And Now, an Illustrated Series of Detailed Rants About McMansions

McMansion Hell critique

What puts the Mc- in McMansion? McMansion Hell hit the Internets recently hoping to answer that question, bringing along slews of illustrative photo examples covered with detailed (if at times bitingly sarcastic) annotations. The author notes that not all large post-1980 houses are McMansions — that’s a matter of factors like these. And not recognizing one isn’t necessarily a matter of having bad taste — it’s a matter of familiarity with basic design principles, which the site attempts to provide.

Starting with a McMansions 101 introductory primer on basic layouts and proportions, most of the site’s posts so far take on specific design aspects (last week’s called out useless and disproportionate column deployment). Other posts take readers on a Zillow-photo walkthrough of a single home — this afternoon’s critique dives into a Houston-area house (shown above), text block by aggravated text block:


McMansion Hell critique

McMansion Hell critique

McMansion Hell critique

The author tells Swamplot that the site is seeking input from real estate types; photos or feedback can be emailed in. And if you like the site but don’t have much architectural insight to contribute, you can always pitch a few bucks toward the author’s Patreon account.

Images: McMansion Hell

McMansion Deconstruction

15 Comment

  • This website is fantastic. It’s like Go Fug Yourself but for real estate. Awesome!

  • Swamplot comments taught me that all new houses are McMansions and all old houses are special snowflakes. Now i don’t know what to believe.

  • Bookmarked. Emailed to a dozen friends.

    Snark aside, the website does an excellent job demonstrating why McMansions are such a horror aesthetically. Residential architecture and design is now basically like a kid who piles his star wars legos, angry birds legos and Jurassic park legos into the same box in order to make some freaky lego houses. It has got to stop already. There was a good article on Bloomberg about how McMansions are not holding value due to demand for smaller homes from Millenials entering the market, general shoddy construction and just the fact that they are sooooo UGLY.

  • Commonsense, is that your house?

  • “Notice me senpai!”… oh gawd, my sides

  • @Houstonreader, contrary to popular belief I prefer simple design but with top of the line materials. Real copper gutters get me all hot and bothered.

    I agree with the deserved architectural ridicule of McMansions but they’re missing the most important part of the equation, the money. You can get a McMansion for 500k and up, it’s essentially and overinflated tract home. It takes several years and several million dollars to built what the “critics” would consider a Real Mansion and those are few and far between. As with everything else, you get what you pay for.

  • This web site makes me appreciate McMansions. Damn you, web site.

  • People are quick to judge what they cannot attain themselves. If the person who wrote this article was given the opportunity to actually own this house, I doubt there would be any complaining.

  • Riiiiight [Just Calling]. McEnvy. Got it.

  • @Just Calling It Like I See It

    That argument comes from the “everyone secretly thinks like me” line of reasoning employed by racist joke tellers and people who order pineapple pizza for group events.
    Don’t assume that just because YOU would be glad of the opportunity to own that house that everyone would.
    If I were GIVEN that house for free, the idea of doing anything but renting it or selling it to the first sucker willing to pay for that monstrosity makes me physically ill. I could never, and would never live in a house like that, especially if I could . I can barely tolerate the inflated tract homes in Richmond that my family members live in.

  • @commonsense: I can’t speak for popular opinion, just my own, and I have to chuckle at your notion of there being a popular opinion about your architectural tastes.
    That said, you have it exactly wrong about “getting what you pay for” in mcmansions. As the site illustrates, mcmansions frequently run a few million dollars. Buyers are paying all that money for what’s advertised as well-built homes that will be good investments. What they’re actually getting is sloppily built, home-maintenance time bombs that will give them a poor R.O.I. to boot.
    This isn’t just about ugly architecture, it’s also about an ongoing ripoff.

  • Love it. A LOT of the newer construction is just tacky crap. No taste whatsoever. Look on and see the bigger houses that do NOT hold their value. People are over the useless waste of space and resources. And I don’t feel sorry for anyone who lives in one these fugly monsters. That said, I was in the market for a 12,000sq .ft new construction home in Piney Point 8 years ago-then I realized I’d only use the master suite,with the awesome 2 story closet, the ensuite bath and the amazing gourmet kitchen . Needless to say I didn’t but the house, although I wanted the adjacent 1.2 acre lost. Damn builder offered more $$..

  • My first thought was “pfft, whatever guy. Get over yourself.”
    But then I saw the “Ahoy matey’s” and the arrow to the round “port hole” windows — and I laughed. Fine fine… Well done dude. Well done. :)

  • Super funny website! This trend is embarrassing.
    However, there’s a mania that afflicts home-buyers. I was under the influence once. We had the money and the growing family and longed for a sort of rock to pin our hopes to (granted, this was years ago – before the Tuscan Incursion…)
    The affliction is a cross between beer goggles and the Stockholm Syndrome: The falling-in-love with some ideal future life promised by a house and the suspension of critical thinking. Developers know how to woo with bike paths and landscaping and builders do it with niches, shutters and mantels, etc. The buyer really desperately wants to see their stuff and their kiddoes in that scene!