Apparently This Matters: Hot tub time

The point of no return: Once there's a huge hole in your living room, might as well drop a hot tub into it.

Story highlights

  • Apparently This Matters is CNN Tech's weekly, off-beat look at topics trending on social media
  • This week, Jarrett ponders the tale of a man who turned his living room into a bachelor pad
  • Jarrett almost did that once. Emphasis on "almost." And "once"
  • Matthew Cole now lives with his wife but rents out his former hot-tubbed abode

A few years ago, I decided to install hardwood flooring in my master bedroom. Up until that point, my proudest home improvement moment had been buying a doorstop. Thus, as I began ripping out the old carpet, Vegas put me down at 2 to 1 to eventually lose a limb and/or burn down the neighborhood.

There was also a prop bet going that I would somehow wipe out an entire species.

"Er, sorry about the wolves."

Amazingly, over the course of one entire horrible weekend, I managed to do a fairly decent job. The hardwoods looked great, but when I was all done, I swore I would never attempt anything ever again.

Literally anything.

I even began to question the value of life. Then I remembered there's beef jerky. And, once again, a man was saved by the promise of dry meat.

But this week, when Reddit led me to a popular imgur gallery titled Hot Tub Project, I found myself completely re-inspired by the possibilities of home improvement.

"Apparently This Matters" Is Jarrett Bellini's weekly (and somewhat random) look at social-media trends.

Back in 2003, a guy in Colorado named Matthew Cole cut out a giant square hole in his living room floor, sunk in a hot tub and turned his modest bachelor pad into a magnificent poor man's grotto. Suddenly, it had all the fun of the Playboy mansion, but ... you know ... without all the fun of the Playboy mansion.

Cole prefaced his gallery by writing: "First house as a single guy...this is what happened when I got tired of the carpet. It escalated quickly!"

You really need to look at all the photos to appreciate the scope of the project. For starters, as was mentioned, it required cutting out a huge chunk of the floor. Generally speaking, I recommend this only if you're trying to hide a body in the crawl space or, perhaps, if one particular room has been unjust and you simply seek revenge.

"Ha! Take that! Now you have a hole!"

(Anthropomorphism is a big deal in my house. I'm currently feuding with the microwave.)

Of course, once Cole cut this hole in his floor, there was really no turning back. Supports were installed along the edges, slate tile was laid around it for a stylish new look, and the fireplace was resurfaced with matching stone. Just as he said, this became a classic example of project escalation -- like when you go to hang a mirror and end up buying a boat.

Worst. IKEA trip. Ever.

On a slightly smaller scale, I once went to change a single light in my kitchen and ended up replacing literally every bulb in the house with brand new LEDs. As I stood in the lighting section of Home Depot, I thought, "Well, these are outrageously expensive and completely unnecessary. I'll take 50."

So I can definitely appreciate how Cole's project kept getting bigger, though his room was definitely starting to look nice. Once the tub was carefully lowered into the hole, it was neatly topped by an area rug, and a TV was shoved into the fireplace hole. (Is that redundant? Fireplace hole?)

At last, the final product. In a house where Cole, no longer a bachelor, no longer lives.

Finally, he added a few plants and candles, and that was that. Time for a soak! You can open up all the windows. The air is cold. The tub is boiling hot. It's like Sweden, man. Sweeeeeden!

In all, Cole estimates that the project cost him $12,000 to $15,000, and he maintains that there's no chemical smell, no mold and absolutely no issues with structural integrity. However, he failed to share data on how many people have now secretly relieved themselves in the middle of his living room.

Most people deny doing this. I don't. If I'm in a fairly large body of water and I've had my requisite 300 ounces of Diet Coke for the day, things are probably going to get warm.

Not surprisingly, when Cole posted the gallery link on Reddit, it was an immediate hit. Readers were fascinated by the details of the project; however, more than a few people also challenged him on all the potential problems with his design. He was a little shocked by the response but seemed to handle all the criticisms like a champ, for one does not simply drop a hot tub in the living room.

Today, Cole and his wife live in Virginia, and he rents out the house in Colorado to people who are treating his old Zen space with the reverence it deserves. He told me, "I've heard one story about a cannonball into the hot tub, and I know it's been the demise of at least one iPhone."

Good! The iPhone probably deserved it. I know mine does. It's in cahoots with the microwave.

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