Dream Homes: life at the top is not without worries

Who wouldn’t want to live 274 meters above sea level, enjoying Australia’s highest swimming pool? Well, read this before you decide it’s not you…

8801/222 Margaret St, Brisbane, QLD

I know a guy who likes to wash his windows. He’s out there for hours on end most weekends with the steam cleaner and chamois doing all he can to make those bad boys shine. I don’t know why – his wife is beautiful. Go inside and hang out with her, Bradley!

Personally, I’m not very good at washing my windows. If they are cleaned once every two years, that’s good enough for me. More often seems excessive, if I’m being honest. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll clean a cobweb if one appears (with the longest broom on the market because I’m rightfully terrified of those hellish beasts, as any sane person would be), but I only clean them more often than I don’t have to.

It’s not good for them to be too clean anyway. I learned this the hard way a few years ago when I washed them inside and out and in three days I had seven birds that rammed into them and died. The glass was so clean the birds just couldn’t see it. They’re out there flying, singing about spring or transitional finance or whatever the birds sing (we may never know) and then nekminnit, bang – they meet their maker .

That’s why I’m not so keen on buying this tri-level Brisbane penthouse. Sitting atop the Brisbane Skytower complex, some 274m above the ground, it’s a celebration of style, luxury and glass, which is the problem. You see, a building with apartments of this caliber, you just know that a regular window cleaning fee is going to be built into your contract. It has to be – building owners and residents will want those windows to shine all year round.

Which means if I buy this skyhome, I’ll spend my days watching the birds strike them. If that’s what happens to window cleaning at my house, imagine how much worse it will be here, especially when I have the highest swimming pool in Australia for them to drink from. I’m going to have to fight this by putting up expensive curtains, blinds, plantation shutters – whatever I can to try and keep those pesky birds from getting wiped out. It’s my duty, really.

Now, I don’t know if a bird would reach terminal velocity from a height of 274m, but if a coin falling from the top of the Empire State Building could kill a man, you’d have to assume it’s of a dead or unconscious bird in an uncontrolled free fall would do similar damage.

So no, I’m not buying this place, because I don’t want the hassle, expense or liability.

In fact, a quick Google search shows that the vast majority of birds in this country fly within 500 feet. This home sits approximately 899 feet above the ground. Which means my concerns about bird collisions are misplaced. In fact, the likelihood of a bird hitting the windows is, fortunately, quite minimal. It will not arrive. Most of them don’t fly high enough to cause a problem.

So this whole discussion is redundant. In the words of my greatest hero, the late Canadian comedian Norm MacDonald: “I don’t want fancy or fancy stuff. I don’t even want fancy, fancy stuff, or fancy, fancy stuff like a trip to France. What I want is to waste your time and mine. Nice place though…

Price not disclosed

Since you’ve made it this far, here’s a dream house from the Vault:

13 Creswick Street, East Brighton, Victoria

Have you ever visited the neighbors, sat with them, shared a meal and listened as they invited you not only into their home but into their world with stories of their family, their hopes, their dreams, fears and worries?

Have you ever participated in a human exchange with your neighbor so profound that it touched you deep inside and made you feel that the sheer likelihood of you living randomly next to them was not simply luck or chance, but could only be fate, fate or come through the orchestration of a divine being?

You’ve come out of such a deep interaction before and thought, “I’m going to buy their house, slumber their memories, and make this my garage.”

That’s what the owner of this Brighton East property did. Took his neighbour’s house – a house that likely played host to scenes such as a young couple excitedly bringing their first newborn baby home from the hospital; a family’s last special Christmas lunch with a loved one; a father comforting his daughter as her world crumbles after her first high school romance broke down and the first grandchild was welcomed into the fold – and used it as a place for his cars to drain.


Price not disclosed

Originally published as Dream Homes: Life at the top isn’t carefree

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