Vienna’s Upsizing Issue

Connor Foote, Editor-in-Chief

The best way to describe it would be cavernous. The house, like so many others of its kind in this area, is massively oversized and overbearing, the two lots it takes up straining under the semi-modern-style mansion’s weight. It is by far the most despised house on my street. The monstrosity has been in perpetual building for longer than a year, the ladder-adorned white vans and small CAT bulldozer assimilated into the other cars parked by residents. While researching for this article, I looked inside of the house to explore and estimate if it would be finished before I ship off to college. The answer I received was a resounding “NO.”

While the exterior is largely finished, it’s emptier than Shroedinger’s box inside. Aside from a few kitchen cabinets and very rough markups for where its furnishings will go, the house is largely shell. As of recent, these colossuses seem to be the trend.

50 years ago, Vienna was a quaint little town on the outskirts of the large DC suburbs. Populated with one-story homes, the tree-lined streets and picturesque lawns made for warm and loving neighborhoods. Cut to today, and many, if not most, of those old houses are gone. They are dead and buried, their freshly-sodded plots ripe to be dug up again for heated pools. Mannix Carew (’26) has seen this trend firsthand living across from one of these mansions.

“My first reaction was surprise that they were suddenly tearing down these lots that have been there as long as I’ve lived in Vienna,” Carew said. “My second reaction was ‘wow, that’s massive.’”

Americans are obsessed with “keeping up with the Joneses,” adding on bit by bit in a never-ending effort to one-up their peers. Next-door neighbors put in a hedge? Let’s terrace the garden! While trying to improve, we often lose sight of the real worth in our actions. At risk of sounding nostalgic for days I never lived in, products used to be designed for use at length, not for scheduled obsolescence. Instead of full services, the marketplace is now saturated with more things containing less value. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Vienna has a problem with breaking things just to fix them up again.

Is it now sinful to be content? Can we not be satisfied with what we have when what we have is enough, instead of pushing for more and more? Two homes used to sit down the street, lovingly tenanted. No one lives there now, and I can only hope that the monolith’s future residents recognize that their house is built on a burial ground.