The New Economy of the 1990s fostered delirious spending with easy credit. Americans were encouraged to borrow far beyond their means. A pervasive taste for extravagance equated size and opulence with luxury. The McMansion, gargantuan in size, appeared, often entailing the demolition of several historical houses. The facades of these homes are adorned with a showy pastiche of super-size motifs. How about some classical columns, two stories high, to stir memories of Southern plantations, alongside huge displays of half-timbering to evoke a Tudor castle? Interiors focus on a majestic stairway and a portentous spectacle called the "Great Room."Read the whole story here.
A McMansion is rife with contradictions. It's an exhibitionistic house, yet it's set far back from the street, with tall gates and security systems. These Hummer houses appeal to people who want a truly conspicuous display of wealth. They've given freedom of expression a new and rather disturbing meaning: the right to do whatever you want, to be totally self-absorbed. Which is where we are, for the most part, today.