50 States of McMansion Hell: Fairfax and Loudoun County, Virginia
Howdy folks! This post has been months in the making. Scouring the hell that is the McMansion Trenches of Virginia for only the best (worst) houses for your viewing pleasure generated some truly awful contenders. Of all the counties in Virginia, it was the wealthiest DC suburban counties of Fairfax and Loudoun that delivered. I won’t leave you hanging longer than I already have, so without further ado, the countdown:
#10: The Trellis Terror (Loudoun County)
The scrunched up piles of roof and narrow windows are a casualty of trying to squeeze the biggest possible house complete with not one but two garages into the smallest imaginable lot. The second story over-the-garage trellis aims to invoke the Tuscan countryside, but ends up looking like a bad strip mall Olive Garden instead.
#9: Tricorn Turret (Loudoun County)
The consistency of cladding materials and window shapes make this house more well put-together than most McMansions. However it made the list for obvious reasons: a substantial and precipitous roofline, a rare triple turret dormer assembly, and that bizarre skeletal stone porch thing transform this house from country estate to ridiculous Hummer house.
#8: Fort Void (Loudoun County)
Usually the problem of McMansions is too many large windows, in this case it’s too many small windows, all of them different from one another as if this house was just a front for the Pella Window showroom. The monotonous brick swallows the windows giving the house a fortress-y aura. The juxtaposition of pastoral rolling farmland with an equally ugly house right next door is particularly choice.
#7: Mt. Nub’s Revenge (Loudoun County)
This house is a perfect example of how, even when they try really really hard, McMansions are incapable of symmetry. The more you look at this house the more “spot the difference” elements you find: the weird short colonnade vs the five-bay picture window; the length of the two wings, the roofline of the right wing is for some reason broken up because God is dead. And then there’s that nub.
#6: Sticker Shock (Loudoun County)
This robust residence is absolutely chaotic. No two gables are the same. Stone is applied liberally and without logical consistency. Gutters trail down columns and crevices. Every window antagonizes its neighbor. The only thing over which any control has been exerted is nature itself, repressed and dominated by a monocultural expanse of grass. Normally I am not so blunt, but I will be today: I hate this house.
#5: Chonky Corinthian
There is a certain type of house that is very popular in Fairfax County. It consists of a hulking range of hipped roofs punctured by a central (?) portico supported by columns that can only be described as thicc. This is one of these houses. The people who built this house could not decide when they were done building it. One can only assume that the myriad plans for this house were saved with file names like “House″ “House 2″ “House 2 final” “House 2 final final” “House 2 FINAL FINAL FOR REAL THIS TIME”
#4: Mad Hatter (Fairfax County)
First of all, this home is way too long. It just keeps going. It’s like six different houses stitched together. Roofs begin and end. Porches come and go. Two stories somehow transform into one. By the time the eye reaches the front entrance, one is already exhausted. Finally, whoever decided to take the phrase “nesting gables” and apply it in this way deserves a trial at the Hague.
#3: Tragic “Tudor” (Fairfax County)
This is the house equivalent of an identity crisis. Elements of French, English, and Donald Trump commingle to produce a truly formidable facade. All of the landscaping choices in this post are sad, but this house takes the cake for most depressing scenery, and not just because it was photographed in winter. Stubby shrubs appear to be gasping for breath, what trees exist are mere, unstable sticks; beside the pergola, a fallen cypress.
#2: Foaming at the Mouth (Fairfax County)
This is a classic McMansion: it does its best to look dignified and imposing and instead appears cartoonish and cheap. Every element of this house except perhaps the wooden door is derived from petroleum products. The massive transom screams “climate denialism.” The grand entrance is overdone and top-heavy to the point of parody. In short: I hope this house melts.
#1: Brick Behemoth
If you combine all of the insipid elements of the other houses: mismatched windows; massive, chaotic rooflines; weird asphalt donut landscaping; pompous entrances, and tacked on masses; you’d get this house. The more one looks at this house the more upsetting it becomes. The turrets don’t match. The roofline is truly mountainous. The windows are either too small or too big for the walls they are housed in. The carhole is especially car hole-y. What sends this one over the top is its surroundings: lush trees and clear skies that have been desecrated in order to build absolute garbage. At least it doesn’t have shutters.
Well, that’s it for Virginia! Stay tuned for another installment of “The Brutalism Post” - this time about what Brutalism actually is.