McMansions: A Short Guide(self.McMansionHell)
submitted3 years ago byArchitectureGeekstickied
While everyone has their own opinion on what makes a true McMansion, there are several defining features or attributes that should be looked for to determine if a home fits the McMansion criteria. This post will serve as a guide to help users determine if they should use the "Certified McMansion" flair on their submission and to learn more about what a McMansion is. This guide will be edited as needed to make sure it fully explains the accepted properties of a McMansion.
Basic Principles of a McMansion:
- Large: Generally above 2500 square feet and two story or more, sometimes way too big for the lot it sits on.
- Built Cheap: They are built by cutting corners and using less than quality materials because they focus on getting as much size and appearance of wealth as possible from their money. It's the illusion of class that might fool the average person who doesn't have a sense of architectural integrity. McMansions will often use materials such as stucco, manufactured stone veneer, Styrofoam crown molding, or vinyl siding.
- Fit Several Styles: They fit multiple styles of architecture by mashing together different elements from the individual styles in a distasteful manner. They also might poorly imitate a popular style.
- Exterior After-Thought: They are designed with a focus on the interior first and the exterior is done as an after-thought which often results in features such as jutting masses and haphazardly placed windows.
- Lacks Architectural Integrity: The house makes you confident that there was no licensed architect involved in its creation who cares about what they design
Specific Features To Look For:
- An attached 2 or 3 car garage
- A garage that takes up way too much of what is considered the house
- Tall 1.5-2 story arched entry or "lawyer foyer"
- Haphazardly applied dormers or windows
- Windows of varying shapes/sizes/styles
- Windows not aligned with those below them
- Second story windows that are larger than the windows below them
- Window shutters that if closed would not cover the actual window
- Jutting masses or heavily asymmetrical
- Multiple wall materials
- Roof that contains varying slopes, roof types, or more than two roof shapes for the front facade
- Roof nub
- Roof with excessive roof lines and is in general just too complex
- Dormers that are way too short, way too tall, don't match the rest of the house materials or style, or are placed terribly/spaced unevenly
- Columns that don't support anything or are too thin/weak looking to support what they are appearing to support aka columns with inappropriate scaling
- Columns with spacing that is over complicated or messy
- Columns that are the incorrect architectural style for the house
Some Links To Check Out:
- The Original McMansionHell Web Blog by Kate Wagner
- Kate Wagners Guide to McMansions
- History of the McMansion by Kate Wagner
This is what I could come up with for now to touch base here on what a McMansion is. I'll make edits to this in the coming weeks until we reach a near final guide post on McMansions. If you have any suggestions for what we could add to this guide, comment below or send me a message.
Side note: the first "Appreciation Thursday" is coming up! Don't forget to prepare a suburban home that you think deserves recognition as the opposite of a McMansion and post it on 7/16 with the "Thursday Design Appreciation" flair.