Thursday, October 29, 2009
Image via Style Chronicles -
an example of am entry in a home that is charming and cozy rather than large and cold
I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every comment on my post on 'Trends that scream 2000s'; there was a lively and interactive discussion about what is trendy, what is classic, and the emerging trends in the homes that we are liking these days . I would also like to thank the Washington Post for selecting this post on their weekly 'Blog Watch' in the Home & Garden section (click here to go to the Blog Watch post).
One of my readers, the author of Style Chronicle, wrote a fantastic follow up post about possible directions for what will be in houses in the 2010s. I encourage you to go over and read her post, and throw in your opinion about emerging trends in architecture and design.
One of Style Chronicles' predictions: the scale of homes that are built over the next decade will be smaller and more intimate. Given the current economic climate, and the difficulty in attaining financing, homes that are being built now and over the next few years will surely be more thoughtfully considered, as they are being built with 'real money' (or at least a hefty down payment), not zero percent down, endless credit lines, credit card debt, or 110% financing offers. In Atlanta (inside the perimeter), there are very, very few builder spec homes that are in process right now.
Also, there has been a definite movement away from excess, and there is a certain cache to living frugally, or at a minimum living within your means (or for those with comfortable means, living a 'normal' lifestyle). The New York Times had an article about this subject recently: 'A Reluctance to Spend May Be Legacy of Recession'.
My question is this: what is your idea of a 'smaller and more intimate' home? When answering, make sure to note your geographic area. What is smaller and more intimate in New York City will certainly be different than something considered small and intimate in Atlanta, for example.
This home, at just over 5000 square feet, is certainly not a cottage, but neither is it a 'McMansion' despite its size. This is an older home that was beautifully made with architectural integrity, on a lot that is the right size for the home, and it adds a beautiful dimension to the Atlanta architectural landscape.
Related to this, there was a heated discussion about McMansions in the comment section of my recent post. In the Buckhead section of Atlanta, where a house that is 3500 square feet is considered a cottage, the McMansion definition seems to be quite different than what it might be in another area of the country. In the end, many of the readers agreed that it is not just the size of a house that defines it as a McMansion, but the poor craftsmanship, the emphasis on size over architectural integrity, the use of classic architectural features that are exaggerated, executed poorly, combined with other disparate architectural genres, and turned into a caricature. Another component of a McMansion home is that it often takes up virtually all of the land on its lot, and is clustered in close proximity with other brand spanking new overscale homes.
A very large home with a mixture of architectural styles (if it looks like a duck...)
This is a home (pictured above) that is large, but was designed by one of the nation's top architects, with an awareness of historical correctness, scale, and proportion. This property sits on two acres of land, which is in proportion to its size. The front fascade is decidedly French Norman (even the color of the shutters was meticulously researched and given a chalky gray green that is so often seen on shutters in Normandy), whereas the back is looser and reflects the needs of a 21st century family. A McMansion? Definitely not. As one of my readers pleaded "Please people, can we stop misusing this word. Just because a home is large or has a lot of square feet does not make it a "McMansion". The definition of McMansion is a large, architecturally dull, low quality house often times on a small lot. Thus the "Mc" part of the word which alludes to the cheapness of McDonalds. Does anyone believe that a large beautiful well executed design by a top tier architect such as McAlpine, Summerour, William T. Baker, etc. etc is a McMansion? I certainly don't."
Great discussion - this is the reason why I love to blog so much, because it enables me to find people out there who are actually interested in these kind of topics!