We’re so Bohemian.

The Toronto Star has an article about a condo development called the Bohemian Embassy – a name that was originally used for a series of literary / cultural coffee houses run by Don Cullen. Cullen is unhappy with their use of the name and talks about his first visit to the site:

There was no one to talk to and no literature available, but clearly someone was trying to “brand” their development with a name that sounded suitably hip. The trouble is, I invented that “brand” and the last thing it represented was culture-free, cookie-cutter condos.

Now being so very west-coast, I initally thought they were refering to bohemia townhomes in Vancouver, another development with granite countertops and sisal carpets that seems very un-bohemian.. or is it? Here’s the wikipedia definition of bohemianism:

The bohemian lifestyle is often associated with cafés, coffeehouses, drug use (particularly opium, the “dark idol”), alcoholism, and absinthe (nicknamed the “green fairy”). Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or antiestablishment political or social viewpoints, which were expressed through extramarital sexual relations and voluntary poverty.

Ok, so maybe I’m wrong. Some of this sounds pretty Vancouverish: the coffee shops, drug use and particularly the ‘voluntary poverty’ bit about buying RE right now – but why so shiny? If we’re going to glom onto the ‘bohemian’ concept it seems like developers could save a lot of money by skipping the clean new materials and simply throwing some absinthe in as a perk.

I think I have just the example too: remember that old porn theater in the downtown east side that is slated to become condos? Why bother with conversion when you could simply throw some old blankets over the seats and live in a true bohemian style. The Venus theater could become ‘The Intra-Venus’ a condo development like no other!

Now pass me that bottle and contract, I’ve got some investing to do!

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patiently waiting
patiently waiting
13 years ago

As for my strategy, it may be to wait until large numbers of empty nest baby boomers start selling off SFHs to pay for their retirement. By that time, they should flood an already depressed real estate market. Otherwise, if I can't wait for that, I'll have to buy a condo (I'll be super picky though).

patiently waiting
patiently waiting
13 years ago

I meant to say own ONE, as in a condo. I'd prefer a SFH or freehold townhouse.

Alpha_Bear
Alpha_Bear
13 years ago

"I'd like to avoid having to own to get on the property ladder."1. ?2. You could rent, if you don't want to own.3. I'd like to avoid having to work to support myself, but I can't seem to make it work. Any suggestions? Good luck with your desire to get on the property ladder without owning any property.4. Perhaps you made a small typo, and meant to say that you'd rather not own a condo to get on the property ladder. If that's the case, I see several alternatives:A. Wait a few years, and buy a SFH for half what you'd pay today.B. Take out a 40-year "liars loan" mortgage. Negotiate a "cash-back" deal with the seller and realtors, and use it to pay down the principal for the first few years, and then declare bankruptcy when your equity is… Read more »

loki
loki
13 years ago

I'm no bohemian, but I do like Absinthe – goes great with orange juice!

patiently waiting
patiently waiting
13 years ago

OK I confess, I've started to like sushi. I'm on a bit of a health kick and it seems relatively good for you. If I have too eat out, it can be inexpensive. I'm too cheap to buy any of the designer heated drinks, especially Starbucks swill. I drink the free coffee my employer provides.Condos are a brutal reality for most young Vancouverites. I'd like to avoid having to own to get on the property ladder.I simply can't imagine ever buying anything like a Beemer, even if I could afford. Again, I'm too cheap. I'm perfectly happy with my 2001 Nissan.

Paul
Paul
13 years ago

I am not into the calorie overloaded creations but they make a great americano.

dingus
dingus
13 years ago

"I handy trick for the er.. ehm.. genitally challenged. "Y'know, it never would have occurred to me…

betamax
betamax
13 years ago

I used to think that Starbucks coffee tastes overly strong so that repeat customers will buy $4 lattes instead of $1.75 coffees; but some people who drink it often say that it's an acquired taste: i.e. the body tells the tastebuds that the caffeine delivery-system tastes good. Starbucks lattes and cappuccinos taste good and I'll indulge on rare occasions, but for some it's all about branding, branding, and branding. Designer drinks for those who need to conspicuously consume in all things, even coffee.On the other hand, self-styled Bohemians who disdain Starbucks for Euro-trash baristas are just as pretentious in their own fashion.

loki
loki
13 years ago

where "small" and "tall" are synonymsI handy trick for the er.. ehm.. genitally challenged. Its not small it's tall!

dingus
dingus
13 years ago

"One of these days I'll understand why Starbucks is so popular. I think the coffee tastes like burnt sewer water"Hear hear. Totally overroasted. That harsh burnt taste is supposed to make you think it's rich tasting, but it just assaults the taste buds. Makes my mouth feel like I've just eaten a Craven A. Also, the bewildering feature-itis of tailoring a hot beverage to your oh-so sophisticated pallet bugs me. I bought a small ("tall" in Starbucks-lingo, where "small" and "tall" are synonyms) coffee the other day, and the woman in front of me rattled off this wackadoo order, like a 'Venti grande low fat half caf chai carmel choccacino no foam with sprinkles' or some such. I don't have enough short term memory to relate an order that specific about anything. (And why a Venti half caf? Why not… Read more »

Warren
Warren
13 years ago

I like Starbucks.BMW I could take or leave. If I was in a position to spend that kind of money on a vehicle it probably wouldn't be a BMW.Sushi is alright. My girlfriend loves it which means I eat it on a somewhat regular basis.I think car companies have perfected advertising/brainwashing, and now real estate is catching on. Unfortunately these are the two most expensive purchases in a person's life, and can have life altering consequences.If I drop my $4 latte on my $10 jeans, its not so bad.

loki
loki
13 years ago

how much of todays real estate prices are tied up in marketing?I work in advertising and I don't think its enough to account for a very large portion of the cost of a new condo, certainly it is a factor but a developer will always choose to pocket the extra money rather than overspend on advertising.I do think there's another type of marketing thats helped to drive prices up: All the home-focused tv shows and magazines help to make real estate 'cool' which will always get more money than a 'sensible investment'. I wonder how much new demand has been fueled by the flipping & reno-porn shows where you can see a wreck turned into a nice looking house in a half hour (as if its that easy).

loki
loki
13 years ago

Solipsist: Canada's New GovernmentOT: did you hear about the only firing of a scientist emeritus for not using that term in all correspondence? It was a bit of an embarrasement and he was pretty much immediately rehired. They printed the correspondence in Harpers a few months ago – very entertaining.Reductimat: yes, I agree. I'm not a fan of starbucks either (I like CuppaJoe), but I know that all types of people go there. I havent ever met a real person that 100% fit into any of these labels we give groups: yuppy, hippy, conservative, liberal, etc.Is Paul the only one who will admit to liking starbucks here? I guess all the others are over on Robs blog.

ReductiMat
ReductiMat
13 years ago

So then we can agree that branding all those who fall into that category as vain, narcissistic sycophant's is a touch prejudiced?Excellent.PS: I can't stand StarBucks either.

bc_cele
bc_cele
13 years ago

solipsist said… Oh, so much, I'm sure. I have Nothing wrong with BMW, condo's, sushi (well…), just icons for what's wrong for certain people. The 2002 was a cool car (if a bit of a piece of junk), and sushi is one of my favourite feeds. It's healthy eating too (other than the concentrated pollutants like dioxin). Starbucks has insipid espresso, and gooey, milky psuedo coffees, but that is just a matter of taste too. Any perceived detestation is regretted. One of these days I'll understand why Starbucks is so popular. I think the coffee tastes like burnt sewer water. Let me rephrase that 'the stuff on the menu that would actually qualify as coffee…'. Most of what they sell is a sickening melange of mostly sugar with just enough coffee in it to pass labeling laws. Of course, this… Read more »

solipsist
solipsist
13 years ago

Which begs the question: how much of todays real estate prices are tied up in marketing?Oh, so much, I'm sure. I have written elsewhere about marketing, and how there are whole departments in universities dedicated to marketing psychology. It is very difficult not to be seduced by it – even if your shields are up.I will go into it further over at my place when I can tear myself away from Lithuanian Idol 2007 (season 46 – brought to you by Cialis, Ford, REBGV, Bobby Brainray, Canada's New Government, Molson Breweries,Kia Motors, Toyota, Pfizer, Glaxo-Smith-Klein, GM, Century 21, Grey Power, Burger King, etc.)Nothing wrong with BMW, condo's, sushi (well…), just icons for what's wrong for certain people. The 2002 was a cool car (if a bit of a piece of junk), and sushi is one of my favourite feeds. It's… Read more »

digi
digi
13 years ago

I love sushi, but can't see paying the premium for a BMW and I think <a rhef="http://www.diabolicalplan.com/2006/07/my-problem-with-starbucks.html">Starbucks has weak watery espresso.Condo's make a lot of sense in a city, but I'm not going to buy the cow when I can rent it for half the price.

patiently waiting
patiently waiting
13 years ago

My point wasn't about hating anyone. Its just that lifestyle is nothing close to Bohemian. Perhaps it should be just the marketers who irritate me, like digi suggests.

ReductiMat
ReductiMat
13 years ago

Can someone fill me in on why we detest all people who drive BMW's, live in a condo and eat sushi?

Paul
Paul
13 years ago

I love BMW's Starbucks and Sushi! …….runs for cover

digi
digi
13 years ago

I thought being the establishment was sort of the whole yuppie goal? I think the 'bohemian' thing is just an extension of marketed rebellion.Which begs the question: how much of todays real estate prices are tied up in marketing? It seems to me that 'marketing' has nothing really fundamental to do with having a place to live and if that portion of condo prices were to suddenly dissappear it would account for a large price drop right there.

patiently waiting
patiently waiting
13 years ago

I thought the old Kits of my parents days died sometime back in the 80s.Condo-dwelling, Starbucks-drinking, sushi-eating, Beemer-driving yuppies are the polar opposite of Bohemians. They are the establishment…and don't know it, apparently.

solipsist
solipsist
13 years ago

The Bohemian Embassy was a truly cool scene in Kitsilano, on W. 4th (around Pine) if memory serves. It dates back to the hippy days in Kits – before it became what it is now. Sometime around 1992 Kits changed drastically, and for the worse (IMHO). BMW's, Starbucks, etc.