In a recent feature, the Wall Street Journal does what the Journal does best: outline with painful sincerity the ridiculous lifestyles of the ridiculously rich. They've done closets, water features, basements, and teen rooms, so the editors must have figured, now that spring is nigh, it's time for a bit o' the outdoors ... kinda. Its tell-all about greenhouses explores the fact that America's elite have appropriated the glasshouse, not for growing a halfway decent avocado outside of California, but for soaking in hydrotherapy pools ensconced with a "small jungle of orchids" and listening to Bach. Here now, the 13 best lines:
13. Separating the Blanksteens and their pool from the freezing weather was a 616-square-foot, all-glass structure with slate floors and space for a dining table that can seat 20.
12. Soon, they will be sharing the space with a small jungle of orchids and fresh herbs.
11. So far the costs have totaled about $250,000; the couple plans to begin displaying plants in it in a few months.
Photo by Daniel Hjalmarson via Shutterstock
10. "We used to sell a lot of greenhouses to the average homeowner, but over the last 40 years, that has changed," says William Orange, president of High Falls, N.Y.-based Under Glass Manufacturing. "It's only people with a lot of money who are building greenhouses."
9. His company's average project is a custom greenhouse costing closer to $100,000.
8. "I've tried vacations, but they don't work as well for me as days in the greenhouse," he says, explaining that he often spends his days in his greenhouse and his nights in his conservatory.
7. The conservatory cost about $100,000; the greenhouse will cost about $200,000 when it is done.
6. The wing to the right contains the orchid collection. To the left is the "tropical room," with a koi pond and a ceramic fountain. The ferns and succulents are "a collection that would make Dr. Seuss feel right at home," explains the room's designer.
5. "It's like a chandelier at night when it's lit up."
4. So, [contractor] Mr. [Gary] Brandl and his crew terraced the drop-off and created a level site for the roughly 1,200-square foot structure, which has a center room and two wings.
3. The two rooms have different climate zones, and both have radiant heating.
2. Altogether, he estimates the project cost about $500,000 when it was completed about 15 years ago.
1. Mr. Bertelsen, whose favorite plant in his collection is the Agave attenuate "variegata" (or variegated fox tail agave), likes to listen to Bach while reading in the conservatory.