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Old 03-14-2010, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,332,800 times
Reputation: 6895

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It has to be single family to be a McMansion. And, not all small-lot houses are McMansions, since it's dependent upon scale. Renaissance used to build for the McMansion set, if you're familiar with them, before the company was sold to WCI. A McMansion may also be illuminated by more outdoor lights than one would find on the runway at Dulles.
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All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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Old 03-14-2010, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,773,174 times
Reputation: 18989
Here's another one to ponder:

http://www.smonroesells.com/sitebuilder/images/Scarborough_listing_001-226x164.jpg (broken link)

This house has vinyl siding. It fills most of the lot. The homes on this street are built to fill the width of each lot, the only thing that separates them from each other are driveways. I used to be able to look out the kitchen window and read the headlines on the paper that the guy next door had on his table. The tree in front of this house fell down in a storm, so the lawn is bare except for a sapling. Sure sounds like a McMansion, right?

Nope, it's a house on the street where I was born. The neighbohood was built in 1920. The homes are almost identical.
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:55 PM
 
4,711 posts, read 10,858,188 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
Here's another one to ponder:



This house has vinyl siding. It fills most of the lot. The homes on this street are built to fill the width of each lot, the only thing that separates them from each other are driveways. I used to be able to look out the kitchen window and read the headlines on the paper that the guy next door had on his table. The tree in front of this house fell down in a storm, so the lawn is bare except for a sapling. Sure sounds like a McMansion, right?

Nope, it's a house on the street where I was born. The neighbohood was built in 1920. The homes are almost identical.

Well it certainly didn't have vinyl siding when it was built in 1920!

But it would depend where a house is....small lots were the norm in some cities even in 1920, because in-town land was scarce. The house where my mother was born in New Haven, CT was purchased by my grandfather in 1918. But when the the neighborhood was built in 1900, purchasers could buy multiple lots if they wanted more distance from their neighbors. The original owners of grandpa's house bought three lots and the house was built on the middle one.
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Old 03-14-2010, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,773,174 times
Reputation: 18989
Quote:
Originally Posted by car54 View Post
Well it certainly didn't have vinyl siding when it was built in 1920!

But it would depend where a house is....small lots were the norm in some cities even in 1920, because in-town land was scarce. The house where my mother was born in New Haven, CT was purchased by my grandfather in 1918. But when the the neighborhood was built in 1900, purchasers could buy multiple lots if they wanted more distance from their neighbors. The original owners of grandpa's house bought three lots and the house was built on the middle one.
Actually, in the name of complete disclosure I'm not 100% sure this is one of the houses that had the siding done. I couldn't find a photo of our house, so I grabbed one off the internet of a neighbor's house that's for sale. It's identical to ours, so I figured it could make the same point. (It wasn't a copyright image, BTW.)

They redid the siding on most of the houses on that street in two waves. Back in the early 70's one of the neighbors was an aluminum siding salesman and several of the houses did it then. Then about 7-8 years ago a bunch got the vinyl siding. A bunch of the neighbors got together and got a group deal from a local company. It may sound weird but the original wood siding on those houses wasn't well done and was starting to have problems. Plenty of older homes were built of inferior materials and had poor design. I know a lot of people think older house=well built, and yes some old homes were well built--but many weren't. My neighborhood was lower middle class and our houses weren't the best. We had a chimney that was so dangerous we couldn't use it. We lit it one time--after that we realized the construction was so inferior that using the fireplace would burn the house down. Back then, you just lived with problems like that. Homes didn't have to pass the same inspection standards that we have today.

Last edited by normie; 03-14-2010 at 02:59 PM..
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Old 03-14-2010, 03:05 PM
 
3,164 posts, read 6,117,452 times
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Good point Normie! Why does everyone assume that old equals good? Many city homes, and close in suburbs, were built to accommodate working class people. They were made cheaply and were very small on small lots. They were all the workers could afford for their families. Who would want to go back to that?!
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Old 03-14-2010, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,773,174 times
Reputation: 18989
You know what, it may not have been the best built house in the world but I'll never put it down. It was all my father could afford and he was so proud just to be able to move his family out of an apartment. It may not have been much, but he was proud of it and was always trying to fix it up. I have a lot of happy memories of that house.
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Old 03-14-2010, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,332,800 times
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Friends of mine bought a house like that in Arlington, one with a history. It had been marketed as a tear-down, and they bought it as such, planning to construct a new house that you'd find in an older suburb, not a flashy McMansion with trendy features. However, all that changed when they had a knock on the door from two ladies who were daughters of the original owner. They wanted to look around before the inevitable tear down was to commence, since someone they knew in the neighborhood told them that the house had sold as such. They stayed for hours, reminiscing, and explaining how their father had done much to renovate/build as the family expanded, converting part of the attic, etc.

Well, long story short, after that visit, my friends could not demolish that house, since they bought it when they were expecting their first child -- and the tie to family, even not their own was just too special for them. They added on to the back, and renovated the front, with a per square foot cost significantly higher than new construction. From the front, the house looks completely original, just immaculately maintained, and blends with the varied styles that were built in the area over the years.

And, while where there was once a victory garden where their breakfast room now sits, the home that the original owner created carries on to a new family; and other people we know (some of whom do have McMansions) are absolutely green with envy over their new-not-so-big-old-house.
__________________
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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Old 03-14-2010, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,773,174 times
Reputation: 18989
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwguydc View Post
Friends of mine bought a house like that in Arlington, one with a history. It had been marketed as a tear-down, and they bought it as such, planning to construct a new house that you'd find in an older suburb, not a flashy McMansion with trendy features. However, all that changed when they had a knock on the door from two ladies who were daughters of the original owner. They wanted to look around before the inevitable tear down was to commence, since someone they knew in the neighborhood told them that the house had sold as such. They stayed for hours, reminiscing, and explaining how their father had done much to renovate/build as the family expanded, converting part of the attic, etc.

Well, long story short, after that visit, my friends could not demolish that house, since they bought it when they were expecting their first child -- and the tie to family, even not their own was just too special for them. They added on to the back, and renovated the front, with a per square foot cost significantly higher than new construction. From the front, the house looks completely original, just immaculately maintained, and blends with the varied styles that were built in the area over the years.

And, while where there was once a victory garden where their breakfast room now sits, the home that the original owner created carries on to a new family; and other people we know (some of whom do have McMansions) are absolutely green with envy over their new-not-so-big-old-house.
That's a nice story, thanks for sharing it.
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,555 posts, read 12,613,293 times
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Originally Posted by normie View Post
That's a nice story, thanks for sharing it.
Ditto!
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:18 PM
 
4,711 posts, read 10,858,188 times
Reputation: 3773
Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
...It may sound weird but the original wood siding on those houses wasn't well done and was starting to have problems. Plenty of older homes were built of inferior materials and had poor design. I know a lot of people think older house=well built, and yes some old homes were well built--but many weren't. My neighborhood was lower middle class and our houses weren't the best. We had a chimney that was so dangerous we couldn't use it. We lit it one time--after that we realized the construction was so inferior that using the fireplace would burn the house down. Back then, you just lived with problems like that. Homes didn't have to pass the same inspection standards that we have today.

There were always substandard houses....but bad maintenance takes it's toll too. There are houses built in the 1700's that have their original wood clapboard siding. But you have to keep after it...if the paint flakes off and the bare wood is exposed for years, it can deteriorate past the point of repair. Then it's time to cover it with vinyl or aluminum siding.

Old chimneys can definitely be dangerous...they were unlined and that old mortar wasn't as good as the modern stuff. But there are high-tech methods for relining old chimneys that make them better than new. A lot of modern houses with fireplaces don't even have real chimneys...they build a wooden structure to hide the metal flue pipes. They are stainless steel but I wonder if they'll be causing fires a hundred years from now?
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