According to Alexa, a leading analytics company, the most visited websites last year have been those you will expect: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon. (Alexa is owned by using Amazon, by the manner, which makes feel: Amazon owns the entirety). But I understand I am part of a devoted institution of individuals who spend a huge quantity of time at the internet, now not looking at the back of-the-scenes clips of Broad City – although there may be that – but browsing property websites. This isn’t because I am an investor (cue hysterical laughter), or that I am buying a house. This is pure escapism.
Sites such as Rightmove, Zoopla, and Purple Bricks are my weak spot; I’m afraid I actually have a passionate dislike of estate retailers – due to the fact fool me as soon as, disgrace on you; idiot me 90 instances and I will despise you for existence – and a key bonus of escapist surfing isn’t having to deal with them. The houses I am looking at are £2m townhouses in London, or widespread open-plan warehouses in Glasgow, or adorable bungalows in Pembrokeshire. I can also bypass hours on The Modern House and WowHaus, which both market it locations to live. Recently, I even have branched out into stalking lofts in New York and Berlin walk-united states on Google Street View.
My obsession predates the net. Whenever I was in a health practitioner’s ready room, I could dive into the canine-eared copies of Country Life, and despite the fact that I was sixteen with less than £a hundred in an ISA, might take within the Knight Frank manor houses for sale ( tennis courts, stables, a lake). Despite my later realization that agents are essentially awful, I wanted to be one as a kid. I even made promotional brochures for my nonexistent employer the usage of perfunctory Microsoft software program. I played The Sims life-simulation video game just to build the homes. I worked out a way to game it so that I should add basements and double-height ceilings.
I have written before in this column about my passion for tiles, and these are a tremendous factor in terms of the houses that make me swoon. But so are chunky beams, and stained-glass windows in church conversions. I refuse to be shamed for spotting on-line that one of the pastel-colored houses on my dream street has come directly to the marketplace, after which altering my direction to work to stroll by using it, like a pining lover.
Lustily daydreaming after layout works as a stress release, a plaster of aesthetics on the wound of information. I assume one would possibly argue that downloading PDFs of the houses – as if I had been without a doubt going to put in a proposal on Toddington Manor before Damien Hirst offered it (shut up) – might be taking it too far. But you should excuse me: I have a video tour of a Barbican penthouse to experience.
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