4 Aug 2011

Weekend & A Disgruntled Psuedo-Architect

This is a more expensive house now.

This a more expensive house in 1918. Notice it has something lacking today--good taste.
(And all those special purpose rooms. People had different expectations then.)

An upper middle range house today.

And an upper middle range in 1920. Again, notice it is tasteful not glamorous and false.

I agree this is very special-interest, and also opinionated. (But it's my opinion and my special interest!)
But if you share at least a mild dislike of McMansions let me know something about it.

Recommendations for number of bathrooms in a middle-class home (no maid or nurse):
2 beds/1 bath -- 3 beds/1 or 1.5 baths -- 4 beds/1.5 or 2 baths -- 5 beds/2 baths

I know this title would work great with a funny story. I'll try for a humorous look at part 2!

Typed on my Royal Aristocrat


  1. Well, that gave me a giggle or two. My degree is in drafting, I've designed a few houses, and I agree with you on almost every point. My own house has two full bathrooms, though, and it really is a nice feature. I've been doodling house plans for a long time, and I have always found smaller to be better. After all, you can only be in one room at a time; I optimize each room, and have fewer of them.

    From a construction standpoint, every time the foundation changes direction, it adds cost. That "Pomona" floorplan could be built on a rectangular base, and it's the cutest house you posted.

  2. This is of interest to me too, having studied Urban Planning. Here's a thought experiment for you: you're a big-headed alien designing a zoo. What is the "natural habitat" you construct for your human being exhibit? If you go by majority it may look like a slum or a refugee camp. Or by strict observation the habitat could end up mimicking the workplace, or even the car, instead of the home.

  3. I think must me another one of those Typosphere-community overlaps. I'm a huge architecture-and-urban-planning geek, and am right now reading a copy of Frank Lloyd Wright's "The Natural House" that I happened to find at the thrift store. (Good old FLW: no mere walls could contain his ego.) I get especially wound up about the common-sense layout of his Usonian plans, having grown up in a dark, stuffy old Victorian. Got to tour Fallingwater once in college, and I was pretty much sold then and there, despite all the structural problems his homes are known to have.

  4. agree on most of the above - come have a look at the waste of space in Australian suburbs (definition of suburb: lots of houses; not much society). The trend is to build the biggest, wastefullest house on a block, preferably all of the block, and revel in all your six bedrooms and three bathrooms and second kitchens and extra studies and teenager retreats etc. I think our country has one of the highest ratios of unoccupied or unused house space in the world.

    We're just in the process of looking to buy a house, and all the modern stuff it just badly laid out, inefficient from a cooling/environmental perspective, badly oriented, oversized and on a slab when the whole area is a big floodplain. The older styles are off the ground, cool and use space efficiently.

    Also - they're easy to amend/extend or customise. Reminds me of that Stewart Brand book on how buildings learn.

    More architectural posts! I think there's a thematic harmony with typecasting (sub-theme: old is better)