Beverly Hills, 90210

I went out for a walk this evening, and instead of taking my usual route down Santa Monica Boulevard I opted to see how the other half top one percent lived by crossing into Beverly Hills. Initially I was only moderately impressed: the houses I saw were lovely and sprawling, but with their single-story construction and compact backyards they seemed almost modest.

As I continued deeper into the neighborhood, though, the houses got more and more grand: an exquisite fountain here, a glimpse of a gated courtyard there, and–holy crap, is that a tennis court, golf practice area, and a massive swimming pool? Half the houses looked like southern plantation homes (except much, much bigger), while the other half resembled French chateaus. One stunner had a million Coldwell Banker flags out front–a curious site in a neighborhood where the houses for sale usually have a small, unintrusive Sotheby’s sign tucked neatly in some shrubbery–and I vowed to look it up when I got home.

Whoa. A six-bedroom, eight-bath mansion (no “Mc” here, it’s a friggin’ mansion) for a cool $9.5mil. Which makes it among the cheapest of Coldwell Banker’s Beverly Hills listing sright now. So now I’m trying to decide: in the fictional world where I’m a multimillionaire, would I rather have a giant, ornate house with a huge yard and pool, or just buy a cozy PacHeights home?

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