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cecilia_md7a

Your LEAST favorite old (or not-so-old) house architectural style

cecilia_md7a
19 years ago

I added the not-so-old designation because my least favorite is the split-level, which seems to have had its heyday maybe fifty years ago at the most. To me it epitomizes suburbia of the era in the same way that McMansions do now. I've never lived in one, though, so maybe there are benefits to the design that I just don't know about.

Comments (76)

  • velodoug
    19 years ago

    We have a nice mix of houses in our little town on the Jersey Shore. Construction has been more or less continuous from 1800 to today, with two significant spurts. A lot of big foursquares were built between 1910 and 1920 and a lot of little capes and ranches were built between 1945 and 1955. I like ALL of the pre-WWII houses (which range in size from 600 sq ft cottages to 6,000 sq ft mansions), SOME of the little capes and ranches (those that are more or less original looking), and NONE of the houses built since we moved here in 1973 except for one, but it's an amazingly accurate counterfeit of a late 19th century two-story. Old is good.

    Doug

  • Ina Plassa_travis
    19 years ago

    gotta go with frenchie...

    shoddy's my least favorite style. I can deal with anything, as long as it's solidly constructed- I'll take a volvo over a Mustang any day.

    but I think the style that bothers me the most is 'mishmash'... there's a Mc Mansion on my folks' road that's got hacienda tiled roof and a Plantations style entrance with greek columns and New Orleans style wrought iron railings...

    it looks like a 4 year old dressed up in auntie's old halloween costumes.

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  • sue36
    19 years ago

    There are so few I DO like that this list could be long,, but here goes....Split levels would have to be near the top. Especially when people try to pretend they are something else - like a Tudor split level or the lovely antebellum south split with huge columns. Yeesh.

    I also dislike when a house is totally ill suited to its location - a Florida house in upstate New York, a south western style in Boston, a salt box in Mississippi - you get the idea.

    A new house where they either didn't want to part with the money to dig a full 8' for the cellar or hit water and didn't want to install drainage, so there are like 8 steps going up to the front door of a house that is not supposed to be raised, like a colonial. Drives me crazy. Particularly common in McMansion neighborhoods. Maybe the builder thinks it looks more stately. I think it looks goofy.

    I also agree on the "snout house" thing. They are not common around here, except as condos. But it seems to be all that is built in some parts of the country. Often in "Poltergeist" neighborhoods. Remember that movie? Hundreds of identical houses on tiny lots, going on for miles. I'd never seen something like that before that movie.

  • frenchgirl2838
    19 years ago

    Sigh... I still like my split level. LOL. I know I know. Many lived in them growing up or had friends that did and they were just the ugliest house ever! However, as I've grown older, I'm more accepting and I truly appreciate the lines of some of the better constructed ones. Note here the stress on better built. I know many of you think "not possible" however, I disagree. Some dear friends of mine purchased a house several years ago that was built in the early 60's for someone that had money to put into it. The house has some incredible features like two huge fireplaces, one field stone, one brick, oak floors throughout, wood paneling like I've never seen in any other house in the area, beautiful stuff, not the cheesy brown 70's stuff you see everywhere, a custom kitchen that was top of the line at the time the house went it, and good quality throughout. The house screams for Danish Modern but it's not their taste, however, the house is tastefully decorated with a really metropolitan feel and looks great. The outside includes a two level stone patio with a circular stone walk to the front entry and a huge stone patio in the rear of the house. Believe me, it doesn't scream Brady bunch kitch.

  • binsb
    19 years ago

    I don't know what you call it but the houses are basically squares with roofs and a few non-descript windows. Blah. Kind of like the 50's ranch homes built in California.

    I'll echo Kashka Kat's sentiments - cookie cutter makes me cringe. I grew up in a cookie cutter house that somehow found itself as the lone one in an older, established neighborhood. STRANGE. Even stranger when the rest of the cookie cutter houses were actually several miles from our house! The people in our neighborhood must have thought our house was the blight of the neighborhood!

    Houses with widow's walks give me the willies - probably read too many romantic/suspense novels.

    I love the Spanish Colonial, Dutch, & Tudor revival homes of the 1920's. Love houses with sweeping porches - ala southern plantation style.

    HOWEVER - I've seen here & other places where people have done wonders with their homes regardless of whether I liked the style of architecture or not.

  • sojay
    19 years ago

    Any house that is among a whole neighborhood of similar houses.
    Anything too forced and pompous. Like greek revival and fake tudor. Or anything with monstrous columns. yuck!

    Split levels are close to the top of my list also. I've seen a few split levels that were really nice architecturally to both look at and live in, but most split leves out there are like raised ranches. They seem forced. They want to be taller and then they loose the advantage of being level with the ground. The older ranches were THE thing. Beautifully connected with the outdoors, lots of windows, well situated on their sites.. But then they were mass produced in cookie cutter fashion with boxy floor plans.

    I actually think that VICTORIANS and COLONIALS with closed up rooms, dark and introverted with small windows, are my least favorite to live in. But the symmetrical windows of colonials give a calmness to the outside, that I don't dislike. Victorians are too fussy in detail outside for me.

    (my favorites would be prairie style (Wright), bungalows, 50s ranches (Neutra), glass box moderns (Phillip Johnson), and daring contemporaries, or, from outside of the US: Australian farmhouses, provençal stone houses, English cottages, Scandinavian stockwork houses, old Italian stucco villas... Honest, well constructed, with character, non-nonsense, not too much embellishment. I LOVE the blend of something really old and very contemporary)

  • lawnslayer
    19 years ago

    I also despise the garage-door facade style homes. It's more than just dislike, I find this style of home hostile and arrogant. There's no sense of "facing" the neighborhood -- it's as if each house is an island unto itself. You drive up (you would never want to approach one of these on foot), you press the garage remote, the door opens, you drive in, close the door behind you, and you hide in your little coccoon until the next day, when you drive out again. These homes are often built in clusters (I hesitate to call then "neighborhoods"), and these clusters often have sidewalks, although I can't imagine why. These houses definitely make a statement, and the statement it makes for the homeowner is: "the most important thing in my life is not my family, my friends or my neighbors -- it's my car(s)."

    Two other styles I don't care for are the mock-tudor and the raised ranch. Take an otherwise non-descript cookie-cutter house and try to jazz it up with some slap-on stucco and dark trim. Who's fooling who? However, I don't mind more traditional tudors, house with some character where the "tudor" look is integral inside and out. As for the raised ranch, I always thought they were a bit of cheat, neither fish nor fowl, essentially a ranch with a finished basement, where the living is done on two levels, but the two levels aren't integrated, so there's kind of an upstairs-downstairs kind of feel. The there's the front entrance with stairs going up and down. Do you go up or go down? Good home design shouldn't leave you guessing.

    Now after I've said all that about mock-tudors and raised ranches, I must confess that I will soon be the proud owner of a mock-tudor raised ranch. What can I say, it was a nice house in a good location that had the rooms and the space we needed at a price we could afford. Also, my wife grew up in a raised ranch, so for her, it's a bit like going home.

    My favorite house style is the craftsman bungalow style home, fwiw.

  • CantFindAHome
    19 years ago

    The DW and I hate what we like to call "Brick Bricks."
    Subdivisions where all the trees have been cut down and every house you see is made of red brick.
    (say it fast) Brickbrickbrickbrickbrickbrick!!!!!
    Ugh!

  • Agent_P
    19 years ago

    Can't stand new garage-fronted ranch style's that won't even be standing in 30 years, built by the thousands in subdivisions everywhere right now.

    My most favorite is definately the bungalow, 1920's - '30's bungalows.

  • Agent_P
    19 years ago

    Incidentally my wife and I just bought a bungalow built in 1920, but the previous owners remodeled it and totally removed all the old woodwork, including a pair of 8 foot tall French doors, which, thankfully they left in the basement. They slapped on some vinyl siding, and used that awful fake mobile home foam core w/veneer trim all through the house. I'm really going to enjoy ripping all that junk back out :)

  • spambdamn_rich
    19 years ago

    I'm not too fond of the "snout nose" garage-in-front rancher either, but they are extremely common here in California.

    They are not all that anti-social, though. Usually the male occupants can be seen on weekends with the garage door open, and neighbors can come by and socialize about the latest projects, etc. In some ways they are more social than a stately home with a wrought iron fence and gate.

    And speaking of stately homes... not too fond of the pretentious 2-3 story home squeezed onto a too-small lot. A friend once described them as "tonka toy castles", and that was back in the 70's. Now they've become a scourge of Silicon Valley, with cash-rich new owners tearing down modest little bungalows and putting up these monsters.

    My current home is sort of old - 64 years young. Originally an 1100 sq ft bungalow, with about 450 sq feet of master/bed bath added on discreetly to the back of the home in the 60's. From up in the attic and under the crawl it's possible to see the differences in construction techniques between 1940 and 1965.

    My favorite home style: The Craftsman style bungalow, with a front porch that is tucked under the main roof. The porch is open and runs the width of the front of the home, with a central stairway. Not pretentious at all, and the big porch is great for summer nights.

  • buddyben
    19 years ago

    Least favorite in this area: small, plain, boxy, stucco houses where the owner has yanked out the single front door and installed ornate double doors with gold hardware. Add some Old World street lamps on the front lawn that don't even light up. Folks, you can't polish a turd.

  • bungalowbees
    19 years ago

    Muddled.

    But I adore the big-hearted fearless folk relentlessly at work un-muddling!

  • klimkm
    19 years ago

    1. Three car garage doors right on the front, (because you need a three car garage otherwise you will die - two will not do!) built on such a narrow lot that you only have about 15 more feet off to the side for your front doorway.
    2. Anything with Gable overload syndrome
    3. Cheap construction 70s raised ranches. I hate the floor plans of everyone I have been in. (Regular ranches OK - easy to fix up to look cute).
    4. Anything that is enormous, white and has columns that is not south of the Mason-Dixon line...
    5. Mansard roofs.

    Like best -
    1. Bungalow style
    2. anything super modern or art deco.
    3. Authentic colonial (not 70s repro-colonial)

    hee-hee exempt employee housing.... love that!!!

  • CherylAP
    18 years ago

    Hi-ranches. Ugh. Who dreamed up that version of hell, anyway?

  • esga
    18 years ago

    Gotta join the garage-with-house-attached crowd.

  • mrsmarv
    18 years ago

    Raised ranches...yawn
    Tract...yikes
    McMansions...yuck

  • Happyladi
    18 years ago

    Isn't a ranch just a home that is all on one level? What is bad about that? I think it is very convenient.

    My least favorite are homes that are all garage up front where you can hardly see the front door.

  • holly2305
    18 years ago

    I am curious about these "garage-in-front" houses. Are they shaped like a "T" or an "L"? Why is the garage entrance in the front yard? Is there an advantage in terms of space or privacy?
    Not that I'm from Mars, but I live on Cape Cod and we honestly don't have that style here.

  • GaleForce
    18 years ago

    Holly,

    I think the issue is that lots are itty bitty in new construction yet you want to be able to pull up into your driveway. So the space for three cars takes up a huge portion of the property's width, leaving a bit of space for an entry way. I don't know that they are a T or an L. The houses I have been have been more like a big block with most of the front devoted to the garage.

    Amanda

  • buddyben
    18 years ago

    My guess about garages in the front: I think the garage in front is cheaper to build because then you don't have to build a detached garage. Also, if you put a detached garage in the back, you have to leave room for a driveway running down the side of the house. If you have a garage in front, then you can make your house wider since you don't have to leave room all along the length of the house for a driveway. Plus garages in front seem to have a huge amount of concrete where the owner can park 3 or 4 cars in front of his garage, which is usually too full of stuff for the car anyway.

  • westranch
    18 years ago

    Unpainted anodized aluminum windows, crumbling stucco, dark wood paneling, red shag carpeting with slivers of orange and black, jockey statues, pink flamingos, carports, mid century modern and houseboats. (Do houseboats count?) I'm not picky, I just know what I like.

  • phyllis_philodendron
    18 years ago

    "Gable overload syndrome..." LOL!

    Some (ok, most) of the new "McMansion" (and not so McMansion) constructon is downright hideous. When i lived and worked in SE PA it was just overrun with these types of places. Here in Western New York it's just creeping in - what were previously open fields are slowly being replaced with these monstrosities.

    Other types of architecture I don't like are Tudor and ditto on the Mansard roof. How ugly is that?!

    I will stick to a foursquare with character or a bungalow, please. At this point anything is better than what we're doing now. (An apartment in a dormitory, ugh)

    My parents have a modular home and really like it (most of the time). I love it, considering it's a massive improvement over the drafty, old, crappy brick home they used to have. It's got a nice open floor plan, insulated windows, and it's pretty low maintenance, which is good for them.

  • pdxjules
    18 years ago

    Any house that prominently displays a garage
    feels to me to have messed-up priorities.

    In Portland, Oregon - which is wonderfully packed with neighborhood activists, we held a variety of public discussions, then passed a City Ordinance outlawing garages that stick out. It is known as the "snout house" law - and a copy can be sent to your organization if you want to get started on adopting it. Any neighborhood facing urban density _infill_ land policies - really needs to consider this - and perhaps adopting additional architectural standards and approval processes - or you can wind up with this sub-standard stuff right next door...as I did with a garage crammed 8'away from my 113 y-o wrap-around porch. I can no longer sit out there and enjoy nature.

    Unfortunately, the building Code for new single-fam houses (on traditional 50x100 size lots anyway) requres a garage however, but they cannot stick out in front or dominate the arcitecture.

    Too bad to require garages at all in the city, I say - and this is echoed by some "Smart-Growth" advocates.
    25-30% of US Adults use Public Transit...
    and many of us prefer active living space to garages...
    and finished space also repays at a higher appreciation rate...which ultimatley means security for everyone's Retirement fund.

    I have seen 4 households within 2 blocks of my home using their garages as open-air family rooms, or children's play-rooms. I may take pictures and bring this to the attention of the city, and request to have the Code amended for transit-friendly and family neighborhoods. (All these folks do appear to use their driveway for off-street parking of cars) For my part, if I had help, I'd tear out half of my LONG blacktop carport too, for more planting space.

  • siobhanny5
    18 years ago

    At this point I would be relieved to see a McMansion go up on a plot of land where I live.

    Now what happens: big old house gets sold (or someone sells their backyard, or a side plot) to a builder, who comes along and insert a new side street when you wouldn't even dream it was possible, construct 10 to 20 heinous-looking tall and skinny townhomes all squished around a blacktop parking area with no sidewalks or landscaping save for a handful of six-inch wide strips of grass between houses. It's awful. This is NYC where anyone can come along to a tree-lined street of old homes and do something like this.

    Tacky fake stone, Roman columns (even in front of a cape or ranch--LOL), and PINK "brick" are also popular materials of choice where I live.

  • buddyben
    18 years ago

    I agree about the Roman columns - like they are living in some sort of palace! I also hate the overuse of decorative urns flanking the walkway. My favorite is the house across the street with a tall rose standard (tall, straight, bare skinny trunk with ball of roses on top) stuck in a grecian urn. And with the nursery's planting guide card still tied to the trunk, blowing in the wind.

  • buckeyemom
    18 years ago

    My least favorite houses are the ones built in the 70's. Seems even if they are colonial, ranch, split level whatever, they all have either "no" woodwork (to speak of) or it's very narrow. Of course, I did live in one (a ranch) and liked it while I was there, but would never buy one again.

    I grew up in a 1910 farmhouse and now live in a 1880 Victorian Italianate. I like OLD OLD OLD. There are some things I miss about modern like an attached garage, but hey, I can live without some things.

    This was a fun thread.

  • windypoint
    18 years ago

    My least favourite style? The standard cream brick small-roomed hip-roofed Australian suburban monstrosity of the 70's. There's not much you can do with the outside of those things, jazzing them up is like putting lipstick on a pig. Unless you are willing to pull off the roof and build upwards in a different style, maybe render over the brick, you are stuck with the most banal style ever. And inside some of them have floorplans that are innovative in a bad way.

    My most favourite style? Large bungalows, known locally as Gentleman's Bungalows. Small bungalows are just so so, but large ones are incredible. And I like large Victorian mansions with a touch of the storybook about them too.

    As far as the housing style that makes me most uneasy, I don't much like the way modern townhouses are being constructed of giant sheets of concrete hauled into place by cranes. What happens if they experience a little subsidence?

    Here is a link that might be useful: the horror, the horror!

  • jakabedy
    18 years ago

    Gee whiz. I'm so late to this thread and all the best (worst?) ones are already taken. I think I'll focus on architectural "features."

    How about the oversized, useless 2-story entrance foyer? Or the tract housing that is "custom" because every third house features a flipped floor plan?

    Wait - this is it! It's not on any particular style, but THE FLOATING CHIMNEY! You've seen them. The fireplace is not wood-burning, so no need for a masonry chimney. But they go ahead and build the chimney for looks -- only the bottom of the chimney stops at the floor level of the fireplace room, and hovers over the ground by 5-10 feet. Shoot, you built the fake chimney all the way to the roof, would the extra five feet have killed you?

  • bemily
    18 years ago

    The garage in front is part of the SoCal lifestyle. Plunk it down in your neighborhood and it wouldn't work. I've been complaining about it for the 16 years I've been in San Diego (that and lack of walkability and a town center). I was born/raised in NYC in Rockaway beach in a 1920's house with a huge wraparound porch. Here, the focus is on the backyard where everyone has their own pool and everything is fenced off...privacy is big. You pull into your garage, go in to your house and backyard and never have to see anybody because you don't go out your front door to walk anywhere anyway. I just got back from Westchester where there are no fences between homes, maybe a small hedge. What a nice sense of openess. I found the SD neighborhood thats most like NY; near a university (progressive minds), lots of healthy older people (people walk) and so on.We actually have made good use of the in front garage. It faces sideways which with the driveway creates a cozy? area...husband tooling around at the workbench, me doing laundry...kids playing. Would never use it to park the car!

  • coral_ok
    18 years ago

    Our house! We've lived here thirty years and the kids loved growing up here, but now I feel stuck. It's a 1914 two-story white farmhouse-style (in town) with black shutters and a huge front porch along the front of the house. That's the good part. It's a balloon frame house with many small rooms, and nearly all the walls are load-bearing. That is obviously the bad part. Every room is pretty much cut off from the others.

  • lithigin
    18 years ago

    $800K+, 3000sf homes (McMansions, perhaps) on 1/4 acre lots. Hello, welcome to your neighbor's windows that are 12 feet away! Today, you'll be treated to a view of them eating breakfast, walking up the stairs in their 2-story foyer (also a bit of a useless peeve), and brushing their teeth in the bathroom window just adjacent from your own two-story-tall foyer window! Yuck.

    I'm shocked at how many "developments" near my parents (suburban Philadelphia) have these outrageously priced homes on embarrassing lot sizes. I'll take my little square 1500sf 1940 home that fits nicely on my 1/3 acre, thankyouverymuch.

  • buddyben
    18 years ago

    I WISH my neighbors were 12 feet away! They are 7 feet away across a concrete driveway which is so narrow that the city won't let me build a fence along the driveway on my side of the property line. When the mother stands at the kitchen sink, she yells at her kids and since she is standing at the sink, her voice goes right out the window above the sink, across the driveway, and into my bedroom. Her voice is actually louder than my TV is. Luckily she is speaking Armenian so my tendency to eavesdrop is nixed.!! Both houses were built in the 1920's. Sometimes i think that for 80 years, whoever lived in my house before me probably hated the situation as much as I do now! If the houses were built today, there would be a 6 foot setback on either side of the property line. And a fence!

  • aspiringcontractor
    18 years ago

    I HATE houses with the garage door that is parrallel to the road. A horrible way to present a home to the passer-byers.

  • ChinaTX
    18 years ago

    I don't think anyone mentioned A Frames and Dome Houses. That has to be on my list of worst styles.

  • westranch
    18 years ago

    Ditto on McMansions. Any new subdivision w/o trees is a major turnoff. Zero lot lines, powerlines. Any home with an extremely busy roofline. Additions that look like afterthoughts that were just tacked on. Visibly shoddy/cheap construction. Four bedroom homes that are hidden behind three huge garage doors. Did I leave anything out?

  • valtog
    18 years ago

    Wow, it was great to hear that my craftsman bungalow is so well loved! I paid my dues, growing up in a circa 1850ish house with a mansard roof and good gawd...pink aluminum siding! I think that my father covered every surface in the house with some kind of gross, cheap paneling.

    I noticed the "moment of silence" posts..please...I need at least a few.....I bought an 1895 farmhouse 10 years ago...it was so cosmetically awful inside that dh looked in the window and said.."Do you REALLY want to look at this?" It was a vacant foreclosure (we weren't peeping toms:) We did look inside and it was dirt cheap, but was structurally sound, had good bones, just needed a new boiler to be habitable and just "felt good". We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears and a few $$ into that house over the next 9 years. We decided to move last year (for better schools and a shorter commute) We bought our bungalow..now the really sad part......:((( When we owned the farmhouse, DH and I argued about getting new replacement windows. I said, okay, but they have to be architecturally correct wood windows. Or we could reglaze and get some good storms. I knew that he was too "fiscally conservative" to go for the new ones and we always planned to do the glazing and storms, but never got around to it...okay, I'll get to the point...My husband drove by our old house last month. He came home and said, "Val, you were right. (!) The new owners put in vinyl replacements and they look like sh!t." He told me they also replaced the beautiful original wood doors with some new crap that just looks stupid. This is from a man that I don't trust to pick out my daughter's clothes. I know this is stupid, I don't even own the house anymore, but it still breaks my heart. Thanks for letting me vent.

  • corgilvr
    18 years ago

    My issue spans styles. I despise shutters which do not function. You know, the ones that don't fit the size of the window they would cover and are screwed or nailed onto the wall next to the window. What is their function?

    I think I could love any honest architectural style. I dislike anything that pretends to be something it isn't.

  • gina_in_fl
    18 years ago

    McMansions are the worst offenders, especially in 'gated communities' in FL. The only ones that can afford them are the retirees that want the prestige of living on a golf course. They have no kids, but get 5 bedrooms, 2 or 3 living rooms, formal dining rooms, a library, a den, an "incidental" room. WTF???

    I have three houses in FL that I like to refer to as "concrete shacks". They are solidly built, all different floor plans (even though on the same block), and no stairs! Gotta love them.

    My house in NJ is a ranch with a finished basement. When I come here, I only sleep upstairs. Full kitchen, TV room etc. downstairs. I'm 1/2 block from the beach that I used to be able to see,,,,, but then someone filled in the hillside and built a monstrosity,,, someone else next to them fell in suit, and now I've got to walk to the end of the block to see the beach anymore. May the Gods that Be strike the McMansions!!!

  • sharon_sd
    18 years ago

    In Switzerland, before someone is given a building permit, they have to erect a stick outline of the structure. The neighbours are then invited to make official comment on how the new structure would impact their views. The view is something that seems to belong to the neighbourhood, not to the individual closest to the mountain.

  • steph_il
    18 years ago

    I also don't like the McMansions that have no character at all.

    I can't stand houses with the garages sticking way out front, with the garage doors facing the road, and the entry to the doorway is like a cave. You can hardly see the front door.

    I can't stand cookie cutter houses.

    For some reason, the new look of the front of the house brick, but the remaing 3 sides vinyl bugs me. Pick one medium and go with it. I also don't like when people do things to the house, because it is the trend. For example, when every new home, 1 story or 2, had to have huge palladian windows added.

  • glennsfc
    18 years ago

    The fact that some people actually like what we call the "McMansion-style home" is amazing. We have scads of them here...and the bigger and more ostentatious the better.

    I just don't get it.

  • gina_in_fl
    18 years ago

    My real "pig" issue is that one of the affore mensioned "mcMansions" kept a couple of garage walls up after they had a fire supported by 2x4's. Guess there waw some sort of 'grandfather clause'. The house is now grotesque.

    FWIW: Between the two houses, on 4/July, there were 27 vehicles parked and nobody parked on the street. Talk about 'overbuild'?????????

    I guess I pissed them off last year when I asked guests "what part of NO PARKING don't you understand.
    Didn't get invited to the party this year either.

  • edie_arkansas
    17 years ago

    I agree with auntjen and Kframe about houses that are out of place in their setting - like the "castle" in Texas that was mentioned or a "Spanish hacienda" in the Ozarks. I know one that has cactuses and everything. I guarantee you the person who built it is not a native of the area, so if you love that style so much, why not live somewhere where it is appropriate?

    Of course, ditto everything about the McMansions. A particular pet peeve of mine is when people build these absurd houses - cheaply made but with these "grand" proportions and features - and then they stick their same old tacky furniture in there that doesn't match the house in either style or proportion.

  • aprilwhirlwind
    17 years ago

    Split entry. McMansions don't count. They have no style.

  • sombreuil_mongrel
    17 years ago

    The peeve of mine that gets the best workout has to be improper detailing of porches or porticos that folks are trying to make appear classically-inspired. Seems like most of the time the lintels are larger or thicker than the column underneath - a big no-no. Then, the entablature is compressed to fit under the eaves or second floor window line so much so that the proportions are further distorted. It is also likely that the columns are some mishmash of style, composition or proportion.
    If the beam is arched, it appears it was cut freehand with a jigsaw, without regard to any evenness or flow to the curving line.
    The overhanging portions are quite often botched, too. From zero overhang to a fascia that is equal in visual weight to the lintel, we see it all around here. You might expect this on starter homes or where an owner/builder is in charge, but on houses double the median price?
    I do go on, but I'll finish with this-- good proportions don't cost more than poor ones.
    Casey

  • aprilwhirlwind
    17 years ago

    "improper detailing of porches or porticos", etc.
    That's the thing that really got to me when architects rediscovered "Victorian" and started designing "victorian" houses. The proportions of doors and windows was always wrong, so the whole building always looked wrong.
    Just a bit of an eye for detail, proportion and balance would be good. This doesn't mean slavishly copying what are now exhorbitantly expensive mouldings. Things can be simplified to fit people's pocketbooks, yet still somehow look "right"

  • misslori
    17 years ago

    I skimmed most of this thread, and I may be the only one that likes the Mansard roof. I think they're kinda cool.

    This may be blasphemy to some -- but of the older houses, I'm not a huge fan of the Prairie style (at least on the outside). And although I grew up in one, the Four Square isn't my favorite of old house styles. I see so many of them here looking pretty run down though, so that probably taints my opinion somewhat.

    As for more modern, I laugh everytime I see an A frame house. I agree that the worst is the Raised Ranch or Split Level Ranch.

  • aprilwhirlwind
    17 years ago

    Ok, since you said it first....cause I had written it and erased it. Call me a coward, or just too "nice" to say it, because a lot of people nowadays seem to love them. I'm not wild about Foursquares either. I've seen scads and scads and scads of them. Some do have lovely interior detailing, but they were designed as biggest bang for the buck homes.
    I must say something in defense of the raised ranch, though. One that is properly set on the right lot and appropriately landscaped can look quite nice. Our first house was a 1962 model.We turned it into the nicest house on the block. A few years after we sold it, our kids reported that "Mom, they ruined our house! Those people just ruined it! It's ugly now!"

  • msafirstein
    17 years ago

    McMansions aside, my least favorite is a Spanish style house in the Midwest. Nothing looks so stupid and we have scads of them in Northern IL.

    Next is probably the cookie cutter brick-ranch-no-basement (anyone know who designed this eyesore) on the Southside of Chicago...geesh if the little bits of trim were not painted you could not tell 1 house from another.

    Then of course there is the trilevel. Another dream of a home, probably designed by a relative of the Chicago South Side Squatter Homes.

    Any thing with original aluminum siding or a garage that sticks out from the house. I guess the 'garage door' is architectural detail worth emphasizing????

    I could go on but all in all what happened to good design between 1940-NOW?