Welcome to McMansion Hell

Small Home Gazette, Fall 2016

Welcome to McMansion Hell

The term McMansion, according to Wikipedia (http://tinyurl.com/kl77ugt), “…is generally used to denote a new, or recent, multi-story house of no clear architectural style, which prizes superficial appearance, and sheer size, over quality.”

While those of us of a certain age who appreciate smaller, older homes have long derided McMansions, it appears that some of the younger generation are gleefully joining the party. Check out McMansion Hell (www.mcmansionhell.com), written by 22-year-old graduate student Kate Wagner. The site is educational, but more importantly, it’s hilarious. Much of the text strives to support Wagner’s arguments against McMansions using logic and referencing longstanding design principles. The laughs come mainly from her graphics, which use photos of McMansions overlaid with snarky commentary that disregards conventional punctuation and grammar, sprinkled with salty language.

For a website, she started just this summer, it’s already stuffed with lots of essays and scores of those wicked graphics. According to an interview with Wagner on Papermag.com, she has already been approached about writing a book and doing a TED talk (www.ted.com). 

Wagner’s website is heavy on opinion but it’s grounded in commonly accepted design principles. In one essay, she strives to explain why McMansions are so bad aesthetically: they lack balance, proportion and rhythm. In another, she explains why they are otherwise bad: they contain cheap materials and craftsmanship; they are a lousy investment; they are bad for the environment; and they are bad for the spirit. She also contrasts McMansions with old and new actual mansions, which she generally likes, at least aesthetically.

So, visit Wagner’s website for some tips on good design but stay for the sarcasm.

Wagner writes: “OK, simple roofs work for a reason. It’s nice to see a house unified under one cute little house hat. However, on McMansions, the roof is more like the duct-tape that is barely holding your crap together.”

Photos © McMansion Hell. Reposted/Reused with Permission.

McMansion boner.

McMansion car hold

McMansion Craftsman

http://bungalowclub.org/wp-content/uploads/McMansion American Dream

McMansion Phallic coupola

McMansion scream

McMansion dormers
two garages