How the Recession Gave Birth to the “McModern” Home

How the Recession Gave Birth to the “McModern” Home

“It is the indulgent, inefficient, and architecturally botched nature of the McMansion that lies beneath the sleek surface of the McModern.”
– Kate Wagner

Real estate has represented the American dream for generations, as human nature and the desire for property as a notion of success has remained relatively unchanged.  Following the housing crash in 2008, there emerged a resurgence of optimism by American home buyers in 2015, who once again desired a larger home to represent their success and showcase their financial achievements.

Although there does not exist a clear consensus with respect to the exact origin of the term “McMansion”, it had become commonplace by 2005. The increased desire for an oversized home that reflected multiple home styles, used cheaper building materials (such as vinyl siding) and ostentatious touches such as columns or grand foyers, reflected the public’s view of real estate representing social status and financial achievement.  Writers have given the McMansion different labels, such as “monster houses, starter castles, tract mansions, mega homes and garage Mahals”.

By 2015, the McMansion design was replaced by an oversized modern-style home (referred to as a “McModern”), that appealed to wealthier millennials who were attracted to its size, style and inclusion of technology within the home. However, this style of home included many features of McMansion such as cheaper construction materials, open-concept floor plans, and high-end kitchen appliances. In an age of mass home construction, the McModern home style sought to replicate the grandeur of a modernist mansion but lacked the financial resources to utilize high-end materials or an architect to design a custom home.
The McModern home design reflected the advances of technology as dining rooms, offices, and games rooms were replaced by multi-purpose rooms.  Kitchens were designed to include breakfast bars and informal eating areas, which eliminated the need for a formal dining room. Laptop computers and Smart Phones eliminated the need for an office, while video games such as the Wii and other computer systems replaced pool tables and other large gaming structures. Interestingly, a McMansion’s design was intended to impress visitors, but not appeal to human comfort.  Sally Augustin, an environmental psychologist, stated that key design features of a McMansion were not amenable to human comfort. The “typical foyer and great room are not cozy, but quite formal, due to the high ceilings”.

The cyclical nature of the demand for oversized homes reflects the mindset of consumers, and the influence of technology.  The American dream continues to reiterate the message that the larger your home is, the more successful you are.  However, it is very interesting to consider that the average size of an Australian home is still larger to that of an American home (close to 2,500 square feet), and Canadian homes being the third largest on average in the world.  You could fit 22.6 Hong Kong homes into the average Australian home, and 5.7 British houses into the typical Canadian home!

The lesson that we can learn from the McMansion and McModern style of homes is that often times it is best to purchase a home that has been built with quality products to ensure that your property investment not only lasts, but maintains its value as housing trends and styles change constantly.  Simply purchasing a home because of its size or appearance of grandeur may not be the wisest of decisions.  With over 55 years of combined real estate experience, our McCullough Team can provide you with the experience and real estate expertise to ensure that the home you buy will fit your lifestyle, needs…and your bank account.  Let us show you how.  Contact us today at 250-751-1223 or email us at and let us get you moving in the right direction.

Brian & Myles McCullough

Check out our new team video about the numerous developments in Nanaimo that we have overseen that have shaped the modern landscape of Nanaimo and area:

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