McMansion Hell from A to Z: Part One (A-H)

Hello, Hello! As you may have read from last week’s post, this week’s post is a sort of field guide to the McMansion. As the internet’s self-appointed expert on big ugly houses, I have collected over the years a huge amount of materials, data, and resources on everything “luxury.” 

As I sat down to plan this post, I came to the realization, that, taking into account such things as geographical variation (e.g. Texas vs New England), fitting the McMansion into one post would be pretty impossible.  So, after a week of dwelling on it, I decided to break it up into three posts, using the letters of the alphabet as a guide. Part One is A-H; Part Two will be I-P; Part Three will be Q-Z. 

By the end of this three-part series, my hope is that even the least architecturally inclined (e.g. my relatives) will be able to identify a McMansion from a mile away, and the world will be a better place for it. 

So without further ado, let’s begin. 

A is for Architectural Anarchy

As you might recall from the post on eclecticism, McMansions can’t just pick one architectural style. They have to have all of them and nine out of ten times, they aren’t integrated together whatsoever. 

It’s not just mixing styles that’s the problem, it’s mixing shapes, rooflines, details, sizes, and pretty much everything else into Architecture Mystery Meat. 

Here are some examples of Architectural Anarchy. If the house you are looking at looks anything like these houses, it is almost certainly a McMansion:

B is for Beige

It’s no secret that McMansions love beige - and the further west you go, the beiger it gets. Now, not all beige houses are McMansions, but often the BeigeHaus, as it is known around this blog, is almost always cladded with EIFS (fake stucco), and the architectural features almost always have a tacked-on appearance. 

Here are a few examples of classic BeigeHauses:

West Coast BeigeHauses:

East Coast BeigeHauses:

C is for Columns

Columns, of course, have their own post. But it’s worth reviewing here. Not all McMansions have columns, but all McMansions with columns use them totally incorrectly. 

If the columns look like the ones below, the house you’re looking at might be worth tweeting to me. 

D is for Dormers

Yeah, there was that whole post about dormers too, but out of scale dormers are a classic McMansion woe. 

If the dormers on the house you’re looking at look anything like these, you’re probably in McMansion Hell:

E is for Entryway

Luckily for everyone here, the McMansion has its own textbook entryway, universally recognizable by all. This entryway consists of three parts:

1.) Arched two-story entry “porch”, may or may not have columns
2.) Large front door, usually double door.  (May have sidelights)
3.) Enormous transom window, often with square bottom and arched top
The arch in part one is not as important as the other two parts - often the entry is flush against the surface of the building. 

Here are some examples of this textbook McMansion Feature:

In the above example, the transom is visually separated from the door by a portico. On the inside, however, they are all the same space. 

Note the pilasters, rather than columns, above.

Any variation of this entryway is one of the most important signifiers that you are looking at a McMansion. It is a textbook feature, and one of the easiest to identify. 

F is for Fake

Keep reading

Let me tell you about Watermelon Tourmaline!

So, eventually, I’m going to create a mini-series (as in a series of mini books) called Cripple 101, which is all about this college professor who is sort of what you would get if you mixed House, Grunkle Stan, and Ryder, only with a much bigger heart. (That’s not to say he’s a good guy; he does some pretty crappy things throughout the series.) Basically, he’s the type of guy who will go to the ends of the earth to help you if he likes you and will make your life a living hell if he doesn’t. At the risk of getting fired, he convinces the college to let him start a class for people with disabilities. (He uses a cane to walk and has a few other disabilities I know, I know, just hear me out.)

I literally have no clue what I’m going to call this guy. None whatsoever. I’ve tried multiple names but none of them seem right. It’s extremely frustrating.

But while I have absolutely no knowledge on his name, I do have knowledge (extensive knowledge) on one of the subplots:

Watermelon Tourmaline.

Watermelon is going to be…that college student. You know that college student. I know that college student. I’m friends with that college student (several of them). Hell, at times, I am that college student.

The one who wears the name SJW with pride. Who is always advocating for something. Who is always changing their identities and defending them while also defending the ones that they aren’t a part of. 

That college student.

I suppose you could call her a Manic Pixie Dream Girl but quite frankly, I don’t care if you do, because that trope is sexist in and of itself.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

So Watermelon comes up to MC and begins giving him the spiel, you know? How she’s not disabled but that he should stop using the word ‘crippled’ because it’s considered a demeaning slur. 

And he just stares at her like, “Oh my god, I’m going to hate you.”

In fact, he probably says that.

And when he asks her what her name is, she says: “Watermelon Tourmaline.”

And he’s just like, “That’s not a name.”

“Yes, it is.”

“It really isn’t.”

So at first, it looks like this girl is going to be an annoying parody and that I’m going to be a jerk who tries to mock these types of college students, right?

Well, stick with me, because those of you who know me know me well enough to know that I have big plans for this.

Fast-forward to a few days later when MC is sitting with Jack in the dining hall. Who’s Jack? Well, I’ll tell you tomorrow but let’s just say that the relationship between this nameless character and Jack is one of my favorite ones in the series so far. (Note: I only thought of this series two days ago.) And MC notices that the pea soup is just frozen peas dumped into lukewarm soup broth. Jack sort of dismisses it and implies that he’s already gotten used to the food, something that shocks the MC. And the more the MC asks around, the more he realizes that everyone is just eating this disgusting food and accepting the fact that if they get sick, they get sick. A few things happen in said dining hall but MC quickly becomes distracted by a voice.

It’s Watermelon, who is talking to the manager of the dining hall, complaining about the shoddy food. MC’s jaw drops and he looks on, first shocked, then impressed, then proud. And he walks over and helps her defend her case.

It looks like there’s a mutual sense of respect until they leave the dining hall (which is still serving the horrid food) and he asks her what her name is.

She sighs and mutters, “Sabrina Knox.”

The two get into an argument over identities and she storms off.

And he watches her leave and something dawns on him.

Cut to him teaching his first class where all of the students are highly engrossed, but he can’t help feeling like someone is missing. And as he’s walking across campus, he finds Sabrina/Watermelon at a table, trying to get people to sign a petition to increase the food quality. Only nobody’s stopping and everyone’s just sort of snorting and rolling their eyes. And she’s about to pack up when MC sharply says, “Don’t.”

And he limps over and is like, “Don’t stop fighting, all right? Look, I don’t care if you’re the only voice out there. It’s better than having no voice at all. The soup is crap. It’s about time someone pointed it out.”

And he signs the petition and adds, “See you in class, Watermelon.”

He walks away and Jack wheels up to him, wondering why he’s letting her join the class after all.

“Because,” says MC, “she’s one of us.”



“You mean because she’s crazy?”

MC chuckles and says, “No, she’s depressed.”

Jack just stares at him and is like, “She’s what?”

And MC goes into this long rant akin to, “She’s latching onto something, anything, that gives her a purpose, that gives her a reason to wake up in the morning. She needs something to fight for, she needs to know that something needs her to fight for it, she needs to know that she can make a difference, that she can change something or someone for the better, even if she can’t change herself. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

And Jack’s just staring at MC, who cheerfully says, “Plus, she wears glasses, so that’s good enough for me.”

And after that, he genuinely grows to care for Watermelon, referring to her by her strange but meaningful name, always helping her (if not exasperatedly) when she wants to fight for something, and being there on the days when she doesn’t think that anything is worth fighting for.

Bonus: One of those days occurs and she comes to the conclusion that fighting for better food is a lost cause. A few days later, a bunch of people get sick right in the dining hall. MC and Watermelon show up and the former just grins and looks down at this student because he knows that it’s her time to shine. So he offers her a hand and helps her up onto a table, watching in pride as she rallies students up and shouts that they deserve better than this.

And this is just one of his students.

This entire series starts with a guy who creates a class partially to keep his job and partially to spite the administration but quickly realizes, “Aw crap, I love every single one of these kids. I did not sign up for this.”

Just wait til you hear about Jack.

I’m a couple hours late welcoming Bob’s Burgers back to television, but hey, at least I still got the right day. XD what can I say, I just got this idea this morning, did you really think I could finish it by 6:30? I’m not that fast! XD anyway, so, upon realizing that “Fluoise” was their 101st episode, I was inspired to make a visual pun…..but as Tina says, it would’ve been better if I had 96 other people. that would’ve been impossible though XD so yeah. the Belchers are dressed up as Dalmatians and Louise is still sick. XD

Going off of my last post: x

I was going to tell you about Jack tomorrow but I’m too excited.

So let me tell you about Jack!

Jackson “Jack” Nakajima.

Jack’s a freshman in an electric wheelchair with very limited mobility. He also has a slight learning disability. And he’s awesome. I love him.

So he first meets up with the main character (who I still. don’t. have. a. name. for.) early on in the first book and is really excited to help him start Cripple 101 because he’s never had anyone actually openly talk about disabilities before. So being the giant adorable nerd that he is, he’s the one who actually organizes the fundamentals of the class for MC. And it’s not long before they strike up a bond.

Also MC absolutely stands on the back of Jack’s chair and Jack gives him a lift around the campus just because.

Since Jack has a very limited mobility, his mother has moved onto the campus with him to try to help him at every possible moment. The problem is that his mother is extremely sick and he’s more worried about her being okay than he is about himself.

So the bond between him and MC grows and Jack trusts MC enough to call him when the pressure becomes too much and he wheels down to a bar, getting completely and utterly drunk. He was going to call his mother but he’d rather die than disappoint her.

So it’s 2:00 AM and MC facepalms but he gets up and gets dressed and gets into the car and drives all the way down to the bar in question. And he walks in and the bartender tells him that Jack started a tab. And MC facepalms again and pays for the drinks and talks to a very drunk Jack. And they manage to get out to the parking lot and MC just freezes and facepalms a third time because there’s no way that he can get the electric wheelchair into his car.

Cut to the two of them having to walk all the way to MC’s house. ANd MC is exasperated af because Jack is drunk and his chair is swerving and MC is just like, “Don’t-no-stop-will you-oh my god-seriously-okay the next time you serve into the road, I’m letting the car hit you-god damn it-seriously kid-I hate this-I hate you-I hate everything about my life right now-will you stop going into the road!?”

So they finally get back to MC’s house because there’s no way that Jack was going back to his dorm with his mother there. So MC lets him crash on the couch. And Jack wakes up and throws up all over the living room and MC’s forehead is red from the amount of times that he’s facepalmed. So Jack heads into the bathroom and he’s actually pretty independent and is even able to take a shower on his own (since MC uses a shower chair).

By the time he comes out, the mess is cleaned up, but he’s still feeling terrible. The feeling only increases when his mother calls, frantic.

And Jack lies and says, “Oh, umm…I’ve been up all night working on my essay on the American Revolution.”

And MC is waving his arms before he, once again, facepalms. Jack hangs up and MC snaps, “Well, great. Now we have to write an essay on the goddamn American Revolution. We’re eating breakfast first.”

One pile of pancakes and a written report on the Battle of Lexington and Concord later, the two head over to the campus and MC gets in trouble with the administration because his car was at a bar all night and he smells like booze and vomit.

But regardless of the fact that his head permanently hurts from the amount of times he’s facepalmed, MC grows to care even more about Jack and their relationship only strengthens as time goes on, until MC is his surrogate father figure, eventually asking Jack if he wants to sleep on his couch for the remainder of the semester, giving his mother the much-needed break.

Again, I went on a ramble, but look! It’s after midnight which means I technically did wait until ‘tomorrow’ to talk about him.

"Red alert. I repeat, red alert."

The monotoned voice crackled in over the intercom, in panic. “RED ALERT. ALL AGENTS MUST BE ON STANDBY. 17 GUARDS WERE JUST GUNNED DOWN BY THE MID SECTION DOORS BY ONE PERSON. IF YOU SEE THEM, DO NOT HESITATE TO OPEN FIRE. KILL AT ALL COSTS—-” The voice died out with the sound of a gun shot, and another voice got on the intercom calmly. “Run, boys, run, the phoenix is back….” They cleared their throat, then finished the sentence in a deeper voice. “And Shes thristy for blood.”

101 Days of CS Drabbles - Day 38

Read from the beginning on FF.Net or AO3

For addicted2broadway89 and Anon

075:“Can you help me up, your child is pretty heavy.”

“Can you help me up, love?”

Emma looked down at Killian and saw him holding out his hook for her to take. Eva was fast asleep, cradled in his other arm, after a day of fun and laughter at the beach.

“I don’t wish to change arms and risk waking her, and now she’s getting heavier I can’t seem to get enough purchase,” he admitted, gesturing to the golden sand that surrounded them in frustration.

“Really?” she queried in amusement. “Didn’t you tell me just two days ago, that you could do anything with that hook?”

“Ah – I…”

“In fact, if I recall,” she continued, cutting him off, “you said that you could juggle six different kinds of fruit all at once and you also claimed to be able to hook fish right out of the ocean whenever your men got hungry.”

His cheeks reddened deeply and he reached up to awkwardly scratch behind his ear with the tip of his hook.

“You know, it’s not good form to remind a man of his foolishness after he imbibed more rum than was good for him,” he groused in obvious embarrassment when she finally stopped recounting his drunken ramblings from that particularly raucous evening out with his father-in-law.

Emma laughed.

“You mean you can’t do those things?”

“Not with any great success,” he muttered wryly.

Emma laughed harder, delighted in the knowledge that he’d probably attempted those things at some point and failed miserably.

“When you’ve quite finished, Swan,” he prompted in a long suffering tone as he held out his hook to her once more. “My leg is in danger of joining our daughter in slumber.”

Still chuckling, she reached out to help him up. In the blink of an eye, Eva was laying safely on the blanket to one side and Emma was laying flat on her back in the sand with her husband lightly pinning her down, a satisfied smirk on his handsome face.

“Smooth move,” she said with a breathless giggle.

“Well, I felt the need to show you something that I can do with my hook, love,” he informed her in a low voice.

“Yeah? What’s that then?”

Her breath caught as he brushed the metal lightly against the skin of her neck then slowly trailed it down between her breasts. Capturing her lips in a sweet kiss, he moved the hook lower and lower until Emma began to squirm restlessly against him. Then suddenly, he broke away. Pulling back a little, he held his hook aloft and she saw her car keys dangling from the end.

This,” he told her with a triumphant grin.

Emma’s eyes widened and then she burst out laughing at his crafty pickpocketing.

“You distracted me,” she accused happily.

“Pirate,” was the succinct reply and then he proved the point by plundering her lips once more.

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