The Housewives of the North Pole: interior decorating reality show

Winter is still months away, but in midtown Manhattan there is a different kind of current event: the Housewives of the North Pole. Hailing from Wisconsin, where the temperature ranges from -9 degrees to the mid-teens, the winter girls of their house have become accustomed to things being either unreal or frigid.

“Extremely cold,” said Chad, as a single flake dropped off the roof. Though their house in the Exxon section of Manhattan is located a couple of blocks from the runways at Fashion Week, their residence has the feeling of a middle-school field trip. Except their mansion might actually have a living room, and a large porch, and a gas fireplace, and even a jacuzzi in the basement.

“Everything goes back to the central heating. That’s where I teach my kids to be careful with hot liquids,” said Ann, a schoolteacher and home schooler. There are three bedrooms; they are divided by alloys of floor to ceiling windows, which permits a level of privacy that most people would see as blatant luxury but perhaps not to the 31-year-old Candice.

“Not only do they have the fire in the fire pit, which is truly spectacular, but all four of them share the bathtub,” she said. What about the fact that the men in this house are not as hot as the women? “There are four women in this house, but we all just kind of regulate our own temperature. So all of us are a little different.”

It turns out that this body of interior decorating characters comes from a series of job postings by a mansion’s tenant. Inspired by the trend for all-inclusives, the owner of the building directed the contractors to handle the whole house. They enlisted at least one of the ladies in order to keep the rental home feeling like a home rather than a rental house. Now, the group really is a family, with brother and sister, parents and even an uncle.

“It’s an extreme beach house, but it’s got a beachy charm that is just extraordinary,” said Brooke, a real estate attorney who travels with her sister to Martha’s Vineyard. But even more amazing than their homes, they said, is the sense of community. “If we have any problems, it’s just us talking to each other, not the next day or even yesterday,” said Kendall, whose daughter began attending a school in the area.

In a sense, the Housewives of the North Pole seem to be the quintessential Manhattanites, with the added luxury of going north every now and then. The family decorates for the holidays, re-enacts Christmas carols and creates their own homages to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The daughter thought a snowman hanging on a tree in the basement should be named Santa K. Little Sparrow. “I love the song,” said Kendall, “and the way it made me remember one day being so awkward.”

These three girls will actually have to settle for being the original Olympic gymnasts at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. What will their friends think about that? “Oh, we’ll be there for Christmas break,” said Brooke. “So they can see, and we’ll be, like, washing paintbrushes.”

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