Does Your House Have a Lego Room? Why Not?

A blog about politics, sports, media, stuff
April 5 2011 3:01 PM

Does Your House Have a Lego Room? Why Not?

Years and years ago, I read a sentence about a wealthy household's home-renovation project that was so perfect and amazing, I copied it down in two-inch letters on a length of register tape and stuck it to the wall. It was "François suggested making a virtue of the mill wheel."

The current edition of T magazine, the New York Times glossy supplement about fashion or design or other things rich people spend money on, may have surpassed it. The cover article is about a British family, the Mycocks—"owners of a successful I.T. company"—whose architectural-design challenge could be the most bleak and loathsome project in the history of shelter magazines.

The Mycocks did not try to use their money to retrofit an antique gristmill as a place to live, or to dangle a modernist country house over a river gorge, or to pull off some other impractical but inspiring feat of architecture. Their problem, which required a series of five architects to solve, was this: they had bought a 40-room Georgian manor house , and they wanted to occupy it as a family of six.

The challenge, that is, was pure consumption. Having bought far more house than they could conceivably use, the Mycocks wanted someone to draw them up a rationalization, a scheme that would allow them to act as if six and two-thirds rooms per person were not a senseless living arrangement—somehow, they wanted to banish the emptiness.

("If spaces aren't used, they die," their final architect said.)

Waste, pure and simple. But waste perpetrated by people desperate to pretend they are being practical and unpretentious. So T explains that the basement, where the household staff once worked, has multiple rooms with wooden laundry racks: "The Mycocks aren't big on things like dryers." God forbid some crass, electricity-burning machine should intrude on the plain honesty of their 40-room country lifestyle. Harold Skimpole, the scheming parasite of Dickens' Bleak House , constantly insisting on his childlike innocence and helplessness, couldn't have said it better.

The Mycocks "are not so much puritanical as they are particular," the article explains. In case there had been any confusion with the 23-acre estates of the Puritans. Also they converted some guest bedrooms—"endless guest bedrooms"—to bathrooms. Practicality! But that is not the masterstroke. The masterstroke is this:

At Crawford’s suggestion, they turned the ballroom into the kitchen and created a Lego room. If a room with a perfect view dedicated to Lego sounds ostentatious, it isn’t here; it’s used daily.
Advertisement

The Lego room, the entire room set aside for children to play with Legos, which is not at all the same room as the "dream playroom" elsewhere in the house—the Lego room is not ostentatious. Certainly not. It is in perfect harmony with the whole project.

 

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You

It spreads slowly.

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Activists Are Trying to Save an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?