Zillow House of the Month: Eat Your Heart Out, “Bridgerton”

It seems to happen in the blink of an eye: One minute we’re staying out until 3 a.m. on a Wednesday and the next we’re Zillowing houses we could never afford and critiquing their floor plans. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s just something thrilling about hating on a multi-million dollar mansion that doesn’t have a wine cellar. And to provide you with ample real estate ammo, we’re rounding up a new house each month for your perusing pleasure. From sprawling estates to compounds that rival the Kennedys’, behold… Betches’ Zillow House of the Month. 

September’s selection is, truthfully, going to be hard to detest, but we wanted to give you an idea of the “houses” we’re showcasing. We’re not looking at the four-bed/three-bath suburban nightmare that 95% of us are going to end up in (myself included). We’re talking about the places where a full staff and Moira Rose accent are required, and first up is this casual $87,000,000 Zillow listing. If you got a little lightheaded counting those zeros, I can confirm: This is an eight-bedroom/14-bath house that’s going for almost 90 million dollars. 

Honestly, I was immediately drawn in because this place gives major Bridgerton vibes with its vaulted ceilings, manicured gardens, and seemingly endless sitting rooms (complete with fainting couches, of course). I mean, the 21,800 square-foot Beverly Hills mansion could comfortably fit about 21 of my own houses, which is reason enough for me to dissect it in the extreme, borderline obsessive detail of someone who will actually put in an offer. Shall we?

First things first, the curb appeal on this manor is out of control — except not really because it’s gated atop a literal promontory (see: a point of high land). All that’s missing is a dragon to guard the place and you’re set on the untouchable front. And truthfully, the 3-story, European-style estate pretty much rivals any regency-era palace thanks to its 90210 zip and celebrity neighbors. Plus, there’s a theater, a spa, and a ballroom! Clyvedon Castle could never.

While granted, the idea of hitting balls outside sounds miserable, nothing says “I’m rich, and I like to do rich person things” like having your very own tennis court. Besides, tennis outfits are cute and overpriced, so it totally fits the aesthetic. Other rich people things your admirers will notice before even entering the main house? A koi pond, a putting green, multiple gardens, and 360-degree views of L.A. 

It’s giving Gatsby. It’s giving Titanic. It’s giving a place Leo DiCaprio would frequent (as long as there are a few 25-year-olds in attendance as well). The entrance foyer’s imperial staircase—a term I just Googled that means a staircase with divided flights—was made for putting the attention on you. Just imagine cascading down these bad boys during a party, a PTO meeting, or to pick up your Uber Eats. It’s a narcissist’s dream, and I, for one, am entirely here for it.

It wouldn’t be a proper palace without “look but don’t touch rooms,” and the good news is you have plenty of options to choose from here. Will you perch on the edge of an uncomfortable-looking chair as you wait for your suiters? Or perhaps at the piano, where you’ll attempt to plunk out the notes to “Heart and Soul” which you swear you know thanks to the three months of lessons you took when you were eight. And they said old-world sophistication was dead. Not here, not today!

Even though this place has a billiards room, an oversized home gym, and a wine cellar that looks like “the storefront of an early 18th century English saloon” (whatever that means?), my favorite room has to be the library. Just look at it in all its stained glass, two-story, spiral staircase glory! It’s simply the perfect place to curl up amongst the books and scroll on your phone. 

It’s hard to fully judge this bar from the photo, but for some reason, it’s the first feature that just doesn’t sit well with me. The vanity lights and mirrored walls feel a bit too Vegas for such a dignified space, and the odd placement between the open doorway and the French doors seems haphazardly thrown together. Also, where are the chairs? I’ve just spent $87 million on a house. There’s no way I’m about to stand like a peasant while waiting for a drink, thank you very much.

Another area of disappointment and disbelief lands us in the “chef’s kitchen.” Admittedly, I do see at least two ovens, two refrigerators, and a wine fridge, but all of it falls a little flat. I’m expecting a Master Chef setup with Gordon Ramsay on staff and TBH, this just feels underwhelming. Even though there’s a center island and (oddly unpictured) pantry, it simply doesn’t scream “I could proudly host the Obamas for a catered-quality meal” here. Plus, the wood cabinetry? The clear doors on the shelves? The framed photos lining the top? Woof.

Luckily the kitchen is redeemed by one of the most impressive formal dining rooms I’ve ever seen. Like, hi, does Chuck Bass live here? Finally, you can sit at one end of the table while your partner sits at the other and shout across the room like the true royals you are. Yes, it has an ornate chandelier. Yes, it has Venetian stained glass. And yes, it will make every single person jealous as you (AKA your staff) serve them delicacies like chilled soup and raw steak. Bon appétit, b*thes. 

If the 12-person dining room feels a bit much for breakfast with your, ahem, overnight guests, the nook just off the kitchen is light, bright, and still feels completely over-the-top in a slightly more intimate way. The garden theme could be either tacky or cute, but I’m going with cute because the cottage-y chandelier and floral detailing somehow work for me. Just be careful about any makeup residue from last night—all that natural lighting looks rather unforgiving.

If you noticed the little bridge leading from the kitchen nook, you’ll be happy to know there’s another adorable dining option for your more casual meals: an al fresco, mote-surrounded space you have to access via footbridge. This is just one of the multiple outdoor spaces for eating and/or having sex in the rain while an instrumental version of Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” plays in the background, but aesthetic-wise, it really slaps.

Ready to be confused again? Allow me to present the master bedroom. In fairness to the space, I think this is just a really bad angle, but it begs the question: Is the room weird or should the photographer be fired? Hard to say, but we need another vantage point to understand what we’re working with.

Luckily, there is one other view of the master which makes the room look completely different. I had to switch between both images and play a frustrating version of “I Spy” to make sure I was talking about the same space, but at least this view gives a better idea of the size and detail. The blue coffered ceiling and large sitting area are actually really inviting, and the fact that the room has multiple private terraces, his and hers closets, and a massage room(!) makes me feel like it’s a liveable situation, even if you secretly detest your spouse (as I assume most rich people do?). 

This is, suspiciously, the only bathroom photo (out of 14 full baths!) posted to Zillow. I’ll let it slide, though, due to the sheer fact that the bath-to-beds ratio of this house is almost double. Double! This means even if you share a room and ensuite bath with your significant other, you never have to worry about someone being in the bathroom when you need it or worse, stinking up a shared space because you have so! many! other! options! While I’d love to make sure all the bathrooms at least have separate showers, dual sinks, and spacious vanities, I’ll settle for the fact that I can, at least, soak in this antique-style tub while staring over the city where dreams go to die. 

One especially great perk of this house is the fact that you don’t *have* to let your guests sleep in the main house. I mean, how embarrassing would it be to bump into some random overnighter while you’re in the kitchen, demanding the chef make you a late-night snack? While there aren’t many pictures of the detached guest house, this view gives an idea of just how many people you can host if your black tie galas run a little long. Also, if your guests get bored, they channel their inner Beth Harmon with a lively round of yard chess. It’s called hospitality, look it up.

One of the last views of the house is of the pool, and for a Beverly Hills situation, I’m slightly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the fountain concept is sort of fun, and the shape is different, but this is the land of sunshine and water-side lounging. Considering this fortress is all about luxury, couldn’t we get a more unique aquatic space? Let’s see a waterfall! A lazy river! An infinity pool or a small-scale waterpark at least. Also, what’s up with the dolphins? All that squirting feels a bit aggressive, no?

After spending far too long critiquing the space, even I have to admit that this humble abode is actually pretty solid. From the unnecessary number of balconies to the fact that this house could basically host the entire cast of 90210, it’s a great jumping-off point. With a bit of remodeling and a flirty friendship with one of your celebrity neighbors, it just might be what you’ve been looking for. In-person tours are happening now, so put on your family jewels and pop on over—we’ve got a house to buy.

Images: Zillow (16)

Arie & Lauren Flipped A House And We Need To Talk About It

It’s been two years since Arie Luyendyk graced our TV screens as the most boring Bachelor in history, and I have to say, I don’t really miss him. Watching Arie and Lauren fall in love (sorry, Becca) was arguably less exciting than watching paint dry, but hey, it seems like things are really working out for them. I love that. Two years after meeting on the show, they’re married, they have a daughter together, and now, the first house that they’re flipping together is officially on the market. Luckily, someone posted the Zillow listing in a Facebook group I’m in, and boy is it something.

I’m no real estate expert, and after perusing the listing, I have several questions. First, let’s go over some of the details. Arie and Lauren bought the old house in February of last year, and did a complete tear-down and new build. The new house has four bedrooms/three bathrooms, and is almost 3,000 square feet, which by my calculations is *looks around* definitely bigger than my apartment. Great, sounds like a normal suburban house. Arie is listed right there on Zillow as the listing agent, so it’s good to see he hasn’t let his Bachelor fame get in the way of his actual career.

The thing that immediately caught my attention is the asking price: $915,000. For those of us that are numerically challenged, that’s almost a million dollars! It sounded high to me, so I did a little digging. Arie and Lauren bought the old house on the lot for $298,500 in early 2019. Then, the new house was listed yesterday for $950,000. According to Zillow’s calculations, that’s a price increase of over 200%. Damn, do I need to get into flipping houses? Probably. Do I have the skills? Definitely not. Strangely, in less than a full day of being on the market, the price on the house has already been lowered by $35k, which seems like an odd strategy? Maybe this is a common tactic that I’m unaware of, but I’m gonna choose to think that Arie just made a typo when putting in the price.

Zillow also has a feature called the “Zestimate,” where it tells you the estimated actual value of a house. When I first saw the listing last night, the Zestimate on this house was a whopping $600k lower than the list price, but now it’s been updated to just over $900k, so I’m guessing that was just a lag on the new listing. In fact, the Zestimate has continued to go up in the last hour or so, which is interesting. But what’s really interesting is that the average value of a home in this neighborhood of Phoenix is around $360k. That’s a huuuuuge difference from Arie and Lauren’s just-shy-of-a-million asking price, and it makes me wonder why they built such a nice house in this neighborhood? My mom always told me that you never want to have the most expensive house in the neighborhood because it hurts your property value, and it looks like that’s exactly what these two have done. Oh well, not my problem.

Now that I’ve done enough research to earn my real estate license, let’s talk sh*t about the house itself, because I know that’s why we’re all here. From a first glance at the outside, it looks like Arie and Lauren stuck to the Vanderpump Rules architectural style of “off-white house with big black garage door,” and is anyone surprised? I’m not sure about those unpainted wooden beams surrounding the front door, but I guess the rustic wood offsets the feeling that your house looks like you saw it in a catalog and said “I love that” (sorry, I’ll stop).

Moving inside the front door, you’re immediately greeted by an open-concept kitchen. And by immediately, I mean that the stove is literally no more than six feet from the front door. Is this a thing? I will say, the kitchen looks beautiful. But all the photos are taken with that weird wide lens that’s supposed to make everything look bigger, and it leads to some sketchy Kylie Jenner Facetune issues. Like, the kitchen island looks like it’s straight out of an MC Escher drawing, and I can’t tell how big anything is.

In the initial post I saw about the house, one thing that many people called out is the lack of staging in these photos. And I have to agree, some furniture would have helped. In photo after photo, we just see these big, empty rooms, but due to the weird fish-eye perspective, it’s really hard to get a handle on how big anything is. I’m sure staging takes a lot of time and money, but still, it would be helpful to know what size bed I could fit in each room, for instance.

But all of these complaints about the layout and the lack of staging absolutely pale in comparison to what I’m about to show you. Brace yourself, because this is really upsetting.

Behold, the hall bathroom:

WHAT. THE. F*CK. Oh my god, I’m gonna be sick. And I say that because the tile looks like some kind of bacterial infection that’s rapidly spreading into the hallway. I’m gonna keep checking the Zillow listing, because by this time tomorrow, it might take over the whole house! Who can stop the tile???

But actually, who made this design decision? Joanna Gaines would never. Like, did they get 90% of the way through laying the floors in the hallway and run out of wood? Honestly, that’s the only explanation I can think of, because this is gonna look so weird when the bathroom door is closed. Also, the edge of the wall where it meets the floor looks… kind of sloppy? For that asking price, I would expect all details to be flawless. I’m sure whoever buys this house will love it, but it’s not the one for me, and not just because I will never have $900,000.

If you’re in the Phoenix area, there’s an open house tomorrow, and I’m literally begging you to go inspect and report back. Does the house actually look nice? Can you figure out why this tile situation happened? Is Arie going to follow you around the house while you cry in every room? I have never needed answers more. Good luck to Arie and Lauren, and maybe if they’re lucky, they’ll get an HGTV show out of this.

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Images: Zillow (4)