Don’t Order a McMansion – Go Custom

Don’t Order a McMansion – Go Custom

When areas grow quickly, entire neighborhoods can seem to appear out of nowhere. When expediency is a stronger motivator than customization and design, it can lead to communities that are built to please many instead of homes created to match individual needs and tastes. In North Raleigh and Wake Forest, a building boom has led to the proliferation of communities full of these “one-for-all” home designs.

You may have heard them being called “McMansions” in some circles, and when you dig into what that means, you can quickly create an informed pros and cons list for mass-produced communities versus those committed to custom design based on their homeowners.

What is a McMansion anyway?

A McMansion plays on the idea of one of the world’s most popular fast food restaurants: McDonald’s. The restaurant is focused on production and efficiency rather than flavor and quality, and a McMansion is often similarly focused on production rate and efficiency rather than individuality and quality.

You may be asking if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t one family’s McMansion just another family’s dream home? Maybe! But, some objective and noticeable characteristics drive architecture enthusiasts nuts about these structures. If you are considering purchasing one of these McMansions, there are considerations to keep in mind before signing on the dotted line:

They are mass produced

When you order a Big Mac, part of what makes it great is the familiarity. The one you order in Rolesville will be just like the one you had in Durham last week. But, with houses, a neighborhood with identical (or strikingly similar) cookie-cutter homes lining the streets can be overwhelming and lead to lower quality builds where construction workers cut corners out of familiarity.

They use middle-to-lower-end materials 

Another thing about McDonald’s you may have noticed is the quality of the ingredients is not always the top of the top. They fill their roles, check a box, and get the job done. That’s what a McMansion’s materials do, too. The finishes may seem big and “fancy” at first glance, but the wood, stone, tile and other elements are very likely not the same quality you’d find in a home of true and lasting excellence.

Eclectic architecture

This is where the McDonalds metaphor breaks down. While the Big Mac brings together a bunch of disparate elements into one comprehensive whole, a McMansion is more like trying to mix a bunch of genres of music haphazardly. If your son likes rock, your daughter pop, and your spouse classical music, it will take a great deal of care to mix those to create a unified sound that all enjoyed. McMansions often combine elements of multiple architectural styles in ways that pain experts. There may be various siding types, columns holding up nothing, needlessly complicated roof pitches, poor use of trim, and other less than ideal finishing touches that cannot be changed before building.

Bad use of space

A defining characteristic of the McMansion (and of mansions in general) is square footage. The difference between a large home with class and one without centers around how the larger footprint of the house is used. It should come together to feel usable and coherent for the homeowner’s everyday life. If there is an enormous, uninviting great room and a massive atrium that doesn’t tie in well with the rest of the home, you may have just walked into a McMansion.

What you’ll get with a custom home instead

Instead of combining a bunch of random design elements that won’t complement each other, a professional custom home designer will sit down and go through all the things you have in mind, with a goal of creating a home with class and personalization. Instead of choosing a McMansion that may not meet all your needs, work with a custom home builder to create your paradise in Raleigh.

Winslow Homes is an experienced custom home builder for the northern Triangle area.

We cover Wake Forest, Rolesville, Youngsville, Wendell, Durham, North Raleigh, Oxford and other surrounding areas. Wake Forest Weekly, our local newspaper, has rated us their “Best of the Best” homebuilder for three years running for a reason. We’re good at what we do, and that is building beautiful custom homes. Don’t order a McMansion, call us today at 919-556-4700 and get started on making your custom dream home today.


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