Monday, August 25, 2008

Derrick's Carriage House

Derrick is one of my cloeset & oldest friends. Apart from being a talented contractor, he's an amazing painter as well. Derrick can add writer to his list of talents, here's what he has to say about Mc Mansions & Neo-traditionalism:

"Boy, is it hard to restore the exterior of a long neglected structure to what it once was in another time, when taste and bling were not synonymous.

One good aspect of the housing collapse that we can all celebrate is that it increasingly seems as if the McMansion in the faux chateau style has been relegated to the dustbin of History. The SUV version of a house, big ugly and only appealing to the nouveau riche as a billboard of their perceived success.

Unfortunately the style that seems to be replacing it is almost as insulting to a person with a sense of taste and an architectural education. It is called Neo-Traditionalism and it basically consists of faux victorians and sidewalks. Porches are a must except for the most budget conscious and smaller lot sizes are part of the picture. They are supposed to foster a sense of community in a nostalgic, Hollywood inspired way, with neighbors gathering for iced tea on the porches while kids jump rope on the sidewalks etc.

At first, as repulsive as it is you would think this infinitely superior to the McMansion, and it probably is, but to quote LeCorbusier "God is in the details" which all are made of PVC. PVC columns, PVC sidewall shingles and siding, PVC moldings galore. All a bastardized mix of every architectural style from Federal through Arts and Crafts. Used, of course, indiscriminately. I think that I could stomach them if they were not completely sheathed in obnoxiously ornate skins of plastic, all in the beige, piss yellow, light gray or sky blue, conservative and bland color schemes so typical of the plastic industry and appealing to those with a lemming-like sense of conformity.

At least you NEVER have to paint them."

I could not have said it better. But your carriage house in gorgeous. I'd live in upsate New York if I didn'e surf.