“Authentic” Philadelphia Main Line mansions ruined by McMansion interiors?

Common critiques of McMansions spend a lot of time on their exterior: the mishmash of architectural styles, the large garage facing the street, the oversized front door and windows, and the impressive front that doesn’t extend to the sides and back. But what happens if the outside of the home is an “authentic” exterior and the insides are changed to reflect more modern, perhaps McMansion-like, tastes?

Something unsettling has been happening on Philadelphia’s storied Main Line. Magnificent early 20th-century mansions, which are meticulously maintained on the outside, have had their interiors transformed to the very height of muddled McMansion style. This is no isolated incident, but a veritable epidemic among the mansions of this traditional old money bastion. For example, this 1929 stone manor in Haverford is well presented on the outside, but the interior is some post-modernish mess where the lowlights include a garish abstract area rug, a pair of hideous curved couches in the living room, and glossy black tile. The brokerbabble tells it one way—”grand old world made new”—but it looks more like grand old world messed up. Meanwhile, the high price tag, $2.9M, virtually ensures that no one will take on the challenge of restoring this country estate to its former glory…

This raises an interesting question: can a home be a McMansion just because of its interior? This is not the traditional definition of a McMansion but the criticism is along the same lines of the complaints about the exterior: it is not “authentic” and is more garish and driven by popular tastes (granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, etc.).

While the exteriors of homes can be protected by preservation districts and regulations regarding teardowns, how would those who don’t like these McMansion interiors fight against them?

And while this article suggests this is a “veritable epidemic” for older mansions like these, are there any numbers to back this up? It is unreasonable for people to update the interiors in older homes to match newer tastes?

One thought on ““Authentic” Philadelphia Main Line mansions ruined by McMansion interiors?

  1. Pingback: Defining a McMansion, Trait #3: Architecture and design | Legally Sociable

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