Nov 3, 2023

Two Kitchens, One Mansion: What’s a Megalomaniac to Do?

Some thoughts on accessorizing your castle

By Ed Goldman

My OSSO (oh-so-significant-other) loves reading the weekly Wall Street Journal supplement “Mansion,” which I save for her every Friday since I’m the dude with the daily subscription. 

If you must know, I also save her the New York Times, another of my daily subscriptions, every Sunday. This is so she doesn’t have to engage in armed combat with a fellow NYT fan as they both try to buy the sole remaining copy at a nearby pharmacy. In senior citizen circles, these acts make me a rad boyfriend.

Edgy Cartoon

A brunch too far

For me, reading “Mansion” is akin to reading science fiction. It features worlds I’ll never live in (the Hamptons, Beverly Hills, Dubai) and extraterrestrials who make more money while they sleep than I would if I suffered from insomnia for the next 375 years.

The excesses of the homes for sale in “Mansion” verge on the comical for me, with their 12-car garages, multiple infinity pools, and, possibly, infinity itself. But the least obnoxious luxury is also the one I least understand: two kitchens.

Naturally, in a 20,000-square-foot home, you’re bound to have some duplication and errors (like purchasing 16 bidets but only having 14 bathrooms). Still, why would anyone need more than one kitchen?

I suppose if your place is so large it has distant wings that may require sustenance to reach—“Pack me a sandwich, Jeeves, I’m heading to the mother-in-law cottage”—it would make sense to have an auxiliary salad bar enroute. Or at least a Starbucks or two. 

But an entire other kitchen? Even the great restaurants in New York and Paris manage to get by with only one food prep station and a lean but loyal cadre of rats.

To be fair, though, these eateries rarely have overnight guests, except that cadre of rats, who may get the munchies at all hours of the night, which is likely to happen in a mansion. So what’s wrong with just having a convenient vending machine in the hallway or a tiny hotel fridge in the room, with midget vodka bottles and $30 Kit Kat bars?

A few years ago, I researched and wrote a book on J. Paul Getty under contract to Random House. In looking into the life of this prolifically-married oil magnate (and to his family, an all-around scheisskopf—don’t forget, he refused to pay the ransom for his kidnaped grandson until after the kidnapers sent part of the young man’s ear to Getty as a greeting card and it made national news), I learned that his own home, just outside London, included bars on the windows, a lion that roamed the grounds for added security and (here’s the payoff) a payphone for his overnight guests. I never found out if he charged for the bedtime pillow mints.

Why would you need two kitchens? I suppose if the home is so large it has two zip codes, it would be more convenient to site a kitchen in each one. This would also aid in portion control since it would prevent guests from being ravenous by the time they walked from their bedroom to breakfast. It might even make them feel like lumberjacks, whose workdays can be so strenuous they can eat pancakes, waffles, eggs, potatoes, sausages and toast at 6 a.m. and still looked stylishly svelte in their flannel shirts by dinner time. 

Looking for a Great Gift?

But your guests are not lumberjacks—and they’re probably into walking, jogging, extreme Frisbee or positively-severe pickleball. So why make it easier on them by sticking their own kitchen a few hundred yards from their bedroom?

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Why not also design your mansion with two gyms, two lap pools and a half-dozen cardio machines sprinkled throughout the floorplan? And if I’m going to be staying there, how about hiring an EMT for each quadrant of your home? I’m told they’re easier to care for than lions.

Don’t forget! A new Goldman State Podcast drops every Friday!


Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).