Monday, August 23, 2010

McMansions are over

By Robyn Davis Sekula

For most of the first few years of working as a freelance writer, I penned articles on garish homes for a local magazine. Let's just leave it at that and not name the magazine, shall we?

I'm not writing for them anymore, and I'd like to tell you it's because I grew a conscience and disdained the lifestyle these homes represented. That's not why. I stopped writing for them because they stopped calling me.

The houses were interesting when the owners themselves had collected, arranged and chosen the objects inside. They were dull, lifeless, cavernous palaces when the owners had turned over all decorating tasks to a designer. Ho-hum.

What they all had in common, though, short of just a few I saw, was that they were too darn big. In many cases, the homes were occupied by a couple, maybe a grown child and lots of expensive objects. Many would definitely fall under the heading McMansions, buff brick castles that I liked to call of the Something European or Something Else style. To my mind, it's just wasteful, particularly to build a new home that's 7,500 square feet for just two people.

Financially, such a home makes little sense. Such a house often has a high level of debt, and the energy bills would be predictably high. Don't try to tell me you're building a green McMansion. Ridiculous. Building new is not green. We've grown addicted in America to larger, bigger, and presumably better homes and cars, and it's to our detriment.

CNBC heralded the news recently that the McMansion era is over. Well, thank God. I'm glad to hear it. Read on for the full funeral details.

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