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Forget SUVs, what about all those huge houses being built?

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Nile Donating Member (354 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:57 AM
Original message
Forget SUVs, what about all those huge houses being built?
It has got to take a ton of energy to heat and cool those bad boys.

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Retired AF Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:59 AM
Response to Original message
1. Why I get a kick out of the Hollywood types that
bitch about SUV's but live in 20,000 square foot homes.
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eleonora Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:08 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. because every king or queen needs his or her castle
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 04:09 AM by eleonora
:puke:
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:24 AM
Response to Reply #2
16. No kidding. In north Jersey, the only things missing from new
construction are the moat (replete with alligators), parapet, and the crest of the "estate".
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MsConduct Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #16
27. LOL! n/t
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #16
334. You mean I don't have to live here...???

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greendog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #2
66. Two or three castles...
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 12:30 PM by greendog
...around here people are building vacation homes that are used for less than six weeks of the year.

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lapfog_1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:55 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. Not defending those "Hollywood types"

but one of the many advantages of living near the California coast
is that little energy is required to heat in the winter and even
less for cooling in the summer when compared to other regions of the
US... in fact, many homes here in northern CA have little to no insulation and no air conditioning at all, and only electric
baseboard heaters for the occasional cold winter night. Beverly
Hills (and the Hollywood Hills) are very similar, with even fewer
cold nights and only a few more "AC required" hot days in the summer.
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nothingshocksmeanymore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #1
38. The 20,000 square ft homes in Newport Beach (and there are many)
are inhabited by Repub CEO's
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Green Thumb Donating Member (45 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
95. I know what you mean
I mean come on. Why do you need that much house? Why can't you build something a little more environmentally friendly, like a small bungalow? Along the coast in Costa Rica, they try to make everything blend witht the natural environment. It makes it so pretty there.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:14 AM
Response to Original message
3. Do you mean like this?
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 04:15 AM by leftchick
These are all over the outskirts of the city where I live. There are larger homes as well but 3500 - 4000 sq. ft. seems to be the new norm.... :puke:

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Cobalt Violet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:17 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. The McManson
:)
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #3
48. That's a lovely home!
I would definitely like something like that.
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devilgrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #48
50. The Big Bad Wolf can take one of those out in no time.
Those houses are built for shit - you couldn't pay me enough money to live in one.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #50
52. The ones around here are very well built
so long as you pick the right builder.

There are some builders whose homes I wouldn't touch, but others who build solid, well engineered homes. I look closely at the craftsmanship and can tell you which builders to stay away from in our area. Also, some builders have gone more national and the craftsmanship has suffered greatly in many instances.
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #50
58. the ones in the south
like in the Atlanta and DC suburbs are slapped together and built with incredibly shitty quality...many places in the south have very little or NO housing quality controls or regulations
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UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #48
54. That is a lot prettier than most McMansions.
Here's one that's appropriately hideous:



Here is my image of a tacky mcmansion:




Stucco, ugly faux spanish styling with no grace or architectural detail. I prefer the "Brady Bunch" house from the 60's more...
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #54
56. That one is HIDEOUS!
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 12:03 PM by Walt Starr
I may go with something like this in the next year:



Edited to add: About 2500 square feet and an unfinished basement.
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tk2kewl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #56
94. That one is nice
and not too big. 2500 sq ft is reasonable.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #94
110. Thanks
I like the floorplan, too. My wife really wants a formal dining room.
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chelaque liberal Donating Member (981 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #110
221. Have you read Sara Susanka's Not So Big House?
She has some great ideas.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #221
226. I dont intend to
sorry, not interested.
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No Mandate Here. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #226
234. Why not, Walt??
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 07:22 AM
Response to Reply #234
255. Because of the attitude of the person who first recommended it to me
I won't read it. My reading time is limited and when somebody who gave me a "liberaller than thou" attitude recommends a book, I reference it to my list of books I will never read.
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ldf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #110
321. just call susan whang
and y'all can go househunting.

:-)
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #321
324. We went through a builder for the first house
and there's nothing at all like going through that process. We love the control over getting the colors we want, the floorplan, little extras and the upgrades. You feel in control of the house and you feel like you get what you want.

The only thing that would be better would be doing a completely custom home starting with an architect. Ahhhhh, someday!
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spooked Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #56
180. What a Storybook Home
really, it's so quaint!
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MXMLLN Donating Member (66 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #56
199. I like your house-to-be too, Walt! n/t
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WMliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #54
78. the first one makes my think of pop-up ads for some reason.
Then it makes me think of shitty contemporary architecture. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo unimaginative.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #78
102. Yes suburban architecture is crappy because ...
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 02:45 PM by HamdenRice
it is so profoundly fake. Let's look at even the modest pic that Walt Starr posted that he says he may go for.

By saying that it is fake, I don't just mean that it is faking at being something it is not. In this case, it is obviously faking at being English tudor, even though that period ended 300 years ago.

More importantly, it is more profoundly fake because the form tells us almost nothing about its function. Whether you look at the horrible mcmansion or the Walt Starr house, you can ask a lot of questions: why are there so many pitched roofs, enclosing gables, instead of just one? These gables within gables are not actually walls. What purpose do they serve? In the macmansion, You are right, they look like pop-ups -- like someone was trying to cram as many useless gables in as little space as possible -- just like useless advertising. Why are they there? Is it just to add cost and "bangles" to please an unsophisticated buyer?

Look at the Starr house. Why does it have shutters that don't close? Why verticle and horizontal beams inlaid in stucco? Obviously it is a "quote" of some simulacrum of some simalacrum of some simulacrum of some distant memory of tudor; but why would an architect put in on such and house and why would a buyer want it? In tudor architecure these beams were supporting, load bearing beams. Here they are just decoration, and ironic quotes, the architecht "laughing" at the owner.

<edited>
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WMliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #102
108. It's definitely glitz with no function.
Which is why it all faces the street. All of those extra gables and roofs only face one direction. They don't intend to add light to a room that otherwise wouldn't, because there are simpler, cheaper, better looking ways to do it. It's just an attempt to net a buyer who wants to look more Anglo than the person with only 5 such nonfunctional gables.

BTW, I thought it was faux Georgian. Whatever. It's such a mutant it's hard to tell whose baby it is at this point.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #102
109. I can tell you why
because it is pleasing to the eye, that's why.

Same house, different elevation:



and another:



yet another:



and the last:



Of the five elevations, I found the first one most appealing. Behind that, I find the one just above this text most appealing. I like the porches.

You will find that most of these designs have floorplans that are popular with most people who choose to build and exteriors that are most popular with those who choose to build.

In the end, this is market driven. If people didn't like the floorplans and elevations, the houses wouldn't sell and the plans would be dropped from the choices.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #109
112. Pleasing to the eye the same way Britney Spears is pleasing to ears
In other words, it is pleasing to people who are illiterate about form and structure. I don't mean you have to be an aesthete or have gone to architecture school, but just understand what "stuff" on a house is. It represents the dumbing down of architecture.

People listen to Britney Spears or rap, because in general, all the institutions that used to teach us the basics of music, like the church choir or the Saturday night fish fry or the piano lesson or the elementary school music class have collapsed. No one knows the basic "language" of music -- so a "rappper" can call himself an "artist", or Britney can call herself a "musician".

It's the same with housing. Only a person illiterate in carpentry, construction and the "folk language" of building could like these. Any country builder would have looked at any of these hideous buildings you posted and laughed.

Why do they mix fake brick and fake shingles (siding)? And why would you put fake brick and fake siding side by side, rather than the stolid make believe stone under the fake clabbord, as in a real house? As WMliberal points out, Gables originally were intended to reach out and capture light usually from a perpedicular roof surface. How ridiculous to have a flat gable nestled in another flat gable! As someone earlier pointed out, it is like a popup -- advertisements for bad taste and cluelessness over and over and over, nestled within each other.

These houses are the equivalent of the poor immigrant who gets off the boat from some poor country where they don't wear suits, and promptly buys the flashiest florescent purple suit he can find -- with a big feather in his hat -- kind of like the Steve Martin character in the Jerk, after he falls into money.

I'm sorry that you like these things. You might want to look at a book called "The Not so Big House" which is really about how elements of a house fit together.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1561583766/qid=1...

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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #112
113. No, I'm not going to look at that book
Sorry if it offends your sensibilities, but form no longer must follow function. Form on the front elevation of a home is now there for aesthetic purposes only. There is also a functional use for at least one of the gables, to allow for a vaulted ceiling in a living room.

If you don't like it, nobody's holding a gun to your head saying you have to buy one. I like it, I like the neighborhood where they are building these homes, I like the lots, I like the school system, so I'll probably buy one.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #113
118. It doesn't offend my sensibilities, ...I don't live there
I'm just sorry for people who like this, just like I'm sorry for people who love the "artists" of rap and Britney, but can't understand the Temptations, Mozart, the Beatles or Brazilian folk music.

Besides the environmental issues, this is just the dumbing down of the American landscape.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #118
121. sorry if you can't see it, but Eminem is a true artist
And, just as the Beatles were dissed as crap in their day, so Eminem is dissed in this age.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #121
125. Uhhhh, but wait a minute ...
The Beatles played instruments and sang. Eminem is talking over synthesized loops of computer generated sound.

It's one thing to like his message -- it's another to call him a musician.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #125
126. He's an artist
and if you can't see that, then it's your loss.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #126
130. One question ...
is he a musician?
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #130
133. Yes n/t
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MXMLLN Donating Member (66 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #118
182. I like some of all of that ...
Some rap ... some Britney ... some Temptations ... some Mozart ... some Beatles ... some Brazilian folk music ... even some Country and Western.

Thank God that we all don't have the same sensibilities ... that would make for a pretty dull world.

It's a big world ... there's enough room down here for Mozart and Britney ... and Dolly.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #112
122. That is an EXCELLENT book! And....
The "not so big" is probably much, much bigger than some people on this thread are otherwise assuming. None of the houses featured are in any way tiny or cramped.

Great recommendation. I ran across this myself only recently, and have recommended it to others, too.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #122
129. I love it .. and the most moving point she made ...
is that people buy these big houses with vast formal entries and formal dining areas -- and studies show they never use these spaces. I think that's so sad -- to not "live in" you own home!

Even in modest homes in the 1960s, a lot of families covered the living room furniture in plastic and made the living room "off limits"! LOL
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #129
137. Exactly! That's one of the big things we've been re-thinking.
We oohed and aahed over some homes that had separate family rooms and formal dining rooms, and then we REALLY thought about it and both concluded it bordered on the ridiculous. It's extra space that we'll have to pay to heat and cool, extra space for which we'd have to buy extra furniture, and on and on.

I agree--there's something sad and ridiculous about buying a house and then not "living" in 1/3 of it.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #129
138. We had friends whose "living room" was totally OFF LIMITS
White carpet...white furniture... a fireplace that had never been used..

We used to tease them .. that the only thing missing was the velvet rope & chain..

Whenever we visited them, we all huddled in their kitchen or hung out in their "semi-finished" basement family room..

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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #138
141. I totally hate to admit this but I watched ...
some weird reality TV show a few weeks ago about trading spouses. I know that there are two competing ones, and I don't even know which is which.

But in this one episode, one family lived in a macmansion, the other in a tumble down New England salt box. The first family was dominated by an excessively clean mom, who didn't allow any pets. They were just too quiet and the kids seemed emotionally blocked.

The other family was also a characiture -- too many animals pooping all over the place.

It was kind of moving at the end, though, because the macmansion family got to blow off a little steam while their mom was gone. Kind of creepy.

I guess it just struck me from this thread that a particular structure of house can lead to or at least exacerbate a particular kind of emotional life.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #141
144. Yup. The Chinese could've told you that centuries ago.
I don't really buy into the (surprisingly complex) astrological aspects of feng shui, but I'm totally convinced that they're onto something significant with their approach to balance and harmony.
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MXMLLN Donating Member (66 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #129
265. Even in modest homes in the 1960s, ...
... a lot of families covered the living room furniture in plastic and made the living room "off limits"! LOL

Sounds like it's a people issue then (i.e. unrelated to home design).
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #122
164. Yes, actually the spaces look bigger than those in my house
They may just be better arranged, since I live in a 19th century two-flat on a narrow lot.
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #112
160. Here's some functional architecture
Taliesin it ain't, I'll admit.

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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #160
166. Crazy thing is, it looks way better than a McMansion
I'd live in one of those bad boys--they are retro!
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #166
171. I've lived in one older and smaller
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 04:42 PM by Walt Starr
I'll take a McMansion any day over it. Crazy thing is, I used more gas to heat a 480 sq. ft. monstrosity like that pictured than my 1500 sq ft home uses now!
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #171
190. Hey, you can love your McMansion to death
I hate them, and so do a lot of other people. Why do you care?
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #190
218. I care because of the intimation that only Republicans live in them
which is false on its face. Of course, my theory is those who pitch a bitch fit about them are really just jealous.
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #218
246. Ah well, I can see it makes no sense to you.
I can afford a McMansion in the Chicago burbs. As a matter of fact, we could probably buy one outright with cash. If I get a brain tumor and go completely insane, perhaps thats what I'll do.
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #218
248. What a joke.
"really just jealous." Get over yourself.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 07:23 AM
Response to Reply #248
256. Ahhh, seems I was correct in my assessment
:hi:
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:14 AM
Response to Reply #256
262. LMAO
If you only knew how far off-base you are. Once again, get over yourself.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #262
266. If I wasn't striking a nerve
I would suspect you'd simply not respond.

:shrug:

Ah well.
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #266
270. Your misplaced arrogance is off-putting.
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 09:28 AM by GumboYaYa
That is why I responded. I live in a beautiful old home in a very nice urban neighborhood. There is absolutely nothing for me to be jealous of. Maybe, just maybe, you need to stop hiding behind conjecture and look at how arrogant and insulting some of your posts are.

My principle objection to suburban deveopments is the way zoning and land use laws have created residential collectives as opposed to real communities. It has nothing to do with the size of your house or whether or not you conserve energy. You can live an energy efficient life in the suburbs just as you can in the city. In fact it may be easier in the burbs if you have good public transportation.

I know that older homes are less efficient because I just spent two years making my old home energy efficient. We went from an average of almost 1,000 kilwoatt hours per monbth to around 350 kilowatt hours per month. How do I know that so specifically? I had to because we are now working with Ameren UE to install photovoltaic panels and a small wind energy genrator to make our house energy independent. Before we designed the system we had to reduce or energy usage to the lowest level possible. When you start looking at systems for your next house you will find that it is far less expensive to conserve energy than it is to create it. When you get serious about that, I would be happy to share some of the ideas we came up with going through this process.

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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #270
272. Sorry, but I saw your comments as arrogant
and yes, we're already looking at photovoltaics for our next house and are going to work with the builder to install on the build so we can roll it into the mortgage. It'll require a substantially larger down payment, but we believe it is worth every cent. The only bright spot is right now we could deduct the interest.

And by comparison in my region, an old home in Chicago with about 2/3 of the square footage of a McMansion would cost about three times as much as the McMansion and would not have the energy efficiency installed that you have installed. From a cost perspective, such a move would not be cost effective, let alone the social aspects of moving back into a crime ridden area!
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #272
276. I'm guessing that you already know that Illinois gives a 35%
tax credit for the cost of PV systems.

Let's both drop any pretense of arrogance and get down to a real discussion.

In addition to PV systems you should also look at passive solar design. With a good passive solar design you can greatly reduce the cost of your PV system. PV systems get real expensive as your energy needs grow.

Does Illinois have a net metering law? We are hooking into the grid to avoid the cost of purchasing so many batteries. In MO you can sell excess energy back to the power company at the cost of production for the power company. Our home will be the first home in MO to take advantage of the net metering law passed in 2002. That shows you how slowly the technology is being adopted.

I'm convinced that people just need to see others doing it to realize that they to can become energy independent.

The engineers at Ameren UE are very excited about our project. In our meetings they told me that they make their money transmitting and managing electricity, not generating it.

As for the crime-ridden neighborhoods, I personally believe that the answer to crime is moving back to cities and devloping communities in cities again, however, I can understand why a young family would not be willing to take that risk.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #276
280. Yep, plus the benefits of rolling 75% of the cost into the mortgage
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 10:04 AM by Walt Starr
from a tax perspective is what makes it possible to do on the intial build. The builder will require 25% of the cost down, though. I wouldn't even consider building without doing a PV system. Yes, we are looking at passive as well. We are going to be very picky about the lot since we want the back of the house to face south. That's where we get the most square footage for the solar and we get to garden heavily in full sun for the backyard! ;) I also want a large lot. My biggest complaint about these developments is the lot size is too small and I love to garden.

When we were in the city, we lived in a gentrified region, and crime consistenetly got worse every year we lived there. When you look at cost and crime, it really became a no brainer for us.
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #280
289. Your requirements describe our lot.
The back of our home faces South. We also have the good fortune to have a couple of big trees in the backyard. In winter we get the sun and in summer when the leaves are out we ge the shade. The only problem is that I have struggled to find a spot with enough sun to get my vegetable garden to be successful. We had to trim one of the trees back so that we got sun in a sizeable enough patch of the yard.

Our house is three stories so together with the trees we rarely have to use AC in the summer. Last summer we only used it 24 days (Can you tell how obsessive I have been about cntrolling our energy uasge?). We recently installed a solar attic fan (cost $300.00) that I expect to further reduce our Ac usage this year. You should look into the attic fan thing for your current house. I expect it to pay for itself very quickly.

Good luck finding the perfect lot. It is out there and it is worth being picky over that decision.

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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #270
273. As far as the communities go, I have much more connection with my
neighbors in my current subdivision than I ever did in the neighborhood in which we lived in the city!

I know most of the people in my subdivision, am active on the home owners association, and havea good relationship with those neighbors who are in the homes closest to mine.

I expect the same in the community we will move to should we be able to move forward.
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #273
277. Admittedly, I am talking in generalizations and not specifically
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 10:18 AM by GumboYaYa
about your neighborhood. There are always exceptions to th erule. In St. Louis, where I live, the rule is significantly more common than the exceptions. Nevertheless, even here, there are some good developments in the suburbs that do try to build communities. For example, Old Town at St. Charles is a mixed use development with housing available in a wide range of costs and types that has been very successful.

I want to be very clear that my objection is not to you personally, but to a whole history of design and zoning decisions that I think have created many bad developments.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #277
285. Oh I can agree about some of the decisions made
and that's why we are extremely picky about where we would consider living!
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #285
291. Ding, Ding, Ding
We have agreement here. I knew that two old Dean supporters could find agreement if we talked long enough.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #160
169. Hey, I think those airstream trailers are BEYOND cool!
I know that's not an airstream, but it has a kind of retro shape to it. And talk about your economy of space! :hi:
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #169
174. And energy usage that makes an Hummer seem like the Enviromobile!
:eyes:
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #174
177. Not if they're parked.
:eyes: right back atcha.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #177
181. Ever heat one in the winter?
I stand by my statement. I use less gas in my new 1500 sq. ft. home than I did in a 480 sq. ft. monstrosity like that pictured. The ampoount of energy consumed to heat and cool one of those hotboxes (or freezers if it's winter) is ENORMOUS!
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #181
186. uh, that trailer doesn't come close to 480 square feet...
But you keep on keepin' on, dude. I believe that Biggjawn's point (which perhaps you missed) is that some of us can't even afford small houses, efficient or not, which is rather humbling in the face of the "I want a big house, fuck everybody else" attitude.

I'd still guess that that trailer is more energy efficient than a 1500 square foot house.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #186
216. You'd guess wrong
I owned a 12'X40'trailer, which is an extremely SMALL trailer home. That's 480 square feet.

I used three times the gas I use in my new home each winter. When it was below zero my trailer would average about 58 degrees.

Trailer homes have a sheet of metal on the outside, about an inch and a half of insulation, and then quarter inch paneling on the inside. The one pictured above may not even have insulation.

Live in one and you'll know the hell that they are and the extreme expense to heat one.

The trailer above is probably 600 to 800 square feet.
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 06:06 AM
Response to Reply #216
331. My hat is off to you, Walt, for living in a travel trailer up north.
I don't think I could do it. I have lived in an 8'X30' travel trailer for the past six years in Texas, and I have long wondered how much energy it takes to cool this thing in our 6-month-long summers. You must have gone through many tanks of propane to run the heater when you lived in your trailer, thankfully, I don't have to worry about that - a small space heater is sufficient for the few chilly "winter" days here. I have lived in the same trailer park for the full six years - all bills included, lot rent $240 a month. Fortunately I have several large trees on my lot which provide ample shade, allowing me to keep the AC set at about 85 and remain comfortable for most of the day. I am sure that it still takes a good deal of energy to keep this little tin shoebox (it does have insulation, and holds the inside temperature quite well, considering the design mentioned in your above post) cooled to 85 on a 103 summer day, however!
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #186
238. No, not quite...
My point was that one's person's "Architectural Abortion" can be another's "Fallingwater".


"Art", as Ali Baba reminds us, "is chiefly a matter of haircut"...

As for energy efficiency, that old tin box on wheels is probably not a whole hell of a lot better than a canvas tent. Thin wall, no insulation to speak of. you got a frame mad of 2" stuff, maybe some 2X4's for strength. then you have an outer skin of aluminium, and an inner sking of Luan "paneling" Maybe a gauzy 1" of fibergalss in between. The roof is 2" thick, too, with not much more fiberglass.

But if you want pure energy efficient "housing", I bet I could build a coffin out of 4" thick blue foam and heat it with just what comes off my bod. Might get a little stuffy inside, though...Hard to entertain, too.
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:49 PM
Response to Reply #181
237. 2-inch thick walls with just a HINT of insulation...
I think I saw a $130 gas bill one month...And that was back in the 80's. I had a 12X60, and a 10X50 before that.

No fun keeping them cool in the summer. either.
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MXMLLN Donating Member (66 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #112
161. Typical elitist ...
With typical turned-up nose ...

"So sorry that you like what you like ... but, of course, there's no accounting for taste."
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #161
163. Nope. Not an elitist. Just pointing out that the market-driven "taste"
Isn't necessarily good taste.

Thanks for the slam, though & welcome to DU.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #163
170. Yeah, well Shakespeare was market driven taste
and was considered base in its time, yet we consider it classic in ours.

Go figure, elitist snobs nothwithstanding.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:42 PM
Original message
Shakespeare was considered
a great artist of the theater in his own time -- market driven or not. I was referring to the collapse of any language to even talk about what is good or bad -- in music or building -- that afflicts our culture at this moment.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:50 PM
Response to Original message
183. Okay, The Beatles were a market driven taste
and were for the most part considered scum.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #170
176. Actually, it wasn't.
Considered "base" in its time, that is. The plays were often performed at court as well as in south London. If you want to get into the finer points of Elizabethan history on that matter, I'm more than prepared.

Go figure, indeed.
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MXMLLN Donating Member (66 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #163
189. So ... who gets to decide what is and isn't good taste ... you ?
What makes your taste any better than Walt's ... or mine ?

Thanks for the slam, though & welcome to DU.

And if you think that your past commentary on this thread hasn't been oh so coldly deprecating ... you need to take another look at it.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #189
201. Hmmmm. Let's see.
I initially pointed out that HamdenRice made some excellent points about what passes for architecture in suburbia. And indeed he does. If you were offended by his points, perhaps you should address them specifically.

When a series of photos were offered up by Walt, I commented that I find houses with a garage door in the front facade incredibly ugly. That is my opinion. But if you like a big piece of sheet metal with little windows along the top, hey, you go.

Walt attempted to defend the designs by saying that they're market-driven, which is as damning a defense as I've heard in a long time. I responded by pointing that out. Sorry you have a problem with it. The market is also dictating that boxy SUVs and women's panchos are in right now, and I also find those supremely ugly. Looking to the market to determine what is aesthetically pleasing is an iffy endeavor, at best.

I don't claim my taste is better, just different and certainly not determined by whatever the market likes at the moment.

Whether or not you consider my posts "deprecating," at least they're detailed, backed up and I don't resort to ad hominem name calling. Ahem.
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MXMLLN Donating Member (66 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #201
209. Well I'm glad for ya ... I just happen to favor a different sensibility.
BTW ... that last response was really meant for HamdenRice.

I got the two of you confused ... can you feature that ?

So sorry if I stepped on your toes, ...
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #209
214. Since your response was meant for me ...
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 06:35 PM by HamdenRice
let me explain what I meant, and why I think you misunderstand me. I am not trying to be an arbiter of good or bad taste. I am really talking about the collapse, or end, of a language about houses that the recent suburbs represent. I made an analogy to music, but could also make an analogy to politics.

Taste is what you like vs what I like. This is different. For example, when Lincoln debated Douglas about slavery, they each spoke for hours and made complex arguments about the rights of property owners, the states and about equality. I agree more with Lincoln than with Douglass. In fact I think Douglas was dead wrong; even that his arguments were morally repulsive. That is my political taste. But I give both that they were engaged in some kind of political discourse. That is the language they used -- political discourse.

When people like Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala scream at each other, or when Ann Coulter spews that liberals are treasonous and should be beaten, we are not listening to political discourse. It's something else, but it is not rational argument.

When it comes to music, I am agnostic. I listen to jazz, classic soul, rock, latin, classical, even tribal music. But it's all music. You might like one category or another. That's your taste. But all of these kinds of music are part of a 4000 year old tradition of people singing rythmically, to notes that in each respective culture, we have decided to use. That's the language of music.

But when the technology and commercial industry change so that people are not actually using "notes" or playing instruments, well we have something new. We have a person saying words over a synthesized loop of sounds. Maybe you like it, maybe not. I actually like some rap. All I'm saying is that at this point, whatever it is, it is no longer music. It may be good or bad but it is not music. When Ashlee Simpson is revealed to be lip sinking, whatever she is doing, and whether you like it or not, you can no longer call it a live performance of singing, can you? Were Milli Vanilli musicians?

This is the point I am trying to make about modern suburban architecture -- not all suburbs. I live in one of the oldest suburbs in America, though it probably wouldn't be called that today, Queens, New York. Basically a little New England salt box on a garden. I have done a lot of home repairs myself and know the building inside out and know there was a lot of tradition, traditional craftsmanship and care put in it when it was built 100 years ago. There is an organic functionality of it, which is revealed in its exterior. It is a modest box that the architect and workmen modified to try to "grab" sunlight an air, and that functionality and form is quite beautiful. Inside, the mouldings are designed to hang pictures (of family no doubt in the craftsman's mind) or to keep out drafts or to hang doors -- all while being also beautiful.

By contrast, when you place gables within gables, within gables -- with no windows! which is what gables are for -- as is done here:



then you are demonstrating that you as builder or buyer don't know what a gable is. It's like making a non-sequitur political argument or lip synching. The best description one of the prior posters gave was that it was like a series of pop-ups -- a series of meaningless advertising gestures.

Or columns that don't support anyting; or shutters that don't close to keep out storms or light or regulate heat; or living rooms that no one is able to live in; or dining rooms that are never used, while the family huddles in the kitchen; or gables that don't bring in light.

Fine if you like that, but I think Shakespeare and I are saying that at some point you are demonstrating that you don't really know what a dining room is for (eating together) or a living room is for (living, interacting with family). Living in a non-functional house is kind of sad in that way, because the owner has paid all this money for space that cannot be used. It means that we have lost the "language" of carpentry.

<edited>
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yellowjacket Donating Member (111 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #214
239. Why wear clothes in the summer?
They don't really do anything. Just a matter of taste, right?

I understand what you're saying, but it's possible to assign too much cultural significance to a gable. I think you've managed to do just that.

Maybe the fact that the design of a house says so much to you is a sign that you should quit listening.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #239
269. Ehhrrr, umm .. don't mean to be controversial here, but I thought we ...
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 09:09 AM by HamdenRice
don't wear winter clothes in the summer. That's the point I am trying to make. If someone wore a parka over a wool sweater over thermal underwear on a 90 degree summer day, we would conclude first, that person doesn't understand the purpose and "language" of clothing and second that his clothing didn't fit its function and that this probably made him very, very uncomfortable.

And suburban macmansions suffer the same problem. I wasn't just talking about gables, although maybe they are the most ridiculous. Highly pitched rooves that have nothing to do with allowing snow to roll or water to wash easily from the home, columns that hold up nothing, fake stucco that doesn't cool, etc. The gables are the funniest because the builders seem to be saying that if one is pretty, ten are even prettier, and the cluster like pop-up ads. In fact their purpose is the same: highly reptitive commercial advertising.

To the person who owns such a house all I can say is congratulations: you have purchased a very nice "commercial."

From what many studies have shown, and even what many homeowners have complained after moving into them, macmansions don't "fit" their owners or their circumstances any better than a parka fits the circumstances of a 90 degree August day.

I'm not arguing for pure form-follows-function like some deconstructionist. I'm just saying that like Ashlee Simpson and rap in music, like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh and W shrub in politics, recent suburban architecture represents a depressing "dumbing down" of the culture.

Or maybe you think that Ann Coulter is a brillian political theorist or shrub is the next FDR (or Jesus) or Ashlee Simpson is a great singer.

<edited>
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #269
271. I'd say the biggest dumbing down in America
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 09:30 AM by Walt Starr
are people who don't keep up with the times.

Most of the gables you see that are not total fake windows sitting on top of a roof allows for vaulted ceilings above.

Also, there is insulation in those high roofs. Those roofs also afford a HUGE advantage for the installation of photovoltaics and solar heating units which will be the direction these homes will be going to for total efficiency and near self sufficiency. Photovoltaics will be the wave of the future, count on it. Right now, within a few years you break even on the investment put forward for that technology. It increases the value of your home and is a huge selling point.

So, the form may be aesthetic now, but leave the opening for advantageous functionality in the future. In fact, with the home I listed above, we are planning on working with the builder to include photovoltaics in the inital build and roll the cost into the mortgage. HUGE tax advantages in doing this.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #271
281. Economic function of gables...
It's odd to have gotten into this debate over gables but here goes...

Saying that fake gables are great because sometime in the future some proportion of macmansion owners might install photovoltaic panels is kind of like making a W tax cut argument: Let's do something really expensive and pointless now in the hopes that it might pay off in the future. While I admire your energy efficiency I sincerely believe that the vast majority of owners of fake gables will not be installing photovoltaic cells. The purpose is not vaulted interior spaces, because that could be accomplished more efficiently, beautifully and functionally using other forms than nested fake gables.

In fact, the entire economic purpose of fake gables is much more similar to pop-ups. They are arbitrary advertising signifiers of expense. As someone posted in a sub thread lower down, most purchasers of macmansions see their homes as part home/part investment -- with the investment side looming much larger for them than for typical homeowners.

The idea is that if a fake gable adds some amount of resale value, X, then two fake gables adds 2X resale value, and three fake gables adds 3X resale value, and so on. In my neck of the woods, a real functional dormer, shed or gable addition costs about $10,000 - $20,000. The hope is that it adds that much plus 50% of its cost to resale value. Each fake $10,000 gable adds $15,000 in resale value or $5,000 net.

Even though the gable has no purpose (excepting your case), they are empty signifiers of expense and hoped for resale value. Each fake gable is like a hoped for $5,000 payback so let's add as many as possible. The owner is saying, gee, if I want to add $50,000 to my resale value, I'll need 10 fake gables! The more the better, even though they have no function.

The end result is:



or even this (which I think is a photoshopped satire):



This is why the analogy to pup-ups is so appropriate. Because when pop-ups first became technically feasible, web sites were paid by advertisers for each time a pair of eyeballs saw the ad. Eventually websites came up with ways of hijacking your browser and showing you 100 popups before you could get control of your computer. But then people became tired of them and turned them off and avoided sites with pop-ups. The pop up advertisers did not realize that there are diminishing returns to the value of forcing people to look at pop ups, just as there are diminishing returns to forcing people to look at fake gables.

Fake gables under this economic analysis are like tulips during the "tulipmania" of Holland of the 1630s, when people began to speculate in tulips more and more until a huge portion of the entire Dutch economy was tied up in tulips! Then someone said, gee, I don't really like tulips that much, and the entire economic system crashed.

If suburbanites ever tire of fake gables -- if they go out of style, if tastes change -- then the entire speculative gable boom will crash, and many macmansion owners will be left with very silly looking, useless, multigabled facades.

Thank god, Garden State Stucco and Brickface will be there to replace them with whatever fad is in vogue at that time.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #281
313. Actually, both are photoshopped
Neither of those photos are real, so I would suspect your post is completely meaningless as you've been talking about a phenomenon that occurs in photoshopped fakery of McMansions.

But do find something real to speak about, I'm certainly willing to read a post directed at a real phenomenon.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #313
317. Walt, you're so bogus!
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 03:05 PM by HamdenRice
I can't believe how disingenuos and defensive you are! The photos you posted of homes you liked contained gables within gables -- were they photoshopped?

Nothing I said makes sense? That's because you have your football helmet on to make sure that no new ideas can possible get in. But you already knew that, didn't you.

When you said you would not think about reading a book about design, that pretty much said it all. This is all about your not being able to address ideas in an open and honest fashion. I guess the effect of living in the suburbs is actually setting in.

<edited>
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #317
318. Well when you make an argument about where something leads,
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 03:12 PM by Walt Starr
it helps to not use a bogus photoshopped piece of crap to illustrate a point! You made the bogus claim about how gables lead to more gables and so on and used a photoshopped picture to prove the point. YOUR ARGUMENT WAS BOGUS! THERE IS A POINT OF DIMINISHING RETURNS!

:eyes:

I've had enough of you. Buh bye.
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MXMLLN Donating Member (66 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #214
263. I can see where you're coming from a lot better here ...
Your other approach was just a bit condescending ... whether you knew it or not.

That said ... don't you believe in evolution ?

Times have changed ... newly constructed homes are heated much more effectively and efficiently these days.

I would argue that the function of gables on a house has evolved from being largely functional ... to being largely aesthetic.

Now there's much less of a need to shutter your windows ... but shutters continue to provide an aesthetic enhancement to many houses.

Given that you will see it (a chosen house design) over and over ... day-in and day-out for any number of years ... how that house looks has significance.

As much as possible ... it's look should be one which pleases it's occupants.

As long as a house shelters the persons living in it ... and provides for their living comforts ... and gives them a place to call home, ... it is functioning as it should.

It may well be that the language of carpentry has changed ... but it is conversant with the society in which we now live.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #263
267. Very well thought out post!
Thank you so much!
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Blue Wally Donating Member (974 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #201
264. Viewpoints like yours.....
Would give us housing like Pruitt-Igoe and cars like the old AMC Pacer and Gremlin.
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #264
268. Please explain that post.
I happen to know quite a bit about Pruitt-Igoe. One of my best friends grew up there and is currently writing a year-long series on the development for the St. Louis Post Dispatch. He and I have discussed this devlopment ad nauseam. My view on Pruitt-Igoe is that it grew from the same problems with design and zoning laws that created the suburbs.

The idea that you can isolate people in residential areas with uniform construction and aesthetic away from the businesses that serve them is the same zoning and design philosophy that gives us moder suburbs.

Pruitt-Igoe's original designs, developed by Japanese architect Minoru Yamasaki, called for a mixed use development with businesses co-habitating with residential housing. The housing design called for structures of different types and design to resemble a real city neighborhood. The designer envisioned a combination of garden apartments and high-rise buildings, complete with what famed European architect Le Corbusier described as the three essential joys of urbanism: sun, space and greenery.

Initially Pruitt was built for blacks and Igoe for whites. By the time the complex opened, the courts had ruled segregated housing unconstitutional. As a result of integration, whites never inhabited the projects. Mysteriously, the government funds for the original designs of architect Yamasaki disappeared when integration was required.

That is how we got Pruitt-Igoe and it comes from the same misguided series of zoning and development decisions that gave us modern suburbs.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #264
296. Hardly.
If you really think so, then you truly have no clue what my "viewpoint" is.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #161
167. Yup, I'm now referring to that attitude as
"Liberaller than thou"

:evilgrin:
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yellowjacket Donating Member (111 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #167
240. So true.
Like him or not, David Brooks captures this beautifally in his two books. I recommend them for all.
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yellowjacket Donating Member (111 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #167
241. BTW, I like the house you've picked out. n/t
.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #109
116. "In the end, this is market driven."
Indeed--and you say that like it's a good thing. There's no accounting for taste.

I've always thought garages that make up part of a house's facade are unbelievably ugly, btw. Yeah, boy, that sheet metal or fake-wood-paneled big, flat door sure does dress up a house.

The previous poster makes excellent points regarding artifice and functionality, which you brush off without really addressing what he's saying. That's kind of sad to me. You want what you want, fine. I'm not going to attack you for it, but I'm also not going to give you an "atta boy" for it, either.

Me, I'm looking for something that takes up a minimum amount of space--and that means forcing myself to really examine my desires against my needs, which is proving to be a fascinating process of introspection--and looking for a "green" house with enough yard left over to grow a sustainable garden. It's my "starter" house :eyes: and will, hopefully, be my "ender" house, too.

When my husband and I first started thinking about buying our first house a year or so ago, we reflexively started off with a 3 bedroom/2000 square feet "wish list." The more we talked about it, the more we realized that we both wanted something that involved recycled materials and energy efficiency (bordering on energy independence). Sure, the idea of a super-roomy 3-bedroom is nice in a white picket fence kind of way, but why? What do we really need, and how can we balance that with a desire for aesthetics? Somewhere in the middle lies happiness. So now we're looking at various green options and a square footage that's 30-40% smaller than that initial desire.

I think a more positive approach on this thread would be better for all of us--let's not attack our fellow DUers--but let's also not give the rhetorical finger to somebody just for suggesting that maybe we should back away from our rampant consumerism just a tad.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #116
119. That's fine
you live your lifestyle, and I'll live mine.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #119
124. My lifestyle is, in part, designed to offset lifestyles like yours.
We do what we can. You have fun.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #124
128. What about my lifestyle is bad?
The homes are extremely energy efficient. We plan on photovoltaics being installed in our next home.

What the fuck is so bad about that, oh liberaller than I?
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #128
136. I never said it was bad.
Nice chip on your shoulder, by the way. I didn't say it was bad, only said that wasn't what I was doing. You've been extremely defensive on this entire thread and have gone round and round insisting that sustainability or economy of space is for do-gooders, and you'll have none of it. Well, bully for you.

"Energy efficient" as you're defining it isn't really very efficient. It sounds like you've bought into the advertising of housing developers, which is fine for you, but don't honestly think that saving just a few pennies on your electric bill makes you a hero. It's a totally passive attempt to kid yourself into thinking that it makes a difference, when the only thing that ever really makes a difference is looking for better ways to do things (construction, energy production and use, etc.).

I do applaud you, however, for your intention to use PV panels. I hope you really do--they're a wonderful resource that I wish more people would utilize.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #136
142. Here's where you said it
"My lifestyle is, in part, designed to offset lifestyles like yours."

and the reason I KNOW it's energy efficient is because I've been living in one for nearly two years! My mother's home is much smaller and she uses three times the kilowatthours and natural gas than we do! Her home was built in the 40's, ours is not yet two years old.

So there you go. When we add photovoltaics to the new home, we may not use ANY NET ELECTRICITY PER YEAR! If we go with our full plan which includes solar heating, we will barely use any natural gas in the dead of winter!

But because we choose aesthetic additions, we're bad guys.

PUHLEASE!

:eyes:
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #142
148. Sorry, I simply didn't say it was "bad."
But I do point out that it's not big on sustainability. If you take offense that what I do I do in part to offset those who don't conserve, that's your issue, not mine. Somebody needs to try to make a difference--I figure if I don't take some serious action in my own life and lifestyle, then I have no basis for talking about the issue at all.

As for aesthetics--the home designs we're looking at are all pretty fabulous, and simultaneously environment-friendly. One doesn't have to sacrifice one for the other, you know. I attached no good OR bad to your whole issue of aesthetics, other than to point out that I don't share your idea of what constitutes a handsome home. Again, chip on your shoulder, Walt.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #148
151. So you are saying I do not conserve
which is simply untrue. You demonstrated an anti-suburban bigotry making a generalized assumption due to where I live.

I probably conserve more than you do and unless you don't drive at all, I probably use less gasoline than you do because I take a train from my suburban city to downtown Chicago daily to go to work.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #151
159. Nope. Here's what I'm saying.
I'm saying that you protest a little too much at the very idea that we have an obligation--whether we choose to meet/accept it or not--to minimize our impact in the way we live. Pointing out that maybe somebody who wants that 2500 square foot house is not really doing so quite obviously pissed you off. So be it.

While you bluster on and on about how you're entitled to live anywhere and anyhow you damn well please, I simply pointed out what I'm doing to try to walk the proverbial walk. And part of the reason I do that is not only to minimize my own impact on the world, but hopefully to take up a little slack for those who don't make the effort. Sort of an extension of the "each one, teach one" idea. And that makes me a holier than thou liberal? I don't think so.

I, too, live in the suburbs, because it's the only place we can afford to rent at the moment. We conserve every way that we can think to without doing massive renovations on the townhouse (and that means being a little warmer than we'd like in the summer by leaving the windows open, and a little chillier in in the winter than we'd like. We deal). We recycle just about everything. In our postage-stamp sized backyard, we grow a small vegetable garden and keep a small compost bin. We belong to the local organic garden that the city is kind enough to provide an empty lot for, and grow more food on our 15x15 plot, which we pay $25 and 16 hours of volunteer labor for each year. Rather than drive, I commute on mass transit every day. We're in walking distance of the grocery store and library, and hoof it as often as possible. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I conserve at LEAST as much as you do, if not more.

My committment to sustainability didn't start with our house search last year. I've been living this way for a long time.
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yellowjacket Donating Member (111 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #159
247. Damn, it doesn't get much more noble than that!
This reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Lisa joins the environmental group. She talks about her compost heap at home and the leader of the group says, "What, you don't pocket mulch?"

This whole conversation is childish.

I have a feeling the only way I could conserve more energy than you two is to master cold fusion.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #247
297. I was challenged, and I answered.
Sorry you've got a problem with that.
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lukasahero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #159
286. I do all the same things you mention here except
I live in a 3100 sq ft house. Does that make me less liberal than you and not doing my part to preserve the planet?

We have an acre and a half on which we also grow our own vegetables. We use no chemicals and plant primarily native and often endangered species around the rest of the yard. More than half our yard is still wild and we are trying to buy the stream from the neighbor next to us to save and protect it and it's wetland. We belong to the Wildflower Society, the Tower Hill Botanical Garden, Mass Hort, the Arnold Aboretum and the Sierra Club, and support a dozen other "causes" we believe in with both our time and money.

We recycle everything that is recyclable and compost most of that which isn't.

We conserve in every way possible (I wear alot of sweaters - don't worry, they're natural blends) and have undertaken massive renovations in order to conserve even more.

I use mass transit every day and drive a small 4 cylander where I do have to drive.

My committment didn't start last year either. I've been living my values for as long as the decision about how I would live my life was my own (20 plus years).

But someone like you and others on this thread feel free to come along and determine that someone like me, simply because I own a house that's bigger than you think is acceptable or appropriate, isn't "walking the walk"? You're taking up slack for me? Get over yourself.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #286
301. Of course not.
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 10:53 AM by Shakespeare
It's quite obvious I'm not referring to someone like you. I'm talking generalities, which you infer to be absolutes. That's not the case, and you have no reason to take offense.

If you'll go back and read this string again, you'll notice that the other poster suggested that he probably conserved more than I do, blah blah blah. That's when I answered with the specifics of what I do, and why I do, and it should be crystal clear to you that you're not part of the population I referred to when I said I hoped my actions offset others' lack of conservation.

And I'll be really honest about how I feel about it--sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I get tired of sorting the recycling. Sometimes I'd love to run the air conditioner at 68 degrees around the clock, because it feels good. Sometimes the compost bin smells funky, and I have thoughts about chucking the whole thing into the dumpster. Trying to live better and with less environmental impact doesn't make one a saint, and much of the time it's not very fun. But I do it--we all do it--because we know it's important. Somehow, talking about that gets us branded as holier than thou. I don't think I'm the one who needs to "get over it," frankly.

It's really sad that we can't have a serious conversation on this board about what society as a whole can do to stop trashing the fucking planet, and part of that includes--whether you like it or not--seriously considering the way we live, especially as our society has developed over the last 150 years with the widespread use of fossil fuels. Yeah, we do need to consider things like suburban sprawl and living simply. It absolutely floors me that a handful on this board take such a discussion so very, very personally and instead of talking about what we can ALL do going forward, we get a big "fuck you." Yeah, that's productive.
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lukasahero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #301
305. But there's also alot of judgment in this thread
aimed directly at people like me simply because our house doesn't meet the poster's standards. Obviously I do seriously consider the impact the way I live has on the planet - I wouldn't live this way otherwise. I'm just tired of people here suggesting that because my house is bigger than their's, I must not be doing my part. Yes, I take it personally - read the thread - it might be mostly generalizations but few here show any inclination to understand or accept that anyone who lives in a bigger house might still share the same values and respect for the environment.

I realize your post was in response to Walt's but you're still judging him based on the size of his house or his desire to live where he wants before taking the time to understand what else he does. If I had said I lived in the size of the house I do without taking the time to annunciate what else I do to care for the earth and minimize the impact my life has on it, I'd have been thrashed just as he has been. Isn't it possible that there are more people like me out there that we might want to reach out to but we don't because we're so busy trashing them for the size of their house that we never find out that they're on our side?

It's not "talking about it" that gets people labeled "liberaller than thou", it's the tone of delivery, the accusations and the "with us or against" mentality that does. Judging someone's commitment to the environment based on one piece of information you (that being a general "you") have on them is the same tactic the RW idiots use. We are too quick to judge and condemn people we don't even know because they don't "suit" our model. Maybe we'd win a little more often if we didn't do that so much.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #305
307. That's why I specified generalities, and not absolutes.
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 11:40 AM by Shakespeare
And frankly, Walt's obstinate attitude has more to do with the responses he's getting than the size of the house he wants to buy.

I absolutely applaud you for what you're doing--and I don't have a problem with all big houses. As I said, I have a problem in general with the McMansion mindset--not with individuals (again, I refer to my first comment about Walt's attitude drawing more "judgment" than his intention to buy a big house). We were originally torn about whether to construct a new, "green" house or buy an existing older house and fix it up to be more energy efficient. I ADORE old, rickety houses, and there's something to be said for "recycling" old houses instead of building yet one more structure to take up space. So that's been a tough call for us to make, and I don't lump everybody into the same category on that front.

This is a situation where it's very hard not to make some sort of judgment, because identifying bad consumer habits is inherently judgmental on some level, but yes, we certainly have to be careful and considerate in how that's expressed. Heck, my husband and I have been putting ourselves through that kind of judgment for the last year or two as we've thought about what kind of house we want, and why. And even if we build a super-efficient, low-impact "green" house, there's still no way we're ever going to achieve some kind of eco-purity. I'll always feel a little guilty for making purchases that aren't for necessity items, or for buying products that use way too much packaging. I've tried to be much more self-aware of that over the last several years, and cut down on that as much as possible.

But, I ramble. Most of the judgment you see being tossed around here is on his attitude, and not his motives. Big difference, and that's why someone like you won't have people jumping all over them, because you make an effort to be thoughtful and actually discuss the issue without just being a jerk about it. I'll make a better effort at that myself--I try to rise above ad hominem attacks or self-spiting obstinacy, but can have a bad habit of responding in kind, which is rarely helpful. :toast:
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #307
308. You're showing why generalities are a bad thing
Speaking in generalituies sucks. This thread has demonstrated that adequately.

And did you ever think, it takes two to tango?

;)
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #308
310. No, they're not a bad thing.
It's the most practical way to approach the issue, frankly. And here's how it works: when someone presents a reasonable objection to some aspect of a generality, then specifics can be discussed and the issue further refined.

I'm not the one who started this tango, and I've already noted my habit of responding in kind.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #310
311. "I'm not the one who started this tango"
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 11:54 AM by Walt Starr
That's funny, neither am I. I only responded in kind.
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lukasahero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #307
314. Just between you and me
and god I know this will start it's own little war, but it's meant only in fun - two women, talking, listening and coming to agreement as a result. Yes, much better than attitudes and attacks. ;)

To be honest, my husband and I have worked through our own judgments, too - maybe that's why I take it personally sometimes. But I try to make a conscious effort to remember that everybody has their own story and judging them on what little facts are available to my eye is likely missing a good bit of that tale. But we do tend to shake our heads at some of the poor quality homes that are being built huge on postage-stamp sized lots and often wonder how folks are paying for them. (For the record, my house is 40 years old and my husband and I are older than it - this is not a typical "starter" home situation.)

But I am not a fan of generalizations (in general - hee) and I see far too much of it here not to speak up about it when I feel I can contribute. To most Republicans I am the very definition of a liberal, commie, pinko, bleeding heart socialist democrat but around here, because of a few facts about my life, I'm the frickin' anti-christ. It's sometimes hard not to get touchy about it. Thanks for working it through with me. :hi:
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #314
315. Nope, I totally get where you're coming from.
:hi:
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #128
143. My biggest problem with suburbanization is the way life becomes
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 04:22 PM by GumboYaYa
homogeneous in suburbs. My dislike of suburbs goes way beyond environmental factors.

Land planning, zoning and land use laws have made it so that every suburb is its own little microcosm of residents who are all generally the same type of people. Zoning laws prohibit mixed use developments so that commercial businesses are pushed off to strip malls that all look the same. Road and highway construction is done in a way that makes walking somewhere in the suburbs a virtual impossibility.

Most people get in their cars in suburban America and drive to work where they generally work with others just like them. After work they get in their cars and drive back to suburbia where they hide in their houses and watch fake families on TV.

We are losing the connections to others that we had when real neighborhoods existed. We go to big box stores where we don't know the clerks to get our staples for life instead of the corner grocery. We send our kids to private schools where we can make sure they aren't exposed to the "wrong elements". We go to restaraunts like Applebees and others where some faceless manager or waitress, who will be replaced in a few weeks, serves us.

Personally I see great value in knowing your neighbors, knowing the people you do business with every day, and having kids who are exposed to all various races, creeds, and social strata. To me that is a source of compassion in culture. Knowing the way other people live and understanding the struggles that people different from ourselves face every day are integral to creating a society where people seek justice for all.

Not all suburbanites have lost that connection to others (I know you haven't b/c of other posts you make in a regular basis), but a large number of them have.

All one needs to do is look at the architecture of suburban homes to see what is emphasized. Honestly, how many suburban homes have big front porches where people can sit and watch neighbors go by? From my observations the garage has replaced the porch as the prominent feature on the face of most suburan homes. How many people walk to stores, schools, or other activities in suburban neighborhoods? If you want to know the people who live around you, one easy way is to pass them on the street on a regular basis.

To me the problem with suburbs goes far beyond excessive energy use and environemtal concerns. To me suburbs are sucking the soul out of America, causing us to lose the compassion for others that made America a great country. People can live in suburbs all they want, but planning and zoning laws need to be changed so that real neighborhoods can be built instead of homogenous clusters of like-mimded folk. There are some good examples of mixed use suburban developments that have been very succesful, but unfortunately they are the exception to the rule.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:18 PM
Response to Reply #143
149. Reminds me of the RW hate radio thread ...
some time back. Because the suburbanites who are frustrated and angry while stuck in traffic in the cars, their rage building, naturally turn to RW radio to pass the time. Somehow, RW radio's meanness of spirit perfectly suits the suburban isolation, the nerve wracking drive, the exclusionary zoning and the agression you talk about.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #149
153. I don;t drive to work
and most folks who live in my suburb don't drive to work at all if they work in Chicago like I do.

I take a train daily.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #153
154. I think Gumbo and I were referring to the suburbs in general ...
sometimes, Walt, it's not all about you.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #154
155. Sorry, this subthread was directly in answer to a post of mine
and thus I took it personally.
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Liberal Veteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #155
193. Walt, criticism does not equal bashing/oppression.
There are a lot of good points being raised with regard to urban sprawl, big houses, long commutes, and other concerns about whether such a thing is really desirable in the long run.

Some people don't do a really great job of being constructive with their criticism, but there is no need to get beside ourselves everytime someone says something we don't particularly want to hear.

The same holds true for:

Criticisms of the south not voting for a candidate from the north.
Criticisms of religion trying to break down the separation of church/state.
Criticisms of the democratic presidential campaign.

And I am not singling you out. Too many people are unwilling to open their minds and take into account where the criticisms are coming from and instead get defensive.

I think we can do better.
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MXMLLN Donating Member (66 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #193
202. Let's all do better ... why don't we? n/t
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #149
172. That makes a lot of sense to me.
It just fits the whole homogenization of suburban live to let RW radio tell you how to think.

Walt, I was talking about suburbs in general not you. I have had too many conversations with you during the Dean days to not know that you are a dedicated liberal who believes in justice for all.
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formernaderite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #143
203. Geez, where do you live that all suburbanites send their kids to private
schools? Suburbanites are just trying to make it like everyone else. Most semi-urban close in older neighborhoods used to be the suburbs 50-70 yrs ago. They either didn't have garages, or they had them in the back of lot. People walked more because they had no car or only one car. A planned community isn't for me, but people I know who live in them would shoot down your notion that they don't know each other. They're way too much into the mixing with the neighbors thing for my taste, and many of these new houses do have front porches.

BTW, If you look at the wealthier older neighborhoods in Wash DC, you'll find lot's of white people who also happen to be democrats who wouldn't dream of putting their kids in public schools.

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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:24 PM
Response to Reply #203
242. It's not really public or private that matters. It is the
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 09:24 PM by GumboYaYa
homogenization of life that matters. There is little difference between a public school that is predominantely white middle class students versus a private school. A big motivator in the flight to the suburbs was white folks wanting to get away from black folks. While not universally true, there is still tremendous segregation in the suburbs and their schools. If you don't beleive that ask a black person who has tried to move to the suburbs how they were accepted in their new neighboirhood.

People will walk places when it is easier than driving a car. Unfortunartely, we have constructed the suburbs in ways that make it easier to drive than walk. Look at the sidewalks in suburbs, if they have any. The vast majority of suburban sidewalks are there for aestyhetic purpose but lack the real functionality of a sidewalk. I see these wastes of concrete all over the place where a sliver of a sidewalk is constructed next to a major thoroughfare with speeding traffic right next to pedestrians. City sidewalks in real cities typically have a line of trees in a green space between the street and sidewalk. This creates an environment where one is not scared for their life to walk, so they do. Sometime look at the entrance and egress to just about any major shopping area. They are funnels for traffic. Frequently nearby residential neighborhoods are walled off from the areas causing peopole to have to wlak substantially freater distances than the natural foot path. Look at residential zoning laws that require consistent density in residential developments with no commercial development anywhere near. Modern zoning practices dictate the strip malls we have that so segregate businesses from the people they serve.

As I said before, if you need to live in suburbs for whatever reason go ahead, but city planners and developers need to get smarter about how they build these communities if they want them to be around in fifty years.
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fleabert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 04:20 AM
Response to Reply #143
327. you are speaking from inside my head, TYVM!!! n/t
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formernaderite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #128
191. Hey, whatever floats your boat....
...people like what they like. I have to say, being in the building trades myself that many new homes with huge square foot numbers are infinitely tighter and more efficient to heat and cool than small older homes. However, there is always the concern that a house that is too tight, will retain noxious air quality.

I happen to prefer older homes pre 1964...more wood and more for me to redo. The floor plans in new homes are awesome, everything is efficiently laid out. In terms of "taste", most Americans don't stay in the same house or town and must always think about resale. Conventional homes, with faux architectural appeal, happen to be great resellers. In the end, your home has to be both a habitat and business venture.

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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #191
220. Thank you!
Well thought out post!
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poe Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #119
225. everything's connected
doesn't work that way walt. evry little thing is hitched to every other. how much of the world are you colonizing with your daily life? how much energy do you use? do you care about the next generations or folks who are around now or creatures habitats who are being devastated by the (your?) american way of life. this isn't meant as a recrimination. we all must use much, much less. small is beautiful. a turn to the local.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #225
227. Yes, everything is connected
and regardless of your *opinions*, I'm doing fine by the world.
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #109
131. Those look like hell. SUVs are ugly, too.
Somebody has to say it. Don't Americans love good design any longer?
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #131
132. And Dennis Kucinich lives in a carboard box!
At least, that';s what his ugly tiny little house looks like to me!
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #132
139. I won't argue with you there
Although I think it's a frame with vinyl siding.
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rhite5 Donating Member (510 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #109
283. I like the one with the front porch... hope it is functional.
Front porches have a welcoming friendly look, especially if there is room for a small table and some seating and some hanging flower baskets. One thing I do not like is a house front dominated by a 2 or 3 car garage. I want the garage placed further back, longer driveway to allow room for more guests to park.
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OneTwentyoNine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #109
294. Lets see Walt....I'll go with the double bay windows.....
BTW,where do you live? I think you said once but I can't remember...

David
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #102
228. Thanks
"Obviously it is a "quote" of some simulacrum of some simalacrum of some simulacrum of some distant memory of tudor; but why would an architect put in on such and house and why would a buyer want it? In tudor architecure these beams were supporting, load bearing beams. Here they are just decoration, and ironic quotes, the architecht "laughing" at the owner."

:toast: :loveya: :yourock:


No offense, Walt, but anyone who uses the word "simulacrum" in talking about McMansions has my full respect and attention. And I think the houses are wasteful. But, it's a free country, eh?
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girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 04:11 AM
Response to Reply #102
326. You would love my house.
Edited on Thu Jan-13-05 04:17 AM by girl gone mad
Seriously.

I live in Texas, and like you I prefer architecture and design that has some authenticity. My house was built in 1998 by the previous owner, but it looks like a prairie house. It's pretty much square with a big wrap around porch, simple as can be. As old-fashioned looking as it is, it suits my modern sensibilities.

This picture is the closest I could find. PIcture it well maintained, with windows, a front door, and a covered porch that goes all the way around. :)

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fleabert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 04:24 AM
Response to Reply #326
328. sounds like my parents old house in Boerne!
built to stay cool in the HOT south texas summers without much cooling.
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dryan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #54
258. Second photo....
looks like either the Gulfcoast (Around St. Petersburg) or South Florida.
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Megawatt Donating Member (118 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #3
90. This is why I have trouble believing all the doom and gloom
economics posted here. If a contractor wanted to build the kind of houses that I grew up in --- 3 BR, one Bathroom, 1000 sq ft, single car garage, built row after row, probably in about 5 days a piece - he would go broke - no one wants to buy anything that small. We were considered solidly middle class for our times - now the middle class wouldn't get anywhere near that kind of house.

Other examples of what was middle class in the 60s -- Probably 75% of the households in our neighborhood only had one car, one black and white TV, no kids took special classes, went to summer camps, took costly gymanistic, dancing, music, soccer, basketball camp lesson etc etc. We had to figure out how to organize pick up games amongst ourselves - oh the horror. You bought your jeans from Sears and you didn't pay triple to put someones name on your ass. Same with the Keds sneakers.

ONE family in my neighborhood had a boat. I look where I live today and it's almost a boat, 2 SUVs and a 40K pickup in every driveway.
We had to figure out how to organize pick up games amongst ourselves - oh the horror. Vacations consisted of tent camping in the state park 30 miles away - not a plane ride to EPCOT and a $200 a night hotel stay.

If the middle class today wasn't so caught up today in a consumerist one upmanship lifestyle - they might not feel so strapped. Maybe even mothers who wanted to stay at home, could afford to.

OK - old fart rant off.

Me : age 48.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #90
92. BRAVO!
We had organized little league in our town, closest thing to what people have for kids today. Everything else was a pickup game. We used to play the Oatmeal Bowel every year, got together in a vacant lot and played a game of football on the wettest, muddiest day of the fall.

And yep, what was middle class then is now upper lower class, or maybe, just maybe, lower middle class today.
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Love Bug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #90
104. Hey, Megawatt, I grew up like you did
all the way down to camping on weekends. Did you feel deprived not living in a 3,000 sq ft house? I know I didn't. We kids had a ball, too, playing together every day in the Summer in the open fields. Our moms didn't drive us anywhere, either -- we had bikes.

For all of the materal stuff kids have nowadays, I think we had it much better. (Jeeze, I sound like an old phart!)
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Donailin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #90
185. Nice
I hear ya, bud. Although we did have a boat, so did everyone else because we lived on the bay and my parents had to go back and forth to work on Fire island, NY in the summer. The boat was a wooden Eltro, and everyone else has fiberglass, so we was slummin' <g>

Where I live now, the pressure to be rich is insane and it is everything I can do to resist the pressure. My resolution last year was to achieve home ownership by expanding my small business. I went through every step I set out for myself and all was going according to plan until three major bad things happened. The things would not have stressed me out nearly as much if I had not set that goal for myself. I failed at reaching the goal and I see no way that I will reach it now, property values increased here 70% in the last three years.

This year, the goal has changed, I'm keeping it real. The goal now is character improvement and improvement on my relationship with my Spiritual Advisor, who said: "You cannot serve God and Mammon"
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Donailin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #185
196. one other thing about that american dream
I think it's a false and unhealthy goal. You see, they keep changing what the dream is. It used to be a roof over your head, two cars in the driveway and a dog in the yard. But now, the house -- the 3000 square foot house -- has to be in the "right" neighborhood with the right school district and the parents have to be married and both working as doctors and lawyers and the kids have to get straight A'a and you have to have college funds and a job that pays six figures and Blue Cross Blue Shield and a designer dog with the designer car and the European vacations. You also need to have a rider mower, but lawn service is better and starbucks twice a day and take out three times a week and Abercrombie Fitch. You better also have a portfolio which states that you have over 50k saved for retirement by the time you're thirty.

The american dream is bullshit, it's a nightmare. That's why we're the number one consumers of prozac and ritalin on the planet.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #90
204. Anyone who buys into that crap gets what he/she deserves
Namely, a lot of debt and a lot of headaches. I'm 47 and my kids don't get a lot more than what I got (they do just fine).
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uncertainty1999 Donating Member (223 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #90
253. uh... you have not been to Los Angeles lately
3 BR, 1000 sq ft, built row after row ...this type of house goes for $700K now in many parts of L.A. It is doom and gloom out here!
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Megawatt Donating Member (118 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 06:38 AM
Response to Reply #253
254. Man I feel for you
I rented a house in Diamond Bar 2000 to 2002. Even though logically everything about where I live now should is more positve, there is just something about LA that made me love it there. Might have something to do with barbequing in 70 degree weather in December looking north and seeing a palm tree in my near vision and the snow capped San Gabriels in my far vision.....
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #90
278. Too much generalizing going on here, guys.

Hubs & I live in an upscale suburb (Tom DeLay's hometown). If you want melting pot/salad bowl, come here! We have neighbors from France, Vietman, China, Mexico, Africa, Iran, Jordan, India, Pakistan, New Jersey, Minnesota, Chicago, California,and a good number of natural born Texans. Our block parties have THE BEST FOOD, by far!

Chicago was FAR more segregated.

Entry-level new housing is BOOMING here in Houston. 1200-1500 SF new construction w/ attached garage for 100K, maybe less. It's a very hot market.

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Ivan Sputnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
107. McMansionmania

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Liberal Veteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #107
194. OMG...that's hideous.....
:puke:
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #194
222. It's also a photoshop
as was the other one.
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theorist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:16 AM
Response to Original message
4. Keep those coal plants a-burnin'!!
Mercury makes water taste better, too! :puke:
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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:19 AM
Response to Original message
6. Mc mansions, hummers,narcissistic fibrosis,all part of shrubs
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 04:25 AM by orpupilofnature57
Raped new world, dominion theocracy
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #6
21. narcissistic fibrosis LOL!!!
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cattleman22 Donating Member (356 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #6
35. Unfortunately, those things are not just for right wingers.
Many leftists also live in large houses and drive gas guzzlers.
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blue neen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #35
64. And many of us "leftists" do not.
Fortunately.
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Green Thumb Donating Member (45 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #64
106. Exactly
Get a bike. You will be earth friendly and get your exercise.
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formernaderite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #35
206. Drive through the rich blue areas of Maryland and the District...
you'll see mostly McMansions and SUV's owned by democrats. However, the biggest SUV's are usually owned by minorities who live in lower middle class areas around the DC beltway. It is truly weird driving through Adelphi to Largo and see more Expeditions, Escalades and Hummers than anywhere else.....and NO they're not all owned by drug dealers.
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jdots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:21 AM
Response to Original message
7. All the beverly hill billy gated community mansions.....
are just cheap big houses instead of quality realistic size houses,energy efficiency is not in the equation,that would be anti neocon.
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andino Donating Member (668 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:26 AM
Response to Original message
8. It all depends.
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 04:27 AM by andino
A new house with good energy efficient windows, heating, air, etc. doesn't cost that much in energy at all. I have a 1800 sqr ft house that is 20 years old and the energy costs are about the same as the new 3500 and 4000 sqr ft houses that we are looking at. Plus it really depends on other factors such as how many windows and fireplaces are in the house. And stuff like that. I was really supprised to hear that the newer houses are more energy efficient these days. The only problem anymore is the amount of wood being used in them. On that note metal houses are quickly becoming popular. And from what I read, recycled metal is being used be some companies when they produce the metal infrastructure.
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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:11 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. No metal houses on neo-con Cul-de-sac, its not the material..
Its the message.
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #8
279. Steel prices have gone through the ROOF.
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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:24 AM
Response to Original message
11. In Aspen, $5-6,000/month to heat a MacMansion.
Heard an interview once on NPR with a builder in Aspen, discussing a new $15 million home. Even though the new mansions are required to conform with strict building codes with extreme insulation of windows, walls, etc., conserving indoor heating; these homes have features like heated, all-year-round outdoor pools, and heated driveways. Thus the huge monthly heating bills. However, the community has a program which requires homeowners to pay large (hundreds of thousands of dollars fees) to comp the community for the extra pollution caused by generating all the power these homes use. These fees are used on "green" projects. Anyone from Aspen with more info on this?
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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:28 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. I like that concept (COMMUNITY COMP) or ( PIG TAX) what it is!!
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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #11
74. If it costs 15M, I wouldn't call it a McMansion, that's way into real
mansion territory on the lectrobyte scale of house pricing opportunites. What I think of as a McMansion would be called a "midmarket" house, a step or two up from a starter home, but with an emphasis on pretensions of greatness and a fake sense of exclusivity.
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tk2kewl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #11
97. a heated driveway is assinine.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #97
100. Actually, it can be done fairly cost effectively
via solar means. If temps get too low it won't be very effective, though.

Electrical or gas heating of a driveway is assinine, though
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #11
157. $15 million home is not a McManison
It's a freakin' estate. The biggest home in Fairfax County probably doesn't go for $4 million.
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No Mandate Here. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:03 AM
Response to Original message
13. There are more than a few builders (me included)...
who prescribe to green and sustainable tenets like these...

www.notsobig.com

www.sbicouncil.com

www.realgoods.com /

(shameless self promotion... www.kooserrun.com )

www.aibd.com ... is the site for the American Institute of Building Designers, which is setting goals for combining the elements of Green Building, Sustainability and Universal Design, and will soon be in the forefront of the movement.

Universal Design is the concept of designing a home so it will fit and be very functional through all stages of the owners' lives. Right now, every home I design for a Boomer generation owner has a good bit of UD in it.

Hire green. Not all builders are bad for the environment. Just some, and even those will say they are meeting demand.

Let's demand something different.
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phylny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:16 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. Thanks for this info.
We're planning to build in Virginia in about 5 years, hopefully, and we've been talking about what we want in a house, and how it should be built. Maybe I'll contact you then if you've expanded your operations :) These sites are great.

We've owned four large houses, and we are paying less to heat and cool it than we did our first house - for the very reasons mentioned in other posts. The houses have been very well built, with very good insulation, windows, and energy-efficient furnaces.
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tapper Donating Member (87 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:07 AM
Response to Reply #13
20. Try cohousing as an option, too
Cohousers generally design their homes for sustainability, plus the concept is about enhancing community, including sharing facilities. Cohousing communities typically have fewer cars and use them less often (and they're parked on the side, out of the way). The plans for my community maxes out at about 1500 feet plus basement.

We're also planning to use 'SIP's (structural insulated paneling), which is supposed to have good R-values, plus it goes up fast and provides flexibility in design.

http://www.cohousing.org is a place to start.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:43 AM
Response to Reply #13
25. That should be the message
Solution oriented, for a change. Not just whine, bitch and moan. Good for you. You use FSC wood too, right? http://www.fscus.org/
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LizW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #13
47. Good info!
I'm bookmarking you. My husband and I are already planning for the day when it's just us and we can go even smaller than what we live in now.

One of my big interests is storage and organization for the small home. I'm constantly updating my storage systems to make our house more livable and organized. And with two kids, I'm constantly getting rid of stuff. The charities around here love me.
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:12 AM
Response to Original message
14. Just think about the property taxes one has to pay....upkeep is also
enormous.
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Mr.Green93 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:28 AM
Response to Original message
17. No one needs
over 250 sq. ft. of space. These "homes" should be divided up to provide living space for the poor, homeless and new immigrants.(jmho)
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ender Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #17
23. let me be the first to say:
hell no.
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Southpaw Bookworm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #17
32. Did you mean 2500?
And if so, I agree wholeheartedly.

Although, there are some of these homes in the DC area that actually are split into multifamily housing. It's one method for distributing low-income residents throughout a community without gathering the attention of NIMBYs and racists who don't want "those people" living in their "exclusive" neighborhood.
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Mike Daniels Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #17
33. People have the right to spend their money however they want
My in-laws live in a house about the size as the one in the picture and come holidays they need the space what with all the relatives that come over to stay.

Hell, I like being able to lounge around in something that big and I don't hold it against my in-laws for wanting to use their retirement income however they see fit.
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Mr.Green93 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #33
34. That's fine.
It is just my opinion that the housing stock should be nationalized and some divided according to need.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #34
42. Ah yes, the right's idea of what Democrats are
instead of what Democrats actually are.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #42
44. Alas, Comrade....
Someone has seen through our charade. To the barricades!



Let us exterminate the running dogs of the Capitalist Upper Classes. (And confiscate their mini-mansions!)



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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #17
39. 250 sq. ft? That sounds like a hotel room, or am I misunderstading
you?
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #17
51. That's just plain a bullshit idea!
Sorry, you CANNOT move anybody into my home. I worked hard for it and I earned it. My wife and I work many hours to have our home and we NEED a hell of a lot more than 250 squyuare feet. Hell, our apratment before buying our house had more room thna that!
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Bethany Rockafella Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #51
67. I think that was a typo.
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greendog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #67
75. Why do you think it was a typo?
The nicest house I ever lived in was only 300 sq ft. I had plenty of room. 250 sq ft. doesn't sound unreasonable to me.
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Tacos al Carbon Donating Member (326 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #75
91. 300 sq. ft. isn't a house
That's not even a proper shack. It's a one person college dorm room. Or a decent sized office. A house? I think not.
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GreenArrow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #91
96. visit a few other countries
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 02:42 PM by GreenArrow
especially in the developing world. I visited Belize a few years ago, and most of the homes were about the size of my living room. Americans just have a lot of shit and demand a lot of space. Supersize it!
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Tacos al Carbon Donating Member (326 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #96
197. I've lived in other countries
I was born in another country and have lived in many places. 300 square feet is an office, not a house, even in Belize. If you want a sense of proportion, a 300 square foot room is a little under 6 meters by 6 meters. For more perspective, a prison cell in Attica is 105 square feet.
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GreenArrow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #197
211. such as may be
but there was no shortages of very small houses there, whether 300 square feet or not, I saw many that were EXTREMELY small, particularly outside of the cities...and there aren't too many big cities in Belize. (Not to pick on Belize, but my experience with foreign countries is limited to that country, Mexico, and Canada).

At any rate, my point was geared more to suggesting that Americans typically have homes that are ever bigger becuase they tend to be compulsive, if not pathological, consumers. No doubt if people in places like Belize had more expendable wealth they would buy more junk and bigger houses to put it in.
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #96
282. You can spend most of your time OUTDOORS in Belize.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #75
178. Take out a calculator
And find the square root of 250.

250 sq. ft tranlates into a box ~15.8 ft per side. That's about twice what my college dorm room was, but not even close to what my one-bedroom apartment is, much less a nice house.
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greendog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #178
208. The place I live in now...
...is 385 sq ft. If you subtract the sq footage of the room that is my art studio (132 sq ft) my total living space is 253 sq ft. The space isn't designed to be very efficient but I don't see a shortage of space (for one person).

My point is that it is possible for one person (me :)) to be quite comfortable in a 250 sq ft place.

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lukasahero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #67
81. It's still bullsh*t
This whole thread is so self-righteous it's whacked.

Who's to say what someone else "needs" and what they should do with their money? Perhaps some people who live in larger homes are actually democrats who do give money to the homeless? Perhaps they have large or extended families living with them? Perhaps we should stop displaying our own ignorance and hypocrisy by dictating what everyone else needs and should do based on our own "values"? Doesn't that line of thought sound familiar to anyone else?
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Castilleja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #81
229. Amen to that!
Whoa...
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #17
57. Actually people can "live" in an iron lung.
Doesn't mean they should.

Actually, my house is 1,100 sq feet and there are four of us, two small kids, so I guess that doesn't average out to much more than that.

It's depressing to see mile after mile of minimansions standing empty during the day.... all that unused, heavily mortgaged space.

I think people might find happiness more sustainable with less but more interesting space. But I'm not going to go around telling people how to live. ;-)
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Jesus H. Christ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #17
73. Good idea.
Everytime a bank repossesses one of these houses they should be bought and turned into low income communal housing.

And it has the side benefit of pissing off assholes.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #73
76. It would never work
Government enforced ommunal housing simply would not work. I'm sorry, but there is just no way putting people from different families into the same McMansion would ever work out. Too much social baggage.
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Jesus H. Christ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #76
87. Worked fine for me in college.
All of the big houses near campus were rented out by the room.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #87
93. Four college kids sharing a house
is nowhere near the same as two poor families sharing a house.

Apples and oranges, my friend.
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:17 AM
Response to Original message
18. I was told people buy McMansions without ever xpecting to pay them off
They're "investments," expected to appreciate so much that you need never pay off your mortgage.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMansion
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LisaLynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:35 AM
Response to Reply #18
24. Yeah, that's the plan ...
However, I just have to wonder if it's going to work out for them, considering the TONS of them they keep building where I live. How can that be sustainable from even an economic point of view (let alone, you know, environmental sustainability).

But, it is just the way people think now. Young married couples rarely start out in a "starter" home anymore -- they go right in for the McMansion and think they have a right to it. Ok, some of them -- not all. :) Don't want to generalize. You should have heard the comments my brother and his wife got when they bought a modest home (it's adorable, by the way), instead of trying to get something huge. Sigh.
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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #24
55. Well, starter homes may not be the deal you think they are
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 11:24 AM by lectrobyte
My starter house (first house) was actually one of the most expensive houses I owned, due to the fact that there were a glut of ~1200 sq ft 3BR's on the market at the time I was ready to move, and everybody wanted something a bit bigger. I moved to a newer 1800 sq ft house, with cheaper energy bills, and made some money when I sold it 5 years later. Now, if I were going to build a house and live in it for 40 yrs or more, the considerations would be different. I think though, that there are a lot of ridiculous homes being built, but with larger extended families (one of my neighbors has a 4000 sq ft monster, but a retired father-in-law and college-graduate daughter live there too), they do make sense sometimes.
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LisaLynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #55
62. What I'm trying to say is ...
two people do not need a 4000 sq ft house. That may have been your experience, but what I'm talking about is a first-time home buying family of two who chose to buy an $80k, 1200 sq ft house instead of doing what their friends were doing and taking out a $300k mortgage on a 3000+ sq ft house that two people were going to live in.

I didn't say that no one ever needs a larger house, but the point I was trying to make was that not everyone needs a 4000 sq ft house. In a lot of circumstances, it's wasteful, but it has become the fad.
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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #62
82. I agree. 4000 sq ft is insane, especially getting that deep into
debt for a young couple. My first house was 1200 sq ft, a not too old starter house. If I'd struggled a bit more, I could have gotten into a more energy-efficient larger house with much better resale. I might have been a little "house poor" up front, but much better shape debt wise when I had to sell it. Double income makes a difference too.

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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #82
84. I'm in my first home
Always rented until last year when my wife and I closed on a new home. 1500 sq. ft., and it's not nearly enough room for us.

For my part, 2500 sq. ft. would be more than adequate, but what I really want is a large lot, say about 1/2 acre or so.
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GreenArrow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #82
99. "starter house"
Wotta concept! Only in America...

:crazy:
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #99
105. Tha'ts what makes America Great!
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 02:48 PM by Walt Starr
Land of opportunity!

My mother came from dirt poor folks. She never had indoor plumbing growing up. She ended up going to work for the government at age 18 and began building a life for herself. She now owns her home free and clear.

Her work made it possible for my brothers and I to get further ahead than she did. I now am on a "starter home" with plans to upgrade to a larger home.

This is America, where opportunity awaits those who will grab it.
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #18
60. that's my uncle
he came to Atlanta suburbs 7 years ago, and has already moved THREE times!! now he and my aunt (empty nesters) are living ALONE in a ten bedroom home!!!!
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #60
115. Atlanta is out of control--they lose over 27 acres of trees a *day*
because of the unplanned, crazy sprawl. Georgia Conservancy estimates that the area will lose 200,000 acres of tree cover by 2020. I guess living in a gigantic, poorly constructed house and spending two hours a day in bumper to bumper traffic while experiencing some of the worst air quality in the U.S. is the American Dream.
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The Flaming Red Head Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:57 AM
Response to Original message
19. You know they love to build along vulnerable coastlines.


They block views, destroy natural habitats, ruin wetlands, but maybe mother nature will kick their asses for us.
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Willy Lee Donating Member (925 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #19
68. Then bitch when mudslides wash them into the Pacific.
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
22. Heating the pool water--now THAT's expensive!
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radwriter0555 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:43 AM
Response to Original message
26. You can only be in one room at a time... like I always say...
I don't need a big house OR a big car. I have nice, small cozy versions of both and they're paid for!
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gollygee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:51 AM
Response to Original message
28. That's why we chose a small house
No point heating space we won't use anyway. I have friends with McMansions who don't use half the space. Seems like a waste of natural gas and cleaning time to me.
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #28
59. Most people have cleaning ladies
if they have that sort of house
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Willy Lee Donating Member (925 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #28
71. We downsized. 2400 sq feet to 900.
We really don't need that much space- badroom, kitchen, living room, study/library. Chose a tiny house on a big lot (2+ acres) rather than a big house right in my neighbors face.

Loving every minute of it.

Still can't keep the damn thing clean tho!
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gollygee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #71
77. LOL
ours is a little bigger - 1200 square feet - but we love it too. We plan on our daughter being an only child so we didn't feel we needed a big house. My husband was more interested in having a big garage. LOL
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #71
114. Sounds like us
Small house, about 1,000 square feet, on two acres.
And no, we can't keep it clean, either.
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doodadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #71
287. We downsized too
And I gotta tell you folks--I MISS my big house! But we had a huge (3,000+ sq.ft.) log home previously. The walls were a foot thick, and it was very energy efficient, winter and summer.
So then, we move to Calif. and buy a gorgeous little mountain ranch, with a less than 1,000 sq. foot ancient little farmhouse. Most of our stuff ended up stored in the garage, and the squirrels moved in and destroyed it.
The plan is to eventually add onto the little farmhouse, and make it a log/adobe hybrid.
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MsConduct Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:55 AM
Response to Original message
29. Unless these mansion owners are all on the rethug payroll
what's gonna happen when this country crashes and there are no rich folks left? Tsk, tsk.
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kiraboo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:57 AM
Response to Original message
30. I live in a huge house
but it's 120 years old and pretty tight. What do you suggest? That we tear down these magnificent historical beauties and put a couple of mobile homes on the property?
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Southpaw Bookworm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. Not talking about historic homes
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 09:05 AM by Southpaw Bookworm
In fact, often historic homes are torn down to build these things. Often, these McMansions are 10 feet apart or less. Here in the DC area, that's how builders get around land use restrictions that require builders to provide "townhouses" supposedly for affordable housing: These 2500 sq. ft. homes are so close so that they share a basement wall, so that they can be considered rowhouses.) They are poorly built or cheap materials, make poor use of limited land, and often are antithetical to the historic character of a neighborhood. In some areas of Virginia, you'll have one of these things in a neighborhood of 750-sq-ft cape cods.

Not to mention that it's immoral to have that much space for one family, possibly of just two people, when public servants have to move 50 miles from their jobs to afford a house and when there's a two-year waiting list for families to get in to a homeless shelter.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #31
43. Historic homes versus McMansions
There was some justification for the size of the historic homes in the days when people had twelve children and three servants. They also heated only the rooms they were actually using and often didn't even have electricity.

So many of these McMansions are being bought by pairs of affluent professionals who don't have children, perhaps don't intend to have children, and have maybe a once-a-week housekeeper coming in.

In my crabbier moments, I long for the return of sumptuary laws.
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #43
127. Good point--no air conditioning, and heat use was minimal n/t
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Donailin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #30
205. hell no
If i had the moeny, the house I would buy is over 100 years old, is located in Bethesda and is architectually magnificent with turret and finished attic and trees as old as the home. The house with character and nuance and to die for crown molding and claw and foot tubs and art-deco tile from the renovation in the fifties. The walls are plaster and floors are wood and fireplace is real and original and working.
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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
36. I was reading an article about a "green" home
and they said they got their ideas from a book called something like Very Small Homes. The house had 2500 ft. just for two people! I just don't know who considers that a small home.
They must think we are really slumming it in our 1600 ft. and family of three.
I'm sure there are exceptions and good reasons for some people, but generally I think it's just another trend toward ostentatious consumerism and I find it disgusting.
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
37. Our homes are actually at least as big of energy consumers
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 10:00 AM by GumboYaYa
as our cars. Fortunately, it is fairly easy and inexpensive to conserve energy in a home. Things like using power strips on computers, stereos, and tvs where one can actually turn off the power supply when not in use save energy cheaply and easily. Turning off lights when they aren't used and using energy efficient lightbulbs save tons of energy (here is a site where you can buy flourescent lightbulbs cheaply www.1000bulbs.com ). Weather stripping and caulk are also inexpensive. You can pick up a solar attic fan for about $300 and it will save tons of energy. I built a giant solar air heater from recycled aluminum cans (total cost about $60.00) this year and our heating bills have been cut in half this winter. More expensive steps like new windows are more expensive, but pay for themselves within a few years.

The biggest problem I have with the McMansions is not the energy usage, but rather the sprawl and low eficiency land use required to keep building these monsters. America has lost its sense of community and connection to others b/c we get in our cars and drive from our McMansions in the safe environment of our car to a job where we surround ourselves with others like us. When work is done we climb back in the car and head back to the McMansions, where the neighbors we know are just like us. There is no sense of the interdependence and connection between people when we live isolated lives in the suburbs. There is no realization of how people that are different from us live.

Aside from the damage to the environment, suburbanization and McMansions have killed our souls.
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drdtroit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
40. Further enforcing the "great American identity crisis"! n/t
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
41. dusting and vacuuming
I once rented a 4000sq foot house, and i recall the day i gave up
using several rooms, so i would not have to constantly vacuum them
and dust. Just maintaining the place was such a hastle, especially
if i did not want my privacy invaded by having a domestic cleaning
person helping.
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LibDemAlways Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:39 AM
Response to Original message
45. A decade ago the last "affordable"
homes were built in my So. Cal. neighborhood. Now the place is built out and the most recent homes built three years ago were all originally priced at 600K and up. There is nothing for sale in this community now for less than 300K and that is for a one-bedroom 700 sq. foot condo. Single family homes now start at 600K and the McMansions built within the last few years are reselling for over a million.

Heating the big monsters is problematic, but getting into them in the first place requires a king's ransom, or so you'd think. Turns out mortgage lenders have been doling out money like penny candy and many people are in debt up to their eyeballs. I personally know several new "homeowners" who are in hock to the tune of over a million dollars
with first and second mortgages totalling the cost of the home -- no down financing.

Seems to me this is a very shaky house of cards and will inevitably lead to foreclosures and bankruptcies down the line when interest rates rise, prices fall, and these McMansion owners are left holding the bag.
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idiosyncratic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #45
89. I heard of one couple who couldn't afford the water bill
This was in Poway, north of San Diego, and they got into this house because that was the "lifestyle" they aspired to.

However, they couldn't afford the water bill to maintain the landscaping, considerably pissing off the neighbors who had purchased their homes years earlier for much less money.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #45
98. I was doing a bunch of door-to-door canvassing a few years ago, much of it
in McMansion neighborhoods, and I was amazed at how many of these places were almost empty of furniture. I think many people were mortgaged so deep they couldn't furnish the place. Not a very soulful way to live, IMO.
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #98
120. It's true, my SIL had to wait seven years for living room furniture
It's enormous, of course--couches that can accomodate a visiting NBA team--but how else can you fill up these enormous rooms?
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
46. Actually, no it doesn't
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 10:43 AM by Walt Starr
New homes are so efficient that in most cases it costs less than a third to heat and cool them as it does for homes built ten years ago!
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
49.  Dennis Kucinich's house



Large houses piss me off, however they do bring in a valuable source of tax income for public schools. That is if your community has not been swept by rapid anti-taxers.
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Tactical Progressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #49
83. I think that's the ugliest house
I've ever seen.
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #83
123. That's a classic Cleveland working-class house
You should see the ones with the Fred Flintstone facades.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #123
145. Yeah, but he has fake shutters so he's a baaaaad person with no taste
at least according to some on this thread.

:eyes:
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UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
53. McMansions? Christ those things are ugly.
They're always way too big for the lot, and seem to be made of chintzy materials like stucco on top of tar paper on top of the thinnest plywood.

I always thought if I had a house, I'd do one with the bottom story partially submerged with just windows around the tops of the rooms, to take advantage of the more consistent temperature of the ground to keep warm/cool.

I like those hobbit houses, too!
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mtnsnake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
61. A close relative just built a 13,500 square foot home for the 2 of them!
Is that gross or what? Their 3 kids are grown up and gone. They built it on this supposedly most desirable tiny piece of land and right among a bunch of other rich people....and they all hate each other as neighbors! I think they did it because they expected all the kids and relatives would want nothing more to do but to come and visit them all the time at this mansion. Funny thing is, it aint working out that way. What the heck good is an oversized mansion in the middle of town if you have nobody to share it with?
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GoSolar Donating Member (295 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #61
63. Sad
all the way around.
:-(
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:18 PM
Response to Original message
65. Depends on how much effort they put into making it efficient. Check this
out: http://www.solarhouse.com /

----------------------------------------------------------
Save our country one town, county, and state at a time!
http://timeforachange.bluelemur.com/electionreform.htm#...
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
69. Yep it does.
My sister works for an A/C company. The California Central Valley always gets into the 100F to 105F range every summer, and occasionally hotter, and every summer she gets calls from Bay Area transplants in their shiny new McMansions compaining that their A/C doesn't work. Almost without fail, the complaints originate from people who had no idea that big, boxy stucco houses are hard to cool.

She has customers that spend almost a thousand dollars a month on electricity alone to cool their homes. In the winter they spend almost as much to heat them.

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catmandu57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
70. Our home
1345 sq. feet is just big enough for the two of us. We use the level pay gas plan and it runs us 86.00 per month, we weather proof as best we can and some day after we trim the shrubbery and the horse sings I'm going to get solar energy to help with the heating.

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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #70
79. Partially heating your home with solar energy is extremely inexpensive
and easy to accomplish. Try this link: http://www.hotboxsolar.com/gallery.html to see solar air heaters at work. You can purchase prefab solar air heaters for $500-$1,000, but it is also easy and inexpensive to build one on your own. I made one from recycled aluminum cans using a south facing basement window and it works great. On clear, sunny days, we don't need to use the heat in our home. Our gas bill is less than half what it was during winter last year.
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NoSheep Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #79
152. I would love to know more about how you made your own
dianwilson2004@yahoo.com :hi:
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #152
162. YGM. n/m
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doodadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #162
292. Thanks for the solar link, GumboYaYa!
We've been looking for a reasonable solar heating alternative, and all we've seen have been exorbitant initial outlay. I believe we even get tax credits for solar heating here in Calif. (where we finally have sun today for the first time in about 2 weeks).
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #292
300. You are more than welcome. Good luck going solar!
I know I keep preaching it and it must get old, but it is very inexpensive to build these yourself. I built mine from aluminum cans that I collecetd from my neighbors recycling bins. Fortunately, I already had a south facing window in my basement to use as a frame, but even without that the design is simple.

All you do is glue the cans together in the size of your frame (a piece of glazed glass with a wood frame), paint the cans black with a flat black paint, cut a piece of styrofoam insulation the size of your frame and mount it behind the cans, do the same with a piece of plywood behind the insulation, cut an intake hole in the bottom and an exhaust hole in the top, attach a vent fan and then figure out where you will drill a hole to get it to blow warm air into the house.
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fleabert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 04:52 AM
Response to Reply #152
329. self delete, sorry! you already answered it...nt
Edited on Thu Jan-13-05 04:53 AM by fleabert
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amazona Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
72. who buys them? that's what I can't figure out
In western St. Tammany Parish (Louisiana) it is more McMansions than not, and this is a poor state. I don't know where the money is coming from. OK, so Master P bought a house here, but that's one rap star. One. All these nice ladies I see in the grocery store can't ALL be married to money-launderers, emergency room physicians, and real estate developers, can they? I look at all the Jaguars and SUVs that go by and I can't figure it out. Incomes are just not that high.

You think it might all be a big Ponzi scheme done on borrowed money? It is all I can figure out. In that case, when the dollar collapses, they'll be OK, because their debt will be in worthless dollars and they'll still have the goods?

I'm told that some of these houses are empty inside but I don't know. The ones where I've actually slipped inside for a look were decorated to the nines.

The conservation movement is a breeding ground of communists
and other subversives. We intend to clean them out,
even if it means rounding up every birdwatcher in the country.
--John Mitchell, US Attorney General 1969-72


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RaRa Donating Member (705 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #72
85. That's what we say to ourselves all the time
when we drive by the developments with 4+ story homes. There can't be more than 3 or 4 people living in each. How do they afford them? You know they've all got expensive upgrades etc. My husband makes a good living, but we're stretching things as it is. I just don't get it.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #85
117. They do without
Literally. Some of the cops I know have gone into those houses and the family is living on deck and lawn chairs -- with a big screen TV, of course.
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genieroze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 07:44 AM
Response to Reply #85
260. It's the same with us according to * co we are in the top 20% and I
don't see it. Of course we live in NJ with some of the highest taxes in the country and we get the least bang for our federal buck.
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WMliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
80. check out this month's Sierra magazine.
It discusses Green architecture. It also has a list of simple things you can add to your home that aren't too pricey.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
86. Well, I live in an older house, aprox 2100 sq ft.
And love having the extra room. The main portion of the house was originally built during the WWI era, but it got moved onto a new foundation ten years ago, had a couple of rooms added and the basement finished out. It was done fairly half-assed, thus we have a fixer upper on our hands, but it truly is a fun project. It is set on twenty acres in the middle of nowhere, which is fine with me. Within five years the house will be converted to wood heat, and have a couple of kilowatts worth of solar panels on top. Within ten years I'll have a windmill going, along with an organic orchard and garden.

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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
88. I'd mind them a lot less is...
...if the developers building them ALSO built some simple, basic, (cheap!) starter housing/apartments where you can put your stuff while saving up your Yankee Dollars for a family-sized place. Around here the closest that comes to that description is reserved for 55-and-olders!
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AngryOldDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #88
101. And I'd mind them a lot less...
...if just as much time, ingenuity, and money were spent building simple, safe, and affordable housing for those who truly need it.

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mattclearing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
103. Yeah, McMansions are ridiculous.
These things are just getting sillier and sillier.
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PROGRESSIVE1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
111. McMansions
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stanwyck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
134. If you hate your kids,
build one of those bourgeois masterpieces. You'll never see your kids. There will be six TVs. And every night, you'll retire to your own country and watch your own TV. It's a hotel. You won't hear their friends and what they discuss. You'll rarely have to see each other. And your kids can come and go at all hours and you won't have to be bothered.
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UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:56 PM
Response to Original message
135. Now THIS is a house.


And a nice Frank Lloyd Wright interior:



Oh yeah, here is the FIRST McMansion:



Okay, so it's not cheesy stucco, but it is a bit MUCH.
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #135
140. Fallingwater is such a beautiful house.
I heard a while back that it was threated by decay - is it OK?
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UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #140
146. THere are details on the preservation efforts here:
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #135
147. Not everybody can afford a mansion
thus suburban subdivisions exist.
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UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #147
156. Fallingwater is not a mansion.
It's not especially big. It's just beautiful.

But of course, not everybody has the nice chunk of land it sits on, and thus suburbs exist. But brownstones in NYC have as much space as suburban houses and are much more beautiful.

I really wish we would rethink the way we are building these awful suburbs with their cul-de-sacs and garage doors. They all disintegrate into slums within 20 years or so, because they are so non-conducive to community and because of their poor materials. To put it another way, they have "bad feng shui".



Beautiful - exists within a community. Parks, stores etc are within walking distance. Garbage, garage, etc can be in an alley in the back.



Ugly, disconnected, not space-efficient, an utter failure of civic planning.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #156
158. So it comes to taste
You can have your brownstone. I got out of the city because I think that sort of living sucks and those sorts of buildings are just plain ugly. Nobody in the neighborhood knew anybody else. Crime was horrible, and this was in a gentrified area! Gunshots heard at least once each week, and a death from gunshot wounds in the alley behind the houses across the street.

To each their own. I love my current mneighborhood, know most of the people in it, and it's more diverse than the Chicago neighborhood I used to live in. Chicago, of course, is still one of the most segregated cities in the country.
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UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #158
168. I live in a row house in San Francisco
I posted the NY brownstone, because I think they are prettier than the houses we have here, but I still think they are nicer than tract houses. There is little crime here, and many of the suburbs I have lived in were plagued by crime and gangs, not to mention obnoxious people driving around with their bass-boom cars. My present, very urban neighborhood is QUIETER than most of the suburbs I've lived in.

Anyway, even if you do prefer flimsy tract houses, you must realize how unsustainable they are, whether from a standpoint of traffic or ecology, or simply space. At the rate we are going, in 50 years there will be no space left for anything and traffic will be at a standstill, everywhere. I'd rather we started building sustainable communities NOW, so we don't have to tear it all down and do it over later.

Now would be a good time to start tearing down a lot of the suburban blight built in the 60s and 70's and replacing it with more workable, higher-density communities.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #168
179. I despise high desity areas
Sorry, it goes back to tase. There's more than enough room, and work at home options are making this sort of thing even more common.
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UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #179
188. I disagree that there is more than enough room.
The farms that we require to produce our food require much more space than our housing, and it's also wise to try and preserve at least SOME wilderness space. It is not 1860. Get your head out of the sand!

http://www.sfu.ca/geog355fall02/jkarakas/Introduction.h...

This is not made-up nonsense.
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #188
195. We may need more ariable land in the future
The production of bio-fuels will require land in addition to that on which we grow our food, even if we go to efficient crops like hemp. The sooner Levittown is plowed under the sooner we can stop sending money to the Saudis.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #188
217. Believe what you will
It is my considered opinion the site you linked is hokum.
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UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:34 PM
Response to Reply #217
231. It is very widely thought by almost all social scientists and ecologists..
that the suburban model is a completely unsustainable one for the long-term future. It's hardly hokum or merely my "belief"

I could respect if you were honest enough to say "Yeah, I know the suburban lifestyle is going to go the way of the dinosaur someday, but for now I want to enjoy it", but your obstinance is pretty bizarre. Enjoy your fantasy world, while it lasts.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #231
233. Subrubs have been around a long time
and will remain in place. I simply do not see it going the way of dinosaurs, especially if rapid transit systems are imporved.

I live in a Chicago suburb. I take a train daily to work and home each evening. If Atlanta had this model, it's suburb system would be sustainable.
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #168
187. And we have urban McCondos
They tear down a perfectly good house or two flat and put up a concrete-sided four or five story condo with a cheap red brick facade and fake Georgian windows with plastic mullions and jam five tiny boxwoods into a pile of red landscaping gravel in front and voila--a big buttugly condo! My husband calls them "slums of the future." I especially like the ones with the driveway clearances and garages in the *front* so that the street parking is lost. They're still more energy-efficient than suburban McMansions, but they are a blight on the cityscape.
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UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #187
192. You live in SF too?
The little boxwoods sound familiar...


It's still a great place to live, tho.
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #192
200. No Chicago. Butt-ugly condos are a national illness
San Francisco is so beautiful that I don't know why anyone would want to build an ugly house there. You know, my grandfather was a salesman for Sears homes back in the 20s and 30s. These were, if I remember correctly, kits for building houses that you could buy from Sears--I think the blueprints could be customized and you could choose materials as well. They were (are, since many are still around) well-designed and aesthetically pleasing, and aimed at the working to middle class home buyer. I'm puzzled as to whether the market (consumers) demanded such lovely homes, or whether residential architects and builders simply provided them, assuming they would sell.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #200
207. Those "kit houses" are making a comeback!
Talk about one of our better American ideas...

Those homes have held up extremely well over the decades (especially the Sears Craftsman homes), make good use of space and were AFFORDABLE. A few companies have wised up to this and, if you do a little research, you can find kit houses now in a wide variety of archictural styles and sizes. We're looking at a few of those options now, and checking out what our customization options are to incorporate more green elements (like PV panels, radiant heating, etc). It takes a bit of work, but you don't have to settle for a suburbian clone home anymore, and some of them are cheaper than the ready-mades you'll find in residential developments.
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #207
274. "Kit houses" in Northern Va are going for $500K
It's a strange world.
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MXMLLN Donating Member (66 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #156
198. To each his own ...
I'm glad that we have both alternatives ... that way we both can be happy with where we live.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #156
215. Thanks for that lovely first image ...
It looks like Park Slope, Brooklyn, no?
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UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #215
232. Actually, it's western PA.
And here's another nice one.



http://www.paconserve.org/fallingwater/
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Liberal Veteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
150. I have no interest in owning a very large home.
My home is 900 sq. ft. and that's big enough for me and my bf.

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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #150
165. I don't know, someone earlier posted that you only get 250 s.f.
so you have room for nearly 2 more folks... Just kidding. ;-)
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Donailin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
173. You mean the McMansions?
They're hideous, poorly built and a total waste of space.

There's a whole community of them down the road. What was once a lovely forest is now a neighborhood of identical cookie cut out homes with tiny trees planted in between houses which are on 1/5th acres. Truly ridiculous. It reminds me of the movie Poltergeist, the land was sacred and the white man in all his greed just had to destroy it and build monstrosities.

They go for around $750k here in Montgomery County, MD

And those stupid designer windows that don't even open and are placed high up amidst their 30 foot walls. How the hell are you supposed to clean them?
But folks think getting into them is a total sign of upper middle class success. That may be the case, but it's also a sign of american stupidity.
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
175. Wouldn't be a problem if we'd start investing in renewable energy
Unfortunately, * would rather use that money to bomb Iraq.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #175
184. Renewable energy for homes is already a reality
http://www.solarhouse.com/index2.htm

Photovoltaics and solar heating can make a home nearly self sufficient from an energy standpoint.
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NC_Nurse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
210. They just built one right above me
UGH!

They've invaded Chapel Hill in a big way!

I always want to ask the owners...so when are the homeless children you're adopting going to move in? They've got room for a boatload of Haitian immigrants in those homes, but they usually seem to have a kid or two.

I find that ostentatious and disturbing...why do they need these HUGE homes?

:wtf:
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GreenArrow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
212. Pure ostentation, for the most part
Pride goeth before a fall.
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BronxBoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
213. What's Interesting is that......
we all seem to be talking about the size of the house and not the size of the lot it sits on. We recently relocated to the south to an area where McMansions are popular. I was amazed at the tiny lots these houses were built on. I mean the living room was bigger than some of the backyards. And in just about every sub-development, they clear cut every single tree. We were very lucky and found a 4 year old reasonably sized house on 3 acres of land (Great for our gardening) but some of these sub-divisions just freaked me out. We looked at some houses where half the the backyard was almost at a 90 degree angle in relation to the house. I mean you have to go outside sometime!!!
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hmogrief Donating Member (11 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:59 PM
Response to Original message
219. Sit on the floor
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 07:01 PM by hmogrief
As a Chicago area member of SAG, I spend a lot of time delivering pizzas, and I will testify to the fact that those big houses in far northwest suburban Chicago are mostly void of furniture...at least downstairs.
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #219
293. Naperville is the same way. Nothing in the living rooms but
the kids toys. Sheets for window coverings.

Hubby's a bigshot w/ a major builder. He gets asked CONSTANTLY why we don't build a new house for ourselves (company discount! Built-in equity!) His response is always the same: What the hell would I want to do THAT for? Skinny scrawny trees, expensive window coverings, and you don't know who your neighbors will be.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
223. Some houses from Queens, NYC an old suburb
Just thought you would like to see how they used to build em:

Notice that the old suburbs have both sidewalks and streets, and although you cannot see from this picture, mixed use commercial areas would be within walking distance:



Here the gabled front reaches out to get sunlight, as does the bay window; yet the front porch is shaded for summer:



Some houses had plenty of whimsy and fakery, but nevertheless even these elements had use value and created interesting livable spaces inside with lots of light and air.

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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #223
252. Thanks for posting those pics.
Contrast those neighborhoods with newer suburbs where there are no sidewalks, or the ones that exist abut the street with no tree line separating the two. Add to that the segregated commercial areas accesible only by major roads and it is easy to see why people don't walk in the burbs. Hell I wouldn't walk if I lived out there. I would fear for my life everytime I stepped foot on one of those pseudo-sidewalks they build.
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:05 PM
Response to Original message
224. Feeding the Moat Monster
Gets expensive and is really a hassle when you leave town - unless you're really counting on salesmen, girl scouts and burglers to provide. And the fines from Animal Control if it gets loose are staggering.

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poe Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
230. natural builders movemet
build with all natural materials. many options. straw bale, cordwood, cob, papercrete. have a living roof. save seeds in suburbia. get with the low, low energy life or perish americanus gluttonous. build small funky dwellings . have a strawberry patch on your living roof. get a car share program going. stop eating the world. it is not a political issue it's survival. and how about reenchantment of our everyday lives. build with friends.
the earth is groaning with each new mcmansion. the world is waiting, not for a fix but for entirely new modes based on the timeless traditions of elegant simplicity.
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vetwife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #230
235. You are kidding right?
Here is my 5 bedroom 3 bath home and I need everyone one of them.


Yes its in Georgia. Built well. Less than rent and houses 7 people.
I can just see 7 of us in a 250 sqft home.

I am blessed with that home and don't worship it but have lived in a whole lot less and a whole lot worse.

I worked for years and I still do and can't a house be a home even if its over 2800 sq. ft?
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poe Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #235
243. not kidding
natural builders movement is vibrant in u.s. in these limited discussions it often comes down to square feet, insulation rating, solar, etc. which are all important but we must consider all consequences of energy- extraction for resources, resulting pollution from processes involved etc. i'm not saying be a purist. i have seen many funky and functional types of building.
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:43 PM
Response to Reply #243
244. Saw one of these buildings on Oprah, of all places
Her foundation used natural building materials for a library on an Indian reservation. It looked really nice when it was finished, and it was extremely well insulated.
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vetwife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #243
245. If you are not kidding..I gotta know
So what are you paying for 250 SQ ft?
800 a month is not bad for the house I have.The utilities are low and the fireplace is nice. Tell me true..just how much does one charge for that type of space?
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poe Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #245
250. not kidding revisited
not sure where the 250 sq. ft. came in. with two kids we certainly need more than that, but 2000 sq. ft. is too much if we are talking about long term sustainability. of course if you have loads of folk in a 1500 sq. ft. domicile you may be using far less energy than others. no two situations are alike. i think we all know americans are energy slobs and many are making sincere efforts to live conciously. not nearly enough but let's hope we get there soon.
the point is to take all energy inputs into account and ask what's my damage? there is also much to consider about materials. did it come from old growth? whose labor went into the various processes? how far was it shipped? are the materials toxic? a lot to consider i suppose.
elegant simplicity. wealth is the problem, poverty is it's natural offspring.
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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #235
288. I think the 250 sq ft thing was a different person, see post 17 in
this thread. I think they meant 250 sq ft per person living there, I hope, not total size. I'm a little torn over the notion of "limiting" folks to a house size. Maybe make the tax structure progressive enough that houses over a certain size had a higher rate? Anyway, when I'm driving my 2000 lb car (or my bicycle, when I dare risk a public street anymore) an SUV can be a danger, but when I'm in my house, is the twice-as-large house on the next street over an issue for me?
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #230
275. I'm sorry, but I refuse to live in a yurt.
And I am not growing strawberries on my roof. The homeowners association would be on my ass like nobody's business.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
236. And what about all the mega churches?
They get huger and huger.
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Catherine Vincent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:04 PM
Response to Original message
249. If people can afford large homes, more power to them.
I like row houses.....


country houses....


or just a plain ole shot gun house....


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poe Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #249
251. tract housing-clearcuts-homelessness-it's all connected
what i'd like to see alongside some of the photos of homes,not necessarily yours, would be some pictures of the homeless so we that we get a clear understanding at what the consequences of large houses are. we could include a pic of a clearcut or some mine tailings but of course these must be kept out of view. live simply. reenchant your everyday life with low energy solutions.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #251
259. Gotta link to prove your connection with modern housing and homelessness
If anything, the methods used by the union workers who build modern housing keeps the costs down low enough that more people can afford housing and as such, homelessness is reduced!

Sorry, but if you stopped the building of these homes, you'd put a lot of good people who are in unions out of work, and then they'd be homeless.
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poe Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #259
284. excellent housing for all-it's a right not a privilege
in a world of finite resources if some are corpulent than others will have little or nothing. does one need a link to prove the obvious.
now i am all for unions and beyond-yet i don't see where it is written in stone that union builders must build tract housing. in fact that suburban model was brought into being by a conglomerate of interests who had/have profit in mind not inexpensive elegant housing for all. been around builders all my life and they get bored stiff with the cookie cutters and most of them are rather talented and would prefer to build unique and varied structures. and the suburban model is extremely energy intensive and very expensive if you measured it in real economic terms rather than the narrow parameters of the market which omits most of the true costs. eco-nomy;eco-logy.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #284
295. I disagree completely
There is no guaranteed right to housing anywhere in our constitution.

Nowhere in our constitution is there a guarantee that everybody should have equal wealth. We are capitalists, not communists.

I've earned my housing, and hope to earn more. I started out as a renter. I've got my first home now, have been building equity for a couple of years, and expect to put that equity to work getting a larger and better house where I can build even more equity.

This is how our system works. If you don't like it you have a couple of choices. You can work to change our system over to communism, but realistically that will never happen and you will meet with great resistance.

You could also move to China, Cuba, North Korea, or Vietnam. I understand those nations still operate under a communistic economic system.
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poe Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #295
304. capitalism vs. communism-tired old refrain
capitalism and communism are parts of the same machine mentality. marx thrilled at the sight of the mass production machines. sounds like you are regurgitating the tired old horatio alger myth of america. you are right about the constitution which is nothing more than dead words on paper sanctifying the white elite rule. pretty words do not change the circumstances of the needy, enslaved and exploited. life, liberty and the pursuit of property is what the founding fathers(wealthy robber barons and slave holders) wrote and practiced. of course the system will cast all blame on those who don't "succeed" or comport as individual failures or deviants. oh yea and the american system depends on colossal banditry from other peoples lands. oh yea and the system is wiping out the life support systems of earth. humanism is a stubborn philosophy.
i challenge you to go beneath wacker ave. and feed the hungry. i challenge you to give it all up and work with your gifts in the community.
ayn rand, dinesh d'souza and these other greed is good big thinkers have polluted many minds.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #304
306. Nope, I BELIEVE in our system
and will not give up what I have EARNED!

I've been to lower Wacker. Fortunately, they've cleaned it up and you don't see the homeless down there any more.
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poe Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #306
309. set out a plate
the BIG MAN in guyana is he who accumulates the most. it is then the cultural tradition for this chief to, with the advice of the women elders, redistribute all the possessions. the most vulnerable receive first (elderly,children). here in the plastic Land of the selfish consumer it's accumulate and hoard. once you do that you need to get more. it's gross. share. another strain of affluenza has stricken the land.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #309
312. Sorry, I'm, not a communist
and believe that is not a viable social order. Histopry bears me out on this.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #259
290. It's great your house was built by union workers....
Given the large number of undocumented workers in the construction business here in Texas, I'd say that unionizing them is a fine way to integrate them into the work force. Their expectations are raised & all workers are better off.

Which specific union (or unions)?
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #290
299. I couldn't say exactly which unions all the sub-contractors used
but this is Chicagoland Illinois and if you tried to build a home using non-union labor, all hell would break loose. I imagine AFL-CIO, IBEW, etc. etc. etc. I know when I saw the various subcontractors out, I would see the AFL-CIO and IBEW stickers on the vehicles. I wasn't around when the plumbing was done, though, so I can't rightly say which union they used.

I know it's not like this all over and from the sounds of it, much of the building quality suffers as a result of it. I live in a Union built home and could not be more pleased with the quality of the craftsmanship.
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genieroze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 07:32 AM
Response to Original message
257. Well, these idiots who own these huge houses as a investment
as well as a place to live better realize That * is trying to take away the deductions for mortgage as well as property and state tax deductions.
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 08:08 AM
Response to Original message
261. I hate them too
For that reason but also because all the houses look identical to one another. In most developments in the town I live in, each house is on a very tiny lot, one or two feet from the neighbors. The house is not too huge but it takes up the whole lot. They have no character, in addition to being shoddily built. They are developing the barrier island with all kinds of McMansions, totally destroying one of the last undeveloped areas on the coast. I am personally hoping for a giant hurricane (with global warming they will become stronger and more numerous) to destroy all those stupid houses out there.
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Caoimhe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #261
298. I agree
I am tired of seeing these massive homes going up. In the 40's when we were at war and immediately thereafter, there was a huge housing boom, but the homes were small and efficient. If you have two kids you don't need more than three bedrooms, do you? I see these huge homes over 3000 sf and empty nesters living in them, heating all that space and padding around on their sound proof floors. It is silly. It is all about keeping up with the "Joneses". I have a brother in law who not only owns one of these monstrosities, but every time we see him he asks me:

1. how much I paid for my home ($75K)
2. how many square feet it is (1200 sf)
(he also asks similar questions about our vehicles)

A 1200 sf home, which is FINE for two of us and our dog. He somehow twists it into "oh you must not be doing well financially, or must not be very smart financially"

the fact is, I don't need a massive home to fulfill my ego. I tend to think those that do are probably lacking "other things" sizewise.

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lukasahero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #298
316. Trust me, hubby ain't lacking anything
See, this is the part about generalities that pisses me off. There is nothing in this post with which to rationally disagree. You don't like big homes so someone who has one must have an uncontrollable ego and is using the house to make up for their "shortcomings" while at the same time, of course, putting you down for your choices.

Give me something real to discuss with you and perhaps we can come up with a way to bridge the divide over our opinions about the size of my home.

Just because your brother-in-law is obviously an asshole who's just trying to make himself feel superior to you, doesn't mean everyone who owns a home bigger than yours looks down at you for your choices. Please don't generalize by looking down at those of us who choose differently.
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ecstatic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
302. that's what separate furnaces are for
My house is only about 1800 sq feet; but I don't have to heat the entire house at one time. I can leave downstairs cool and only heat up my room if I choose to. I believe most new houses come with at least two.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
303. One good thing about this thread ...
Who would ever have thought that a discussion of architecture, urban planning, conservation and ecology would generate 300 comments -- many of them disagreeing passionately, but almost all of them well reasoned?
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msgadget Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
319. Big houses on small lots
not only wasting energy but ruining the ground water! Some of these houses are gorgeous, with great big wrap-around porches that afford views of...what? More big-ass houses on tiny lots.

Am I the only one who thinks some of the McMansion neighborhoods look a little like trailer parks?
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Piperay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #319
320. I agree
these people don't get that even a small house has grandeur when it is on a big lot, big houses on small lots look cheap and tacky. x(
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #320
323. Couple of things about the small lots
I dislike the small lots, they need to be bigger and we are picky about what lot we will choose.

1)Subdivinding a plot of land into 80 lots instead of 40 lots means more profits for the builder.

2)Many people are looking for smaller lots so there is not as much grass to mow.

My wife and I are very willing to pay a premium for a larger lot, and expect to do so. We love gardening.
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Nile Donating Member (354 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 03:41 AM
Response to Reply #323
325. If there is not room for a garden then fugetaboutit.
Space for a decent garden should be a requirement. If somebody uses that space for other than gardening that is their own loss. Nothing more satisfying than eating fresh vegetables you have grown yourself or displaying flowers from your garden.




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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #325
332. Space for several gardens is a requirement for me!
And it must be on the south side of the house, too!

My wife loves flowers. I love vegetable gardening. We both love the idea of a Belgian Fence style Espalier of apple and pear trees.

I need a 1/2 acre lot, minimum.
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Nile Donating Member (354 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #332
336. Yes, south side is a definite plus.
A few fruit trees certainly does not hurt either.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:44 PM
Response to Original message
322. I don't get it
why do people need such big f***ing houses? Ya, probably for the same reason they "need" SUVs - they DON'T.
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fleabert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 05:07 AM
Response to Original message
330. this is a very long thread, whew.
in case no one noticed.

i have to go to bed now, that took forever.

thanks to all, great discussion and very enlightening!
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txaslftist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
333. How big do you figure John Kerry's house is? Or Ted Kennedy?
Or Howard Dean?

I mean come on. Are we all supposed to be living in grass shacks and eating tofu with our 1.5 children riding bicycles?

Get out of the commune and take a look around.
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #333
335. Funny you should ask
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txaslftist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #335
337. Thanks for the link!!!
I'll think better of Dean and Kucinich, now that I know I've got a bigger house than either of them!

LOL
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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #337
338. Yes, and we *all* have a prettier house than Kucinich! n/t
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txaslftist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #338
339. Gotta love a populist...
That's a great democratic house.
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GreenArrow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-05 03:32 PM
Response to Original message
340. McMansions -- The SUV of domestic lodging
.
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