Fantasy Real Estate: Questions I Have About the Homes in Big Little Lies

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: HBO)

Have you caught up on Big Little Lies, the seven-part HBO miniseries everyone from your mom to your hair stylist is talking about? The one starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley, even though she seems a little too young to play the mother of a first grader? If so, let’s dish, and if not, maybe bookmark this for later – this contains mild spoilers.

We’ve seen a ton of think pieces about what Big Little Lies means for feminism and motherhood and a bunch of other important things, and you should definitely go read those if you haven’t. That said, I am here to speculate on a way less important but still curious issue this show fails to address, and that is one of real estate.

Real talk: Everyone in the series has a gorgeous home in Monterey, and most of them also have a spectacular view overlooking the ocean.

How is this possible? Do only these six families live on the beach? How did Celeste manage to fork over a down payment on a beach-facing apartment without her super creepy and overbearing husband noticing that check clearing from what is almost certainly a joint checking account?

(Image credit: HBO)

Even though Jane’s house is more modest, what’s she paying to live in this super great school district, despite being a part-time bookkeeper and a single mom, with zero partner support? And finally, why does almost every single character look so sad as their beautiful, symmetrical faces gaze out of the windows of their gorgeous houses?

At one point Laura Dern’s character makes mention of a recent remodel, which apparently resulted in floor-to-ceiling windows that face – guess what? – the dang Pacific. What was the final tally on that project, and what was wrong with the windows they had originally? Did they not have enough expensive, glass or did they maybe not allow for a nearly-complete 360 view even though that’s maybe impractical and ill-advised? People in glass houses, man. Soooo many stones being thrown in this show.

(Image credit: HBO)

Side note: Those oceanside cliffs seem super dangerous. Why do all these families want to raise their tiny children so very close to them?

Per a Vulture piece about what the show gets right and wrong about real-life Monterey, the area’s not as ritzy as Big Little Lies might lead us to believe. It’s less super-rich tech couples with competitive pre-school wait lists and more “old folks living on expensive lots they are clinging to because their property taxes are frozen by Proposition 13 so long as they don’t sell.”

(Image credit: HBO)

Vulture had a second piece that shared the costs of the actual houses used in production, but it turns out only one of them was in Monterey (the rest were in Malibu or Pasadena). The Monterey one, Celeste and Perry’s house, cost $6 million. According to Zillow, the median home value in Monterey is $732,900.

That beachfront property value will get you every time, I guess.