing a shark tunnel entry hall. You know what I'm talking about - one of those 360 degree acrylic tubes that pass through the middle of an enormous saltwater tank, so that as you walk through the tunnel, you're surrounded on all sides by coral reefs, exotic tropical species, and sleek, smirking sharks
- Visitors emerging from the shark tunnel will find themselves facing our next delightful home furnishing, an authentic, full-sized, articularted T-Rex skeleton. Surrounding the T-Rex will be Jurassic-themed furniture and tables with fossil-slab tabletops ... because I don't care how old you are, you never outgrow the thrill of visiting the dinosaur room at the museum.
- Palatial kitches are so McMansion these days! So to differentiate ourselves from the 95% we're going to equip our palatial kitchen with an old-fashioned teak-lined Butler's pantry, complete with towering shelves of gleaming silver platters, salvers, tantaluses, bowls, and complete Victorian tea sets behind towering glass doors. Most of the silver won't even do anything - it will just be designed to sit there, looking ostentatious.
- Speaking of kitchens, we are so having a dumbwaiter. Because they're so convenient for ordering little snacks from the kitchen ... and, of course, for temporary storage of inconvenient corpses.
- And because we are concerned - as all Americans should be - about recycling, we'll be installing a piranha tank adjacent to the dining room. Perfect for disposing of those inconvenient table scraps ... and, as luck would have it, for long-term disposal of any inconvenient corpses.
- Wondering about that roaring sound coming from the great room? Follow the sound of rushing water and feast your eyes on our indoor waterfall, fed by a water wheel that lifts water to the top floor. The resulting indoor stream will meander it's way through all the rooms of the main hall, but don't worry: you'll be able to cross the water by means of a series of polished glass floors, bridges, and stepping stones. Oh, and I'm stocking the stream with trout and lobsters, so I can enjoy fresh seafood whenever the mood takes me.
- "If you build it, they will come," I've heard, so to prepare for the onslaught of visitors hauling jaded children in their wake, we'll be devoting a wing of the house to creating a children's village. Think the Main Street of any small town, except all the stores are fitted out for children - a movie theater that shows children's movies on request, a diner serving kids food, a video game store, a model train store, a stuffed animal pet store/vet office, a clothing shop full of costumes, a theater (for staging performances), an exercise gym (with indoor pool), a repair shop, a library, and a dance studio/disco with light-up floor.
- Meanwhile, adult visitors will be invited to enjoy our fully-equipped Vegas-style casino, complete with gaming tables, free cocktails, and a 24/7 Rat Pack soundtrack. To enhance the authenticity, we'll be installing an Elvis-themed mini-wedding chapel in one alcove - just the thing for renewing those wedding vows! - and a full roast-beef buffet in another. A closet full of cocktail dresses, tuxedos, and wedding dresses in every size will be available for the convenience of visitors who fail to arrive prepared.
- It goes without saying that we're going to be buying a fleet of sweet automobiles (we're especially partial to vintage roadsters). What a waste to store them away in some dark, dingy garage! For this reason, we'll be building an indoor car showroom complete with polished granite floors, elegant painted panelling, immaculately restored auto advertising/club/rally posters, chandeliers, comfortable seating, a big screen television, and a wet bar. That way we can appreciate our babies even when we're not in a place to drive them around.
- How do you make a man-room even more manly? Add a jumbotron! Ours will have screens on all four sides so that no matter which way you're facing in the room, you'll never miss a moment of sports action. Plus, we'll program the scrolling text to keep us updated on the scores of other games and wish people visiting our home a happy birthday.
- In a rush to get downstairs to the kitchen from your upstairs bedroom? Just hop on the zip line that will connect the two floors!
- Love looking at stars but hate all the bugs! Our solution? A dedicated planetarium with optional deployable observatory for scanning the skies in search of incoming asteroids. Just spread a towel out on the astroturf floor, lay back, and watch the constellations mosey by as Neil deGrasse Tyson narrates our own customized planetarium show.
- Did you ever wish it could be Christmas all year? You know that's right. Which is why we'll be equipping our house with a year-round Christmas room, complete with decorated trees, Christmas music, a roaring fire, and a mini-fridge full of eggnog.
- Hard to believe a few hours in the Christmas room wouldn't cheer anyone up, but just in case we find ourself afflicted by by an ennui so profound that even multiple screenings of It's a Wonderful Life fail to dispell it, we're going to invest in a full-proof alternative, a puppy room. Which is just what it sounds like: a room full of adorable puppies just standing by, waiting to melt away stress like global warming taking out a glacier.
- Connecting the myriad rooms in our house will be multiple secret passageways, accessible by a dozen or so cunningly hidden doors. Because how else are we going to travel quickly between the kitchen and conservatory?
- Having yet addressed the top floor, which we'll be turning into an indoor skating rink, complete with wood floors, disco balls, and a snack counter. This would be in lieu of a hum-drum home gym, you understand, because skating is great exercise. The polished wooden floor will double as a shuffle-board court, so we can continue exercising into our old age.
- Little will our guests suspect that stretch beneath their feet is an authentic dungeon! Ours will double as a wine cellar. Speaking of which, can I interest you in a rare and exquisite Amontillado?
- Indoor pools? So Comfort Inn! That's why we're going to kick it up a notch and install a full-sized wave pool with island. Because who wouldn't want their own private island with perfect surfing? It hardly bears mentioning that our island will be equipped with a beach, a hammock, a tiki bar, and an assortment of eukaleles.
- Venturing outside, our backyard will naturally be dominated by a whole bestiary of topiary animals and a wicked topiary maze. Seriously, you're going to need a compass, field rations, and a couple balls of string if you're hoping to come out alive ... and, believe me, you do not want to be wandering out among the topiary animals after dark ....
Have we missed anything? Let us know?