By Hannah Ajala
As an ambitious young girl I imagined my dream home: a large, glamorous house for raising a sizeable family on a quiet and immaculate street. There would be identical front gardens with white picket fences and freshly cut grass edged with colourful blooms.
The closest I have found to this fantasy setting so far is Wisteria Lane.
This pristine street is home to the characters of Desperate Housewives, a US comedy-drama television series that aired between 2004 and 2012 bringing with it many twists, turns and dark secrets among the perfectly kept houses. Despite the domestic turmoil behind closed doors, the residents of the fictional town of Fairview keep up appearances and this kind of suburbia oddly appeals to me: neighbours who keep to themselves and maintain respectability regardless of the issues they are facing.
Off screen, Wisteria Lane is a set on a backlot at California's Universal Studios Lot known as Colonial Street, which has featured in numerous productions including the 1989 Tom Hanks film The ’Burbs. In Desperate Housewives, each resident of the street takes the utmost pride in ensuring their home is distinctive from the others, whether that is with bold, colourful facades or a beautiful porch perfect for coffee and chat.
My favourite home is that of the character Gabrielle Solis, an extravagant model turned housewife played by Eva Longoria, who lives with her husband Carlos and later, two daughters. Stylish and cosy, with a grand dining table and chairs perfect for dinner parties, the yellow house has a comfy living room for family movie nights (not that you would catch glamorous Gabrielle lounging about). There is also plenty of space for my yoga sessions (a pastime I share with Gabrielle) during breaks while working from home.
The Solis family’s love of the luxurious continues outside: a swimming pool and hot tub are to be found in the backyard, which is tended by a gardener (involved in one of those many secrets).
Around 20 miles to the west of Universal Studios, in the mountainous yet calm city of Calabasas, this real life mansion, on the market for $13m, reminds me of the Solis pad. Its Mediterranean-style architecture seems to me as perfect for Gabrielle, who incorporates Mediterranean-style colours and furnishings in her interior decor, as it is for me. With six bedrooms among its nearly 10,000 sq ft of living space, the house is giant and dazzling, and has a large kitchen for cooking up the occasional storm and hosting the gatherings of friends and family.
For a slightly less expensive home similar to Gabrielle’s, I would plump for this $5.5m five-bedroom house, also in Calabasas. It not only offers a 1,000 bottle wine room (handy for extravagant parties à la Gabrielle), but has space for the large family I hope one day to have and gorgeous Californian mountain views.
Some might consider aspiring to live in such homes to be brash or ostentatious. I see it as reflecting the life goals of the hard-working and motivated woman that I am. It is only right to have my successes reflected in a place I get to call home. One day!
Photography: Alamy; Getty Images; Frontgate Real Estate/Leverage; Gavin Cator/Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices