She's Back

So I took some time off. .

I'd like to think I did some good things with my spare time: I traveled to a best friend's wedding in New York; I organized a fundraiser for international refugees; I got my daughter a much requested course of violin lessons and I watched some television. Which is how I learned that MTV has the best thing going with MTV Cribs. HGTV and TLC are for wimps. If you want to see how real conspicuous consumers live you gotta' tune to MTV.

For the uninitiated, MTV Cribs showcases the homes of stars, mostly rock stars, I think, although I have never seen an episode that featured anyone of whom I had heard. They all looked to be stars of either rap, alternative rock, and/or basketball. I will admit that I am somewhat out of it musically (I can't bear the commercials on the radio long enough to listen for the music-I want my NPR) but I am amazed that these people had earned enough money to afford multi-million dollar homes (one fellow stated that his bedroom décor alone cost over $3 million) and I had never heard one of their songs.

I like two things about the show: First, I like that these stars, to a person (at least on the shows I saw in a marathon one Sunday night), claim to be very grateful for their good fortune. The lead singer of an alterna-rock band of which I, again, had never heard said, "You know, at one point, as I child, I lived in a teepee, so for me this is more than a dream come true." That's nice. That's how people who are having money thrown at them should act. Secondly, I like to see how people who are having money thrown at them faster than they can count it choose to spend it. Most of the time the theme seems to be the more garish the better, at least on MTV Cribs.

As the last show I watched ended I thought, "Don't they ever watch Behind the Music." Because if they did they surely would have seen the episode featuring MC Hammer, for a while it aired three times a day. Then they would know that sometimes the cash stops flowing and when it does, it's hard to make the payments on your jet and your 20,000 square foot mansion with its solid gold bathroom fixtures. Far be it from me to decide the subjects of Cribs can't afford these extravagant homes and lifestyles, but since I've never even seen their names even mentioned in Vanity Fair, I doubt they have proven they have the staying power to sustain the lifestyle.

Which led me to the much more cynical thought: Wouldn't it be great to be there to pick up the pieces when the MC Hammer drops?

For instance, I'm not sure I would ever hang a six-foot crystal chandelier in my bathroom, but I think I might feel very Marilyn Monroe if it was already there. I would never sacrifice a quarter of an acre of green lawn for a basketball court and changing rooms, but if it was already there I might enjoy a pick-up game as much as the next girl.

Oftentimes the most interesting thing in a house is the thing an owner installed or converted just for himself; things that don't seem practical financially or for resale will make a house more special; 239 Mill Street proves that.

Most people wouldn't have the nerve to take out a wall between a parlor and dining room, but that is just what the previous owners of this house did. Now, instead of two dreary and small rooms, a large light-filled room provides plenty of room for dining and space for a seating area. For more intimate times a den off the kitchen allows for a large sofa and club chairs while a television sits nestled in built-in bookshelves.

Most people wouldn't have the nerve to turn three bedrooms into one en suite in a hundred-year-old house. One bedroom, which overlooks Gratz Park, stayed a bedroom while the other two became his and her bathrooms (Hers is large enough for a huge vanity and a love seat.) and walk-in closets. While it is admittedly easier to forgive this crazy selfish plan knowing that there are still three more bedrooms and a one-bedroom guesthouse, it took guts to sacrifice two bedrooms. Again, the very thing I never would have done, as I would have been far too concerned about resale, is the thing that makes this house unique and charming.

If you think I am comparing this house to those I saw on MTV Cribs, you're right. The previous owner of this house threw a whole lot of money at it, however, the Ralph Lauren wallpaper in the kitchen and den leaves it much more Lexington than garish.


239 S. Mill Street on Gratz Park


3824 Square Feet (and 576 sq. ft. guesthouse)

4 bedrooms; 4 & one half baths

2-car garage

Contact Jim Mayberry or

Brian Potter 266-0451

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.