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How to Spot a McMansion

The term McMansion is slowly being accepted into the English lexicon. To be clear, McMansions are architectural anomalies, which don’t comply with any basic architectural concept. These mansions aren’t designed by anyone with a background in architecture. Rather, these gaudy mansions are constructed chunk by chunk by whimsical homeowners who are taking a stab at creating their first homes. Instead of sticking to any one architectural design, they’ll string together a house that combines various elements that repel each other more than they seamlessly cohabitate. McMansions are relatively easy to spot, and thus avoid if you know what to look for.

Windows of More Than Two Designs
McMansions can easily boast of 20 windows facing any which way. This means that giddy mansions creators usually feel the need to choose multiple different types of windows. If the home contains more than two different types of windows, it’s a McMansion. Any architect will tell you that having a look that isn’t uniform, is the antithesis of any architectural tenant. If you know someone in the Northridge, Los Angeles, or Calabasas area who is in need of a window replacement you know who to call.

Poor Balance
Just because a home is asymmetrical doesn’t mean that it’s a McMansion. However, equal visual height must be seen throughout the exterior of the home. If a home appears to be clunky or shooting out in every which direction, it’s safe to say that you’re looking at a McMansion.

Stylistic Continuity
As mentioned before with the windows, McMansions don’t abide by any one-design style. Gestalt’s Principles, look to proximity, similarity, and continuation to determine what’s architecturally acceptable. If a home is considered to be too busy, it’s probably because the creator was too busy to abide by any architectural principle.