The McMansion is a large home guilty of allowing homeowners to feel and flaunt their wealth while showing their lack of taste.
Incompetent architects break every architectural rule to create a Frankenstein monster that is appealing to those impressed by the grandeur.
The following excerpt is taken from the Wikipedia definition of McMansion:
…mix multiple architectural styles and elements…multiple roof lines, unnecessarily complicated massing…producing a displeasingly jumbled appearance. The builder may have attempted to achieve expensive effects with cheap materials, skimped on details, or hidden defects with cladding…
Sold to “parvenu” – those having new money but lack the necessary refinement. The definition of parvenu on Wikipedia references Molly Brown survivor of the Titanic – who went from rags to riches overnight. (See the movie “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” starring Debbie Reynolds).
Semi traditional pieces of architecture are stitched together randomly. Most people probably can’t explain exactly what is wrong with the McMansion because there are just enough traditional pieces of architecture on the building to make it look vaguely traditional at first glance just as Frankenstein looked vaguely human at first.
I would like to introduce you to a great website called McMansion Hell 101 .
This site is extremely informative for it shows and explains the design problems with McMansions which the reader can then apply to any house to better recognize or prevent these problems. Topics such as entries, roofs, columns, windows, etc. are covered in detail. Great information for those considering new construction. Owners of historic homes can also better appreciate and understand their architecture.