There’s keeping up with the Joneses, and then there’s rubbing it in the Jones’s faces. Some people might do home renovations simply to enjoy their home more, but not Debbi Marco, a British woman who poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into her house just to make the neighbours jealous.
“My husband Matt, 32, a sports sponsorship manager, and I have spent the past four years pouring all of our savings into making sure ours is the best house on our street – because I wanted ours to be one that people stopped, stared and pointed at, for all the right reasons,” Marco writes in the Daily Mail newspaper.
The couple, who live in Surrey, spent £189,000, or just over $300,000, on the renovations, “but it’s been worth it just to see the look on our neighbours’ faces,” Marco writes.
Clearly, this is someone with a heavy case of status anxiety. “Secretly, I couldn’t bear to be the anonymous owner of a distinctly average property, indistinguishable from the rest. I wanted to live in the most-talked about house in the area,” she says of looking for a home.
It may be rare to admit it in print, but Marco is not alone in wanting to spruce up a place to make everyone else in the neighbourhood envious. She cites a recent survey that found 31 per cent of Brits admit to doing the same.
The year-long renovation, which included adding new walls, a new roof and a two-storey extension to the back of the house, ate up the couple’s savings, but it’s been worth it to see how frustrated it makes everyone else who lives nearby.
Marco says she gives tours to anyone who asks to look inside, and even likes to “turn on the lights and leave the curtains open at night just so our neighbours could get a glimpse into our fabulous home.”