Author Topic: McMansion comedy / tragedy  (Read 71700 times)

Fomerly known as something

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #100 on: September 01, 2016, 10:49:27 AM »
[img][/img
My neighborhood has a lot of fix-and-flipped houses, of varying quality. They're generally too small to be McMansions, but some of the same issues apply. One of the most egregious I've seen is the "craftsman" bungalow (that was probably originally an American Small House) with the prefab square tapered columns on the porch installed upside-down ( \/ instead of /\ ).
Which slid? I couldnt see what you are talkihg about.

The PDF linked was just a reference about WTF an "American Small House" is, since it's not a well-known thing.

I don't have a picture of the house with the upside-down columns. (I also can't remember exactly where the house in question is, so I can't look it up on Street View. Next time I drive by it I'll try to take a picture to post, though.)

I really like the Craftsman style, and if I were building a house that's what I would build. 

However, I have no idea if people consider these McMansions or not; in my town LOTS of people tear down smaller, older homes and build these on small lots, as shown below.  Ordinarily, people see big house + small lot as McMansion; I see it as building a desirable house in a desirable location (which has small lots just because that's how the area is) with not much ground to maintain.  McMansion?  Not McMansion?  No idea. 

But if I had the cash (this one is $750k) this is exactly the kind of house I would want.

(image removed to save space)

I like the Craftsman style too, as long as you don't screw it up. The house pictured there would be reasonably good, if you chopped the garage off. (Craftsman houses never have attached garages; if you really want to park cars inside build a detached carriage house instead. Or at least make it side-facing or at basement level or something!) I also have slight objections to the small hip roof and windows above the front door and the oversized bracing on the gables, but those are minor compared to the evil front-facing garage.

I think these new builds would meet your approval.  The middle is mine from 3 years ago the landscaping has changed/grown in.  Oh lot is 40x110 2 car detached garage that is 20ft or so from the back door so no scraping snow off the car.



« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 11:53:17 AM by neverrun »

Jack

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #101 on: September 01, 2016, 11:27:03 AM »
I like the Craftsman style too, as long as you don't screw it up. The house pictured there would be reasonably good, if you chopped the garage off. (Craftsman houses never have attached garages; if you really want to park cars inside build a detached carriage house instead. Or at least make it side-facing or at basement level or something!) I also have slight objections to the small hip roof and windows above the front door and the oversized bracing on the gables, but those are minor compared to the evil front-facing garage.

I think these new builds would meet your approval.  The middle is mine from 3 years ago the landscaping has changed/grown in.

Sort of, but not really. I agree that the detached garages placed in the back yard are a vast improvement compared to what would have happened if they had been front-facing attached ones instead.

However, those houses are clearly speculative construction built as cheaply as possible with little thought given to design. You can tell by the fact that they are nothing more than rectangular prisms with porches tacked on (which is optimal for energy efficiency but pessimal for architectural interest) and have basically the minimum number of windows required by code (especially on the sides). Hell, with the one on the left the builder couldn't even be bothered to even pretend the fireplace deserved a chimney!

Also, they are definitely not of the craftsman style. First of all, the eaves are not wide enough and the rafters are covered by fascia rather than left exposed (the roof is totally colonial except for the brackets). More importantly, though, real craftsman houses are never plainly two-stories like that. If they have a second floor at all, it would be tucked under the slope of the roof (as in a "1-1/2 story" house) or at least the outer wall would be set back relative to the outer wall of the first story. (See this page for reference.)

Sorry to diss your house like that -- I'm sure it's very nice, and there's nothing really "wrong" with it considered in it's own context. But that sort of house is kind of a pet peeve of mine because they appear as in-fill construction in the old neighborhoods around here and clash horribly with the actual (single story) craftsman cottages and bungalows they abut.

MudDuck

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #102 on: September 01, 2016, 11:47:42 AM »

I also get distracted when talking about architectural standards, I have many anecdotes.

Share, please? Many of us are nerds, some of us are in construction related industries, and we all love tales of failure.

TGS, you crack me up! I agree, though, as I, too am a nerd in a construction-related industry. A good fail on someone else's part is always entertaining.

TexasRunner

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #103 on: September 01, 2016, 11:53:55 AM »
New posts are up.  Absolutely HILARIOUS!

VaCPA

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #104 on: September 01, 2016, 12:31:16 PM »
I like the Craftsman style too, as long as you don't screw it up. The house pictured there would be reasonably good, if you chopped the garage off. (Craftsman houses never have attached garages; if you really want to park cars inside build a detached carriage house instead. Or at least make it side-facing or at basement level or something!) I also have slight objections to the small hip roof and windows above the front door and the oversized bracing on the gables, but those are minor compared to the evil front-facing garage.

I think these new builds would meet your approval.  The middle is mine from 3 years ago the landscaping has changed/grown in.

Sort of, but not really. I agree that the detached garages placed in the back yard are a vast improvement compared to what would have happened if they had been front-facing attached ones instead.

However, those houses are clearly speculative construction built as cheaply as possible with little thought given to design. You can tell by the fact that they are nothing more than rectangular prisms with porches tacked on (which is optimal for energy efficiency but pessimal for architectural interest) and have basically the minimum number of windows required by code (especially on the sides). Hell, with the one on the left the builder couldn't even be bothered to even pretend the fireplace deserved a chimney!

Also, they are definitely not of the craftsman style. First of all, the eaves are not wide enough and the rafters are covered by fascia rather than left exposed (the roof is totally colonial except for the brackets). More importantly, though, real craftsman houses are never plainly two-stories like that. If they have a second floor at all, it would be tucked under the slope of the roof (as in a "1-1/2 story" house) or at least the outer wall would be set back relative to the outer wall of the first story. (See this page for reference.)

Sorry to diss your house like that -- I'm sure it's very nice, and there's nothing really "wrong" with it considered in it's own context. But that sort of house is kind of a pet peeve of mine because they appear as in-fill construction in the old neighborhoods around here and clash horribly with the actual (single story) craftsman cottages and bungalows they abut.

Would you want more windows on the side of the house, considering you'd basically just be staring directly into your neighbor's house. Way too close together

TexasRunner

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #105 on: September 01, 2016, 12:37:06 PM »
Would you want more windows on the side of the house, considering you'd basically just be staring directly into your neighbor's house. Way too close together

Part of the McMansion type is that they are houses WAY to big for lots that are way too small.  If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...

No Name Guy

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #106 on: September 01, 2016, 01:03:18 PM »
Ahhhh the hilarity. 

A great thread about mocking craptacular McMansions turns into an architect snob fest........

infogoon

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #107 on: September 01, 2016, 01:39:39 PM »
I always enjoy the infill development projects; there are a couple of streets here where there have been multiple passes at it, so the same street will have a cluster of the original stick-frame houses from 1910 or so, then a block of 1950s duplexes, then some 1970s split-levels, then an "apartment building" from the mid-80s that looks like a cheap motel, and then maybe a couple of ugly new builds with tiny front porches.

MilesTeg

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #108 on: September 01, 2016, 01:45:52 PM »
Would you want more windows on the side of the house, considering you'd basically just be staring directly into your neighbor's house. Way too close together

Part of the McMansion type is that they are houses WAY to big for lots that are way too small.  If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...

Sadly, most new development in cities is only lots that are tiny no matter what. Municipalities want to pack them in as tightly as possible to maximize the tax revenue. And it's not all bad. There are plenty of people who want a house (even non McMansion style) with just a small lawn.

TexasRunner

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #109 on: September 01, 2016, 01:56:42 PM »
Would you want more windows on the side of the house, considering you'd basically just be staring directly into your neighbor's house. Way too close together

Part of the McMansion type is that they are houses WAY to big for lots that are way too small.  If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...

Sadly, most new development in cities is only lots that are tiny no matter what. Municipalities want to pack them in as tightly as possible to maximize the tax revenue. And it's not all bad. There are plenty of people who want a house (even non McMansion style) with just a small lawn.

True, but you can put a house on that small lot that isn't ridiculous.  I wasn't actually trying to come off as snob-ish, but builders are SOOO lazy these days and most architects repeatedly fail to apply the basic principles of architecture.  Especially in Texas.


Edit:  For others amusement, my realtor just emailed me (by automatic MLS listing forwarding) the attached photo.  Just, bad...
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 02:04:27 PM by PriestTheRunner »

iris lily

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #110 on: September 01, 2016, 03:12:42 PM »
Don't forget the hopelessly jealous, holier-than-thou types looking to tsk-tsk at the crass "bad taste" of the affluent.
No, I really feel the cheapness of these places and the uncaring-ness of their builders. Ive always lived in old houses. Right now, the 140 year old house  I live in is a gut rehab and we took the walls down to the brick and insulated them and put up drywall.

But you know what? I miss real plaster. It has a quality that is just timeless in these old houses. It gives a different vibe, and so much of a house is the wall surfaces.

I call the McMansions  "palaces of drywall" because when I walk into one that is all I can see. Drywall. Ugh.

Your distinctions have nothing to do with McMansions and are instead about old vs. new.
Yes, that is true, but one of the evaluative points in determining Mansion vs  McMansion  is age.

And the website here says one can build a 3,000 sq ft house today and it could be either a mansion or it could be a McMansion depending on architectural aesthetics. But it is true that they all will have drywall, no one is doing  real plaster these days.


So -- are you saying that you believe that a large home can only be called a mansion if it is old?  No new homes would qualify?

No. Using  the criteria of the website in the first post, mansions can be built new. I'm ok with that.

galliver

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #111 on: September 01, 2016, 03:43:31 PM »
"that's some MC Escher shit"


Me too! There's a 'craft cocktail bar' that I want to check out sometime. The prices are high, but I've always wanted to try a well-made old-fashion. In order to serve alcohol, a place must have food available and so for the longest time the only food option was a bowl of Cheetos.



That's fantastic! I actually like the spirit of the law, tbh; I feel like drinks being sold long after food isn't available (at least at that establishment) is an unhealthy drinking culture. But the law vastly overreaches, IMO, with "hot soups and sandwiches" being the baseline requirement, rather than e.g. chips/nuts/crackers. So good on them for the passive resistance demonstrated by their menu!

galliver

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #112 on: September 01, 2016, 03:59:10 PM »
Would you want more windows on the side of the house, considering you'd basically just be staring directly into your neighbor's house. Way too close together

Part of the McMansion type is that they are houses WAY to big for lots that are way too small.  If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...

But the houses in that picture don't look mansion-sized. They're normal-sized. Are you really saying that houses of any size *need* a sizable clearance around them? That's odd to hear on a site that promotes walkable neighborhoods (also odd is Jack's assertion that certain construction "clashes with the existing single-story homes"; people like you are causing the Bay Area housing crisis!). Because you know what helps create walkable neighborhoods? Population density. And population density increases when you build up instead of out, and build homes closer together.

TexasRunner

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #113 on: September 01, 2016, 04:09:24 PM »
Would you want more windows on the side of the house, considering you'd basically just be staring directly into your neighbor's house. Way too close together

Part of the McMansion type is that they are houses WAY to big for lots that are way too small.  If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...

But the houses in that picture don't look mansion-sized. They're normal-sized. Are you really saying that houses of any size *need* a sizable clearance around them? That's odd to hear on a site that promotes walkable neighborhoods (also odd is Jack's assertion that certain construction "clashes with the existing single-story homes"; people like you are causing the Bay Area housing crisis!). Because you know what helps create walkable neighborhoods? Population density. And population density increases when you build up instead of out, and build homes closer together.

Sorry, when I replied I cut out the previous comments.  This string of conversations wasn't about the photo (I actually like the pictured house, except for the irregularities mentioned above). 

Here is the full tangent.  :) (Descriptor for house in question is highlighted in bold)

I like the Craftsman style too, as long as you don't screw it up. The house pictured there would be reasonably good, if you chopped the garage off. (Craftsman houses never have attached garages; if you really want to park cars inside build a detached carriage house instead. Or at least make it side-facing or at basement level or something!) I also have slight objections to the small hip roof and windows above the front door and the oversized bracing on the gables, but those are minor compared to the evil front-facing garage.

I think these new builds would meet your approval.  The middle is mine from 3 years ago the landscaping has changed/grown in.

Sort of, but not really. I agree that the detached garages placed in the back yard are a vast improvement compared to what would have happened if they had been front-facing attached ones instead.

However, those houses are clearly speculative construction built as cheaply as possible with little thought given to design. You can tell by the fact that they are nothing more than rectangular prisms with porches tacked on (which is optimal for energy efficiency but pessimal for architectural interest) and have basically the minimum number of windows required by code (especially on the sides). Hell, with the one on the left the builder couldn't even be bothered to even pretend the fireplace deserved a chimney!

Also, they are definitely not of the craftsman style. First of all, the eaves are not wide enough and the rafters are covered by fascia rather than left exposed (the roof is totally colonial except for the brackets). More importantly, though, real craftsman houses are never plainly two-stories like that. If they have a second floor at all, it would be tucked under the slope of the roof (as in a "1-1/2 story" house) or at least the outer wall would be set back relative to the outer wall of the first story. (See this page for reference.)

Sorry to diss your house like that -- I'm sure it's very nice, and there's nothing really "wrong" with it considered in it's own context. But that sort of house is kind of a pet peeve of mine because they appear as in-fill construction in the old neighborhoods around here and clash horribly with the actual (single story) craftsman cottages and bungalows they abut.

Would you want more windows on the side of the house, considering you'd basically just be staring directly into your neighbor's house. Way too close together

Edit:  Then again the house is question isn't terribly McMansiony considering the neighborhood (and I'm assuming a Northern USA location).  Either way, population density has its place, but putting a 3500sq.ft house (in general) on a 1/6th acre lot isn't really efficiency at its greatest and is pretty tacky.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 04:13:00 PM by PriestTheRunner »

galliver

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #114 on: September 01, 2016, 04:17:52 PM »
Would you want more windows on the side of the house, considering you'd basically just be staring directly into your neighbor's house. Way too close together

Part of the McMansion type is that they are houses WAY to big for lots that are way too small.  If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...

But the houses in that picture don't look mansion-sized. They're normal-sized. Are you really saying that houses of any size *need* a sizable clearance around them? That's odd to hear on a site that promotes walkable neighborhoods (also odd is Jack's assertion that certain construction "clashes with the existing single-story homes"; people like you are causing the Bay Area housing crisis!). Because you know what helps create walkable neighborhoods? Population density. And population density increases when you build up instead of out, and build homes closer together.

Sorry, when I replied I cut out the previous comments.  This string of conversations wasn't about the photo (I actually like the pictured house, except for the irregularities mentioned above). 

Here is the full tangent.  :) (Descriptor for house in question is highlighted in bold)

I like the Craftsman style too, as long as you don't screw it up. The house pictured there would be reasonably good, if you chopped the garage off. (Craftsman houses never have attached garages; if you really want to park cars inside build a detached carriage house instead. Or at least make it side-facing or at basement level or something!) I also have slight objections to the small hip roof and windows above the front door and the oversized bracing on the gables, but those are minor compared to the evil front-facing garage.

I think these new builds would meet your approval.  The middle is mine from 3 years ago the landscaping has changed/grown in.

Sort of, but not really. I agree that the detached garages placed in the back yard are a vast improvement compared to what would have happened if they had been front-facing attached ones instead.

However, those houses are clearly speculative construction built as cheaply as possible with little thought given to design. You can tell by the fact that they are nothing more than rectangular prisms with porches tacked on (which is optimal for energy efficiency but pessimal for architectural interest) and have basically the minimum number of windows required by code (especially on the sides). Hell, with the one on the left the builder couldn't even be bothered to even pretend the fireplace deserved a chimney!

Also, they are definitely not of the craftsman style. First of all, the eaves are not wide enough and the rafters are covered by fascia rather than left exposed (the roof is totally colonial except for the brackets). More importantly, though, real craftsman houses are never plainly two-stories like that. If they have a second floor at all, it would be tucked under the slope of the roof (as in a "1-1/2 story" house) or at least the outer wall would be set back relative to the outer wall of the first story. (See this page for reference.)

Sorry to diss your house like that -- I'm sure it's very nice, and there's nothing really "wrong" with it considered in it's own context. But that sort of house is kind of a pet peeve of mine because they appear as in-fill construction in the old neighborhoods around here and clash horribly with the actual (single story) craftsman cottages and bungalows they abut.

Would you want more windows on the side of the house, considering you'd basically just be staring directly into your neighbor's house. Way too close together

Edit:  Then again the house is question isn't terribly McMansiony considering the neighborhood (and I'm assuming a Northern USA location).  Either way, population density has its place, but putting a 3500sq.ft house (in general) on a 1/6th acre lot isn't really efficiency at its greatest and is pretty tacky.

That *is* the photo I was talking about. Those don't look McMansiony at all. They remind me more of townhomes, just slightly more detached and with garages through the back.

Zamboni

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #115 on: September 01, 2016, 04:24:40 PM »
I actually think the red white and blue cottage is cute. Painting concrete bright red is not the style choice I would have made, but the overall home has a certain charm to it. So there you go . . . there's a house for everyone.

yuka

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #116 on: September 01, 2016, 06:39:58 PM »
I actually think the red white and blue cottage is cute. Painting concrete bright red is not the style choice I would have made, but the overall home has a certain charm to it. So there you go . . . there's a house for everyone.

It has some appeal to me, as well. But when I look closer, I'm frustrated by the siding (especially when you have so little exterior wall, you could do so much better) and the tiny tiny porch.

As to those close-packed houses in the other image, they also appeal to me, but I really don't like the driveways. Considering that the whole block was built at once, it would have been so easy to put an alley in the back, and then you'd be spared all that wasted concrete that could have been porch or garden or grass or anything else.

Goldielocks

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #117 on: September 01, 2016, 06:44:27 PM »
Don't forget the hopelessly jealous, holier-than-thou types looking to tsk-tsk at the crass "bad taste" of the affluent.
No, I really feel the cheapness of these places and the uncaring-ness of their builders. Ive always lived in old houses. Right now, the 140 year old house  I live in is a gut rehab and we took the walls down to the brick and insulated them and put up drywall.

But you know what? I miss real plaster. It has a quality that is just timeless in these old houses. It gives a different vibe, and so much of a house is the wall surfaces.

I call the McMansions  "palaces of drywall" because when I walk into one that is all I can see. Drywall. Ugh.

Your distinctions have nothing to do with McMansions and are instead about old vs. new.
Yes, that is true, but one of the evaluative points in determining Mansion vs  McMansion  is age.

And the website here says one can build a 3,000 sq ft house today and it could be either a mansion or it could be a McMansion depending on architectural aesthetics. But it is true that they all will have drywall, no one is doing  real plaster these days.


So -- are you saying that you believe that a large home can only be called a mansion if it is old?  No new homes would qualify?

No. Using  the criteria of the website in the first post, mansions can be built new. I'm ok with that.
I was unclear, my question was based on your presumed reference that Mansion=plaster, which, except for very 'creative' architect would mean older than 1960.   This does not seem logical, so could you elaborate?

nobodyspecial

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #118 on: September 01, 2016, 09:15:09 PM »
If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...
If you build a mansion and you can ride your horse to your neighbours house then it isn't a mansion.

iris lily

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #119 on: September 01, 2016, 09:44:44 PM »
Don't forget the hopelessly jealous, holier-than-thou types looking to tsk-tsk at the crass "bad taste" of the affluent.
No, I really feel the cheapness of these places and the uncaring-ness of their builders. Ive always lived in old houses. Right now, the 140 year old house  I live in is a gut rehab and we took the walls down to the brick and insulated them and put up drywall.

But you know what? I miss real plaster. It has a quality that is just timeless in these old houses. It gives a different vibe, and so much of a house is the wall surfaces.

I call the McMansions  "palaces of drywall" because when I walk into one that is all I can see. Drywall. Ugh.

Your distinctions have nothing to do with McMansions and are instead about old vs. new.
Yes, that is true, but one of the evaluative points in determining Mansion vs  McMansion  is age.

And the website here says one can build a 3,000 sq ft house today and it could be either a mansion or it could be a McMansion depending on architectural aesthetics. But it is true that they all will have drywall, no one is doing  real plaster these days.


So -- are you saying that you believe that a large home can only be called a mansion if it is old?  No new homes would qualify?

No. Using  the criteria of the website in the first post, mansions can be built new. I'm ok with that.
I was unclear, my question was based on your presumed reference that Mansion=plaster, which, except for very 'creative' architect would mean older than 1960.   This does not seem logical, so could you elaborate?
Sigh, more on plaster? Ok.

 I like  plaster even though it is difficult to work with and can be difficult to live with. I like the aesthetics of it. However, I am probably glad that my house doesnt have it for practical purposes.

In my heart of hearts, I kinda equate true mansions with age (as well as other characteristics such as size and great millwork) and those old houses usually have some plaster walls.

But if the website owner wants to define criteria for "mansion" that isnt dependant on age, I can go along with that.
 I'm not sure there is really any other point.

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #120 on: September 01, 2016, 11:00:38 PM »
If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...
If you build a mansion and you can ride your horse to your neighbours house then it isn't a mansion.
If you build a mansion and call it a mansion instead of a house, then the other mansion dwellers will not invite you to their parties.

obstinate

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #121 on: September 02, 2016, 12:31:06 AM »
Municipalities want to pack them in as tightly as possible to maximize the tax revenue.
That is not why houses are close together in cities.

Rural

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #122 on: September 02, 2016, 04:01:38 AM »
Municipalities want to pack them in as tightly as possible to maximize the tax revenue.
That is not why houses are close together in cities.


Both of these statements can be true, pretty easily.

RetiredAt63

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #123 on: September 02, 2016, 05:34:40 AM »
Re laneways for garages - are these common in areas that get a lot of snow?  Most municipalities get the main streets plowed first, then secondaries, and small residential streets get done last.  I would imaging laneways would be even lower priority.  That would imply a snowbound car for a few days after a heavy snow.  In some areas that would mean the car gets stuck for maybe half the winter.  Same for garbage pickup if the laneway is used for that.  If the garage is at the back, but the driveways leads to the street, that is a lot of driveway to keep clear all winter. 

My architectural peeve totally unrelated to Craftsman style is front porches that are too shallow - what is the point of a porch if you can 't put a chair on it and sit on that chair without being a contortionist?  Entryways with no roof are another, lovely standing there while the rain/snow/sleet beats down on you as you try to unlock the door.

Yes I am influenced by my climate, isn't all building supposed to be responsive to climate?

Jack

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #124 on: September 02, 2016, 08:41:44 AM »
Would you want more windows on the side of the house, considering you'd basically just be staring directly into your neighbor's house. Way too close together

Part of the McMansion type is that they are houses WAY to big for lots that are way too small.  If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...

But the houses in that picture don't look mansion-sized. They're normal-sized. Are you really saying that houses of any size *need* a sizable clearance around them? That's odd to hear on a site that promotes walkable neighborhoods (also odd is Jack's assertion that certain construction "clashes with the existing single-story homes"; people like you are causing the Bay Area housing crisis!). Because you know what helps create walkable neighborhoods? Population density. And population density increases when you build up instead of out, and build homes closer together.

First of all, you want more windows even with narrow side yards because windows are good for more than just looking out of. They are also important for ventilation and daylighting (the latter of which applies even if you use frosted glass so you aren't staring at the neighbor's wall).

Second, nothing is necessarily wrong with having narrow side yards -- lots of the old neighborhoods around here were built that way.

Third, my "odd assertion" is that the problem is taking a neighborhood that was developed in a certain way (e.g. ~1000ft2 single-story cottages) and letting people replace the houses piecemeal with ~4000ft2 three-story monstrosities that tower over their neighbors is terrible. If your goal is density, you should re-zone the whole neighborhood to multifamily and let somebody buy up a whole block and build townhomes or an apartment building.

I actually think the red white and blue cottage is cute. Painting concrete bright red is not the style choice I would have made, but the overall home has a certain charm to it. So there you go . . . there's a house for everyone.

It has some appeal to me, as well. But when I look closer, I'm frustrated by the siding (especially when you have so little exterior wall, you could do so much better) and the tiny tiny porch.

It's an American Small House (see my link from earlier); many of them are built like that. Aside from the paint colors and the star on the wall, it is pretty normal.

By the way, I found the house with the upside-down columns that I mentioned earlier! Note that it provides an example of a bad renovation of a house that was probably a Craftsman to begin with, and also an example of how even old neighborhoods had houses pretty close together (and there's nothing wrong with that).


Goldielocks

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #125 on: September 02, 2016, 08:55:42 AM »
Those "upside down" columns have a real art deco feel to them.  May as well paint them purple and black.

Jack

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #126 on: September 02, 2016, 09:08:00 AM »
Those "upside down" columns have a real art deco feel to them.  May as well paint them purple and black.

I can't say I agree; I did an image search for art deco houses and can't find a single one with tapered columns like that. Besides, even if the columns were art deco, the rest of the house sure isn't!

By the way, I don't think purple and black are really art deco colors either; maybe you're thinking of Hollywood regency?

Goldielocks

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #127 on: September 02, 2016, 09:14:27 AM »
Those "upside down" columns have a real art deco feel to them.  May as well paint them purple and black.

I can't say I agree; I did an image search for art deco houses and can't find a single one with tapered columns like that. Besides, even if the columns were art deco, the rest of the house sure isn't!

By the way, I don't think purple and black are really art deco colors either; maybe you're thinking of Hollywood regency?

Oh, I agree, it is not a style of home to have columns like this for art deco ( some have this at the roof line as accents,), but it is a common style for pedestal in Art Deco.. usually with a statuette on top as decoration. 

I can't think of another style that celebrated the "V" shape... so the art deco pedestal came to mine.

mm1970

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #128 on: September 02, 2016, 09:39:17 AM »
I like the Craftsman style too, as long as you don't screw it up. The house pictured there would be reasonably good, if you chopped the garage off. (Craftsman houses never have attached garages; if you really want to park cars inside build a detached carriage house instead. Or at least make it side-facing or at basement level or something!) I also have slight objections to the small hip roof and windows above the front door and the oversized bracing on the gables, but those are minor compared to the evil front-facing garage.

I think these new builds would meet your approval.  The middle is mine from 3 years ago the landscaping has changed/grown in.

Sort of, but not really. I agree that the detached garages placed in the back yard are a vast improvement compared to what would have happened if they had been front-facing attached ones instead.

However, those houses are clearly speculative construction built as cheaply as possible with little thought given to design. You can tell by the fact that they are nothing more than rectangular prisms with porches tacked on (which is optimal for energy efficiency but pessimal for architectural interest) and have basically the minimum number of windows required by code (especially on the sides). Hell, with the one on the left the builder couldn't even be bothered to even pretend the fireplace deserved a chimney!

Also, they are definitely not of the craftsman style. First of all, the eaves are not wide enough and the rafters are covered by fascia rather than left exposed (the roof is totally colonial except for the brackets). More importantly, though, real craftsman houses are never plainly two-stories like that. If they have a second floor at all, it would be tucked under the slope of the roof (as in a "1-1/2 story" house) or at least the outer wall would be set back relative to the outer wall of the first story. (See this page for reference.)

Sorry to diss your house like that -- I'm sure it's very nice, and there's nothing really "wrong" with it considered in it's own context. But that sort of house is kind of a pet peeve of mine because they appear as in-fill construction in the old neighborhoods around here and clash horribly with the actual (single story) craftsman cottages and bungalows they abut.
This is interesting, because when I look at those houses, I see...

Well, they look a LOT like the houses you'd see in my husband's small town in upstate NY.  Most of the lots are about that size (35-40 x 110).  Depending on the street, the houses are either 2-story like those, or single story (with maybe a finished attic under the eaves).  Garage in the back, very small front yard.

And these houses were built in the early 1900's.  My in-laws house was built in 1925-ish (and remarkably, on a double lot.  There aren't many of those).

Of course a picture can't tell you the "finishes". (Every worker who comes to the house says they are coming over if there's ever an earthquake.)

Nate R

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #129 on: September 02, 2016, 11:32:42 AM »
Re laneways for garages - are these common in areas that get a lot of snow?  Most municipalities get the main streets plowed first, then secondaries, and small residential streets get done last.  I would imaging laneways would be even lower priority.  That would imply a snowbound car for a few days after a heavy snow.  In some areas that would mean the car gets stuck for maybe half the winter.  Same for garbage pickup if the laneway is used for that.  If the garage is at the back, but the driveways leads to the street, that is a lot of driveway to keep clear all winter. 


Absolutely. I live in Milwaukee, TONS of these alleys. Current house built in 1921 is on a block with an alley. There is NO driveway for the houses. In Milwaukee, they don't plow the alleys at all. But they DO pick up garbage in them. It works out 95% of the time. Occasionally it sucks when snow partially melts, then refreezes and you have deep icy ruts. Some blocks get together and pay a private company to plow the alley, but many do not.

Jack

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #130 on: September 02, 2016, 01:12:41 PM »
This is interesting, because when I look at those houses, I see...

Well, they look a LOT like the houses you'd see in my husband's small town in upstate NY.  Most of the lots are about that size (35-40 x 110).  Depending on the street, the houses are either 2-story like those, or single story (with maybe a finished attic under the eaves).  Garage in the back, very small front yard.

And these houses were built in the early 1900's.  My in-laws house was built in 1925-ish (and remarkably, on a double lot.  There aren't many of those).

Of course a picture can't tell you the "finishes". (Every worker who comes to the house says they are coming over if there's ever an earthquake.)

It's not the general massing of the houses or their placement on the lot that's a problem; it's the details (and the fact that they're being miscategorized as "craftsman" when they're something else).

I'm willing to bet that the early-1900s 2-story houses you're thinking of are probably late Victorian, not craftsman, and have certain features that add more interest to the facade but aren't found on craftsman houses. For example, I'd give them about an 80% chance of having bay windows and a 99% chance of having fancier window frame, entablature and pediment moldings than the houses in neverrun's picture do.

(The single-story houses are more likely to be craftsman, especially if they tend to be newer than the two-story ones. That's probably not uncommon: parts of my neighborhood, for example, range in age from the 1890s to the 1950s, so the oldest parts of the neighborhood are Victorian then it transitions through craftsman and American small house to end at mid-century ranch. See attached pic; time starts in the upper-left corner and progresses clockwise.)

mm1970

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #131 on: September 02, 2016, 01:29:00 PM »
This is interesting, because when I look at those houses, I see...

Well, they look a LOT like the houses you'd see in my husband's small town in upstate NY.  Most of the lots are about that size (35-40 x 110).  Depending on the street, the houses are either 2-story like those, or single story (with maybe a finished attic under the eaves).  Garage in the back, very small front yard.

And these houses were built in the early 1900's.  My in-laws house was built in 1925-ish (and remarkably, on a double lot.  There aren't many of those).

Of course a picture can't tell you the "finishes". (Every worker who comes to the house says they are coming over if there's ever an earthquake.)

It's not the general massing of the houses or their placement on the lot that's a problem; it's the details (and the fact that they're being miscategorized as "craftsman" when they're something else).

I'm willing to bet that the early-1900s 2-story houses you're thinking of are probably late Victorian, not craftsman, and have certain features that add more interest to the facade but aren't found on craftsman houses. For example, I'd give them about an 80% chance of having bay windows and a 99% chance of having fancier window frame, entablature and pediment moldings than the houses in neverrun's picture do.

(The single-story houses are more likely to be craftsman, especially if they tend to be newer than the two-story ones. That's probably not uncommon: parts of my neighborhood, for example, range in age from the 1890s to the 1950s, so the oldest parts of the neighborhood are Victorian then it transitions through craftsman and American small house to end at mid-century ranch. See attached pic; time starts in the upper-left corner and progresses clockwise.)
I don't know the various architecture types.


Jack

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #132 on: September 02, 2016, 01:50:43 PM »
I don't know the various architecture types.

In the top pic, the one-story house on the left looks like a craftsman, the one in the middle is hard to tell about because it looks like it was butchered when they enclosed the porch circa-1970, and the one on the right looks Victorian. (They're all relatively on the low end of the architectural fanciness scale, so that makes it a little harder to tell.)

In the bottom pic, the houses are of more "traditional" styles that are harder for me to identify (because I don't particularly like them, so I pay less attention). The one in the middle looks mostly Dutch colonial revival and the one on the right looks Georgian revival.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #133 on: September 02, 2016, 01:57:32 PM »
http://www.mcmansionhell.com/post/149128564511/mclean-virginia?is_related_post=1

A mere 1.7 million for this foreclosed gem.  The two best lines in the post describe the multi-story rotunda:  "Pringles can of shame" and "Church of Wasted Space".
Gee, thanks.  There goes my productivity for the day...


I also get distracted when talking about architectural standards, I have many anecdotes.

Share, please? Many of us are nerds, some of us are in construction related industries, and we all love tales of failure.

One of my favorite topics about architecture in DC:  Pop-ups -- row houses that "pop-up" by adding another floor to the top, sometimes disrupting the architectural roof lines of the surrounding homes.  Some are okay, unfortunately, many are really poorly done. 

http://www.popville.com/category/pop-ups/
I have a sister that lives in the area.  In some places, you're not allowed to tear down old buildings and build new ones.  Or there are heavy restrictions on new construction.  So the contractors will tear down everything (and I mean everything) except for two exterior walls, so it qualifies as a "renovation".  Then, they build the new house in the space, complete with facade.  At the very end, they do another "renovation" which includes tearing down the two remaining original walls.
My architectural peeve totally unrelated to Craftsman style is front porches that are too shallow - what is the point of a porch if you can 't put a chair on it and sit on that chair without being a contortionist?  Entryways with no roof are another, lovely standing there while the rain/snow/sleet beats down on you as you try to unlock the door.
I'm with you there.  Our house is a bad example of it--the porch looks lovely, as long as you're not trying to use it for anything.

iris lily

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #134 on: September 02, 2016, 02:17:27 PM »
This is interesting, because when I look at those houses, I see...

Well, they look a LOT like the houses you'd see in my husband's small town in upstate NY.  Most of the lots are about that size (35-40 x 110).  Depending on the street, the houses are either 2-story like those, or single story (with maybe a finished attic under the eaves).  Garage in the back, very small front yard.

And these houses were built in the early 1900's.  My in-laws house was built in 1925-ish (and remarkably, on a double lot.  There aren't many of those).

Of course a picture can't tell you the "finishes". (Every worker who comes to the house says they are coming over if there's ever an earthquake.)

It's not the general massing of the houses or their placement on the lot that's a problem; it's the details (and the fact that they're being miscategorized as "craftsman" when they're something else).

I'm willing to bet that the early-1900s 2-story houses you're thinking of are probably late Victorian, not craftsman, and have certain features that add more interest to the facade but aren't found on craftsman houses. For example, I'd give them about an 80% chance of having bay windows and a 99% chance of having fancier window frame, entablature and pediment moldings than the houses in neverrun's picture do.

(The single-story houses are more likely to be craftsman, especially if they tend to be newer than the two-story ones. That's probably not uncommon: parts of my neighborhood, for example, range in age from the 1890s to the 1950s, so the oldest parts of the neighborhood are Victorian then it transitions through craftsman and American small house to end at mid-century ranch. See attached pic; time starts in the upper-left corner and progresses clockwise.)
I don't know the various architecture types.

In the top photo, the right most ne looks like a classic American Four Square house but the porch is off center. There are houses like this all over Iowa, my home atate, and all over America. That photo looks like houses on the  east side of Des Moines.

KCM5

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #135 on: September 02, 2016, 02:43:17 PM »
In the top photo, the right most ne looks like a classic American Four Square house but the porch is off center. There are houses like this all over Iowa, my home atate, and all over America. That photo looks like houses on the  east side of Des Moines.

And the bottom photo could be on the west side!

I'm loving the blog - a bit snobby, but mostly informative.


meghan88

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #136 on: September 02, 2016, 04:48:48 PM »
Thank you!!  I'm glad the link provided some amusement.  Here's the actual listing:

http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Mc-Lean-VA/51726927_zpid/46465_rid/1690000-1700000_price/5926-5961_mp/globalrelevanceex_sort/38.999909,-77.137242,38.91234,-77.247277_rect/12_zm/

Taxes are $23,406 / year!!  *gulp*

I encourage you all to plug that address into Google Maps. That $1.7 mil gets you a house that is not 100' from a gas station. No wonder the windows in that bathroom are frosted.

Slight correction:  it's right beside TWO gas stations.  So you can easily send the nanny over with a gas can if you forgot to fill up the Hummers.


dragoncar

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #137 on: September 02, 2016, 05:53:56 PM »
So why do builders make these monstrosities?  I mean, they presumably do have an architect on staff who makes the first plan, which they modify/duplicate.  I understand they want to save money, but a gable roof is a lot cheaper to build than the complex roofs most mcmansions seem to have.  Why do they use so many different window types?  Is it just because they went down to the re-store and grabbed whatever was on sale, so they couldn't get matching ones?  Or are they making things more complicated simply to cater to the buyers, who think complicated looks affluent?

Lets break it down:

-Complex high pitched roof with lower cross gables or hips

This is no cheaper, and likely more expensive, to build than a simpler, lower pitched roof

- Tall (1.5-2 story) entry features, often arched

This also adds cost

- Haphazardly applied dormers

Also adds cost.  Do they build the house and go "hmm, needs something... how about a dormer riiiiight there?

- Multiple wall cladding materials applied to single surfaces

Again, wouldn't it be cheaper to just get one lot of the same material?  Seems they are catering to the ignorant?

- Windows of differing sizes and shapes, often arched

Again, why build up all this mismatched inventory instead of just using a single style?

- Structure is commonly asymmetrical with tall vertical appearance.

I get this -- if you build up, you use fewer materials per sqft and maximize area for small lots.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 05:58:56 PM by dragoncar »

iris lily

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #138 on: September 02, 2016, 06:06:11 PM »
In the top photo, the right most ne looks like a classic American Four Square house but the porch is off center. There are houses like this all over Iowa, my home state, and all over America. That photo looks like houses on the  east side of Des Moines.

And the bottom photo could be on the west side!

I'm loving the blog - a bit snobby, but mostly informative.
It COULD be on the westside along Kingman Blvd. by Drake Universit, you are right:)
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 07:58:14 PM by iris lily »

Zamboni

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #139 on: September 02, 2016, 06:14:08 PM »
If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...
If you build a mansion and you can ride your horse to your neighbours house then it isn't a mansion.
If you build a mansion and call it a mansion instead of a house, then the other mansion dwellers will not invite you to their parties.

Actually, if you called it a mansion or a house you will be shunned by your neighbors . . . . everyone knows that dwellings must be given names likes Gaineswood or Annesley or Glensheen or something else properly pompous.

And now I sit here decided if my home should have a male or female sounding name . . . . or if it should have an inanimate name like The Breakers. Decision, decisions.

yuka

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #140 on: September 02, 2016, 06:33:38 PM »

I also get distracted when talking about architectural standards, I have many anecdotes.

Share, please? Many of us are nerds, some of us are in construction related industries, and we all love tales of failure.

One of my favorite topics about architecture in DC:  Pop-ups -- row houses that "pop-up" by adding another floor to the top, sometimes disrupting the architectural roof lines of the surrounding homes.  Some are okay, unfortunately, many are really poorly done. 

http://www.popville.com/category/pop-ups/

Some of those pop-ups are like tasteless sheds stacked on top of the houses. They're the urban equivalent of parking a 25-year old car in the front lawn.

yuka

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #141 on: September 02, 2016, 06:36:47 PM »
If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...
If you build a mansion and you can ride your horse to your neighbours house then it isn't a mansion.
If you build a mansion and call it a mansion instead of a house, then the other mansion dwellers will not invite you to their parties.

Actually, if you called it a mansion or a house you will be shunned by your neighbors . . . . everyone knows that dwellings must be given names likes Gaineswood or Annesley or Glensheen or something else properly pompous.

And now I sit here decided if my home should have a male or female sounding name . . . . or if it should have an inanimate name like The Breakers. Decision, decisions.

Hmm, if I lived in one of these things, I don't think I'd care much what my neighbors thought about my house's name; actually, chances are I've never even seen my neighbors, let alone talked to them. If it were well-built, I'd go with Dreadfort; otherwise, The Model Home

yuka

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #142 on: September 02, 2016, 06:38:58 PM »
I don't know the various architecture types.

In the top pic, the one-story house on the left looks like a craftsman, the one in the middle is hard to tell about because it looks like it was butchered when they enclosed the porch circa-1970, and the one on the right looks Victorian. (They're all relatively on the low end of the architectural fanciness scale, so that makes it a little harder to tell.)

In the bottom pic, the houses are of more "traditional" styles that are harder for me to identify (because I don't particularly like them, so I pay less attention). The one in the middle looks mostly Dutch colonial revival and the one on the right looks Georgian revival.

So for that top-left house, are you saying that it's probably a craftsman that had the porch enclosed at some point?

I actually like both the houses in the lower image, assuming they have some good outdoor space in the back.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #143 on: September 02, 2016, 06:46:10 PM »
If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...
If you build a mansion and you can ride your horse to your neighbours house then it isn't a mansion.
If you build a mansion and call it a mansion instead of a house, then the other mansion dwellers will not invite you to their parties.
How about Shedley Manor?
Actually, if you called it a mansion or a house you will be shunned by your neighbors . . . . everyone knows that dwellings must be given names likes Gaineswood or Annesley or Glensheen or something else properly pompous.

And now I sit here decided if my home should have a male or female sounding name . . . . or if it should have an inanimate name like The Breakers. Decision, decisions.

BlueHouse

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #144 on: September 02, 2016, 07:16:33 PM »
If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...
If you build a mansion and you can ride your horse to your neighbours house then it isn't a mansion.
If you build a mansion and call it a mansion instead of a house, then the other mansion dwellers will not invite you to their parties.
How about Shedley Manor?
Actually, if you called it a mansion or a house you will be shunned by your neighbors . . . . everyone knows that dwellings must be given names likes Gaineswood or Annesley or Glensheen or something else properly pompous.

And now I sit here decided if my home should have a male or female sounding name . . . . or if it should have an inanimate name like The Breakers. Decision, decisions.
Mine already has a name, otherwise I would call it the Grimpen Mire. And every time you say it, it needs to be followed by eerie horror organ music. Or a scream.

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #145 on: September 02, 2016, 07:41:31 PM »
If you build a mansion and your neighbor's house is close enough to be a problem, then it is probably a McMansion...
If you build a mansion and you can ride your horse to your neighbours house then it isn't a mansion.
If you build a mansion and call it a mansion instead of a house, then the other mansion dwellers will not invite you to their parties.

Actually, if you called it a mansion or a house you will be shunned by your neighbors . . . . everyone knows that dwellings must be given names likes Gaineswood or Annesley or Glensheen or something else properly pompous.

And now I sit here decided if my home should have a male or female sounding name . . . . or if it should have an inanimate name like The Breakers. Decision, decisions.

You're not allowed to name your own house unless you also buy your own silverware. When you move into the place it should already have a name. It's generally a variation of the name of whoever owned the land a hundred years ago, or a reference to some local hill or historical incident using whatever language was commonly used in the area at the time. If you can personally remember the thing your house was named for that's not a good sign. Now if for some reason you build a house and move into it, there's going to be some awkwardness. Name-wise that's just "your house" or "your place". Maybe there will be a name for it that's a play on part of your name (think Biltmore). Your grandkids or whoever buys it after you're done with it will then have a house with a name that isn't theirs. Or, if you own more than one piece of property you obviously have to differentiate between them. Hence "the something-or-other house" or "the summer cottage" or "the lake condo". Eventually they'll be known as that by people besides you and your next of kin.

The names you suggested are a good start, but fall short of true pretentiousness because the pronunciation can be deduced by the spelling. Unless of course "Gaineswood" is pronounced "GaNEEshed" or something equally nonintuitive. The names also lack enough extraneous vowels. Remember, it's not "point", "brook", "park" or "old": it's got to be "pointe", "brooke", "parke" and "olde". The fact that the words were frequently never actually written that way in older versions of English is immaterial. But word fragments that sound Shakespearean or medieval are hip.

There's a new subdivision being built a few miles away from me. It's called "Mirehaven". We live in a desert. Also, for bizarre reasons condominiums around here tend to be named "(something-or-other) Pointe". I just can't shake the mental image of a bunch of shoddily constructed buildings in ballet slippers, trying desperately to stay balanced.

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #146 on: September 02, 2016, 08:01:25 PM »
None of the windows has blinds, builder said "that will be fixed before moving in".

The rest is crap, but I believe that is standard for new construction.  I bought a house new (didn't build it, bought it from the builder) and it didn't come with any blinds.  Or towel racks, TP holders, etc etc etc.

Yep, FIREd builder here. Back in the 90s, you could grab a complete set of bath hardware (toilet paper holder, towel rack, towel rings, etc) for $20, all made of nicely finished Oak, and install everything as part of the deal. The customer was happy. Since then, a typical big box store had 40-50 lineal feet of isle, stuffed full of hundreds of different pieces of bath hardware, and the average new home customer is far too important to accept the same shit that the commoners have in their baths. I got unlucky enough to end up with one of my spec. homes falling into the hands of a horrible older couple. These two quickly self identified as two of the biggest a-holes on the planet, and probably the most unhappy couple I ever met. They generally hated life. As the male was on one of his rants, he started to bitch about the lack of bath hardware. I told him it was never going to happen, particularly in his case.  First, his wife would hate it, no matter what it was. Second, the stuff goes from a few bucks to a hundred, or more, per piece. Third, with hundreds of choices, where would I even start in the fruitless quest to satisfy you two?  I can't even begin to imagine what it would of been like getting involved with selecting blinds with these two idiots.

We had a boom in our region that lasted for two decades, and ended with the great crash. At the peak, my buddy owned a sheetrock outfit that was doing 1000+ homes a year. Most were McMansion sized shitboxes, built for lower middle class folks who were driving 70-100 miles one way, to NYC, for a paycheck.  He would occasionally do warranty work, when his crews couldn't keep up. It's policy to make the homeowner wait to the end of the warranty year to do any sheetrock repair. He said he will never forget how many dozens of homes he had gone to, and the end of their first year, to  find beach towels for curtains, and mostly unfurnished rooms inside. Drag whatever you had from your apartment in the city, and face the reality that you are never going to be able to afford to furnish the monstrous piece of shit you just took a thirty year mortgage on. Typically the "formal" living and dining rooms were completely free of furniture. Talk about some crazy priorities. Spend five hours a day commuting, to afford a chip board and vinyl siding  3000 sq. ft. shitbox, that you can't afford furniture or curtains for.  OTOH, you can all but guarantee that there will be at least one large SUV, (Tahoe, Navigator)  or $35K faux luxury ride in the driveway.

 I'm in a rather dark mood at the moment,  and humming God Bless America to myself as I'm typing this. WTF?

Taran Wanderer

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #147 on: September 03, 2016, 05:14:33 AM »
I read this thread with mixed emotions.  On the one hand, it's good to know that I am not alone in my McMansion snobbery.  OTOH, it's sad to think that people across this country are making the same sad choices of size over quality, faux appearance over something real, unsustainable pretentiousness over more realistic neighborliness. Uggh.

Goldielocks

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #148 on: September 03, 2016, 09:29:06 AM »
So why do builders make these monstrosities? 



- Haphazardly applied dormers

Also adds cost.  Do they build the house and go "hmm, needs something... how about a dormer riiiiight there?

- Multiple wall cladding materials applied to single surfaces

Again, wouldn't it be cheaper to just get one lot of the same material?  Seems they are catering to the ignorant?


I think this is actually what happens.

One of the articles described that the advent of "balloon / stick" wall construction allowed for new forms, as well as huge spaces for lower cost (versus stone or masonry).  The problem with large homes was that there was just so much exterior wall and it was difficult to make to look interesting.   The dormers, secondary masses, wallpaper, gables and window features were intended to relieve the monotony of the exterior.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: McMansion comedy / tragedy
« Reply #149 on: September 03, 2016, 11:29:27 AM »
So why do builders make these monstrosities? 



- Haphazardly applied dormers

Also adds cost.  Do they build the house and go "hmm, needs something... how about a dormer riiiiight there?

- Multiple wall cladding materials applied to single surfaces

Again, wouldn't it be cheaper to just get one lot of the same material?  Seems they are catering to the ignorant?


I think this is actually what happens.

One of the articles described that the advent of "balloon / stick" wall construction allowed for new forms, as well as huge spaces for lower cost (versus stone or masonry).  The problem with large homes was that there was just so much exterior wall and it was difficult to make to look interesting.   The dormers, secondary masses, wallpaper, gables and window features were intended to relieve the monotony of the exterior.
Yep, this seems to be it. Most of the houses look like they appeal to a certain kind of aspirational class that wants as much "bling" as possible. More more more more. Dormer here, bay window there, shiplapshiplapshiplap.

The interiors are clearly just check-list items. Typically with massive amounts of wasted space that serves no purpose other than to suck up utility bills. Someone has to keep the gas companies in business.

I really can't be too snobbish, though. I live in a standard mass production split-level from the post-war era. I like the neighborhood and it's quite walkable, but I am not adding to American cultural history in here. To say nothing of the shoddy workmanship in the sub-basement. If you are going to do some baseboards, can you PLEASE at least TRY to make a miter joint?

Attached front-facing 2-car garages are nasty street-viewing. I'll agree on that 100%. I live in Chicago and dug my car out of snow and ice for my entire life. Don't see the problem with it.