Have you folks seen this site, McMansion Hell?
Basically, the writer is an architectural critic who explains why it is that McMansions are so darned ugly. They basically do two sorts of posts. One is the broad explanatory post, taking some issue and explaining how it works in the architecture. It may be an overview, as here, or it may focus on a specific aspect of houses, and show different ones with explanations, as with this on front entries, or this one on landscaping, or this one on roofs. The second sort of post takes a specific house, staged by realtors for the market, and critiques it. Here's one on a house in Virginia. And here's one from Georgia.
So I have a bit of a love/hate, or maybe more a love/fear relationship with this site. I love it because it explains so much about that aesthetic and why McMansions seem so unpleasing aesthetically.
But I hate/fear it because every post makes me more aware that I live in a sort of ugly McMansion, not guilty of the highest level of McMansion excesses, perhaps, but pretty up there.
For example, if you look at the Georgia house, and scroll down to the kitchen, where the writer talks about white appliances? Yeah, I can see my white kitchen appliances from where I sit. And I'm not getting new ones any time soon (I hope!). So white appliances, check.
Open concept. Yep, check.
At one point the writer talks about someone's TV being old, but it's basically a big screen TV from maybe 10 years ago. If it works, what's to complain about? There's nothing wrong with a 25 year old TV that works, is there? (Asks a woman who owns a 25 or so year old TV, and who just got a new big, flat screen one a few years ago because the old one couldn't talk to the CD player I bought used. The old one was good, and color, even if it was only 13".)
My house is probably a 7 on the scale of 1-10 horribleness. Maybe a 6.
In addition to the ugliness, the architect talks about the cheapness of materials and building techniques used to build McMansions, and here's where my house falls squarely in. Bad roof shingles, check (now not bad, because I had the whole thing replaced). Vinyl siding, check (but seriously, I would hate to have to restain or repaint every three or so years). Minimal insulation (well, at least I had a lot added when I had the roof redone, so hopefully that is solved). And so on. It's sort of worrisome.
On the other hand, I don't have the money to decorate a lot, so my house doesn't have the most egregious decorating faux pas, I suppose. On the other hand, it's pretty much just whatever old furniture I've picked up over the years, and a few pieces I've bought for specific purposes. (The writer of McMansion Hell says they specifically show pictures of realtor staged houses, and not houses real people live in, because they aren't making fun of real people.)
When I bought my house, it was in a newish neighborhood, on a cul-de-sac where all the houses were built, but also near areas that didn't have streets through and such. For a while, it stayed like that. But in the last three years or so, there's been a building boom, streets have been put through, and a lot of new houses are going in, and they're all so McMansion. My house is already one of the smaller houses on my street of 9 houses, maybe the smallest. But the new houses going in are way bigger than most of the houses on my street (there's one that's way bigger than the others, and about the size of the new houses).
Maybe this means our housing values will go up? Which doesn't matter until we decide to sell, of course, except that our taxes will also go up. And the city may decide to put in sidewalks. (It's a cul-de-sac; everyone just walks along the side and no cars are driving fast.)
So, there we are, something fun to read; or, if you're like me, something fun and perhaps anxiety-producing!