Rediscovering Architectural Digest

When I was a kid, I used to read my grandmother’s back issues of Architectural Digest. While reading, I envisioned that as an adult, I would live in a giant modern mansion or maybe a penthouse in New York or Paris. 

At a certain point, I put aspirations for the incredible wealth that would fund such a lifestyle aside for what I believed were more fulfilling goals.

At least until now. I just visited the Architectural Digest website, fully expecting to be turned off by whatever egregious Louis XIV penthouse or Tuscan country home they were profiling.

Instead, those old feelings of covetousness came roaring back. There was nothing particularly laughable for instance about the “Greenwich Village Townhouse gets a warm modern new look” or the “Classic Hamptons country house gets a modern update.”

Maybe I do wish I were super rich and am envious of the .1 percent. Break out the pitchforks, right?

But then, I saw this, from the un-named owner of a “Rustic Alpine hideaway” :

“I live in the modern world, surrounded by the glare of computer screens and the buzz of high technology,” says the client, who uses the property as a winter getaway for himself, his wife, and their two children. “During working hours I am disconnected from such basic experiences as reading a book for the sake of it or relishing an hour of silence. When I come home, I have a natural longing for a place that will reconnect me to an uncomplicated way of life, one that is rooted in the past.“

This uncomplicated way of life? A "four-story Saint Moritz retreat… entered through the top floor, where a partially glazed front door opens to a vaulted entrance hall cobbled with concentric diamonds of mottled stone.”

I’m not sure I’m capable of living in the kind of alternate reality where “trompe l’oeil balustrades scratched into the plaster walls in a regional style of decoration known as sgraffito” is “an uncomplicated way of life.”