New alternative to McMansions: “post-recession houses”

A number of builders and architects have proposed alternatives to the McMansion but I recently ran into another term: “post-recession houses.” Here is a description of what such homes are about in Tennessee:

Powell expects houses in the Village section, which will range from 2,800 to 3,400 square feet, to appeal to young families and to older couples who are downsizing.

There, Woodridge Homes is building what company founder Lloyd Craig describes as the “post-recession house” with less square footage than the McMansions that were once popular but with high-quality finishes.

“The recession made all of us realize that more is not necessarily better. Bigger is not necessarily better,” said Craig.

Woodridge’s homes will feature open floor plans that combine the kitchen, dining and living spaces. They will also have walk-in storage, island “breakfast bars” in the kitchen, luxurious master baths and outdoor living spaces.

“People can buy a $375,000 house and have the same amenities as an $800,000 house,” he said.

The “bigger is not better” idea has been popular in recent years. However, two things work against this idea of a “post-recession house” in these new homes:

1. These homes are still larger than the average new American home which is around 2,500 square feet. So while these are not huge houses, they are still larger than normal. Families moving into these homes are still going to have plenty of space.

2. The homes are still going to be luxurious. While they won’t be as large as McMansions, they will still be well appointed. Again, people living in these houses are going to have plenty, though it will come in a smaller size.

To me, it sounds like the idea that these are “post-recession” means they will be slightly smaller and yet won’t skimp on the nicer features. The same critiques that are sometimes leveled at McMansions, that they are bigger than necessary and are about showing off wealth, could still be aimed at these new houses. (Plus, the homes are in a gated community with more expensive homes and nice features such as LED streetlights and a saltwater neighborhood pool.) Is this much of a change? Perhaps we could change the term for the homes to “less obvious McMansions”?

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