visions of america

‘New American Home’ Is Vulgar Monument To America’s Tacky Dreams

9,000 square feet ready to fill with the bodies of America's jobless.Nothing else legal is as evil as the American Housebuilding Industry. Pretty much everything wrong with this country — from the oil wars it fights abroad to the morally crippled exurban old people at Tea Party rallies to their unwanted adult children living in squalid fourth-ring apartment complexes on a diet of SSI and methamphetamine — can be blamed on the boom-bust construction-financing cycle of destructive, mindless residential tract cancer growths across this once-pretty nation. But even after the massive global disaster caused by the American construction/mortgage Ponzi scheme, there’s still a residential construction industry! And it is having a festival or convention or whatever, in Florida (obvs), and it is here that these awful people anointed the 8,400-square-feet single-family mausoleum you see here as the “New American Home of 2011.”

Some gross website in Houston reports:

This year’s New American Home is 8,400- square-foot concrete structure in Orlando, Fla. During a tour of the four-bedroom house last week, we searched for new ideas that would be useful for Culturemap readers in Texas. The home’s design can best be labeled “modern classical,” says the home’s interior designer Kate Clarke of Continental Interiors of Winter Park, Fla.

What’s modern classical? “It’s a transitional look between contemporary and traditional.”

[...]

The New American Home highlights an interesting design idea for luxury builders — the master bedroom hub. The central hub room is a private, windowless octagon-shaped room with comfortable seating, a fireplace and a television. Spinning off from the hub are the three “spokes” of the master suite — a gigantic walk-in closet; a large bathroom with dual showers, spa tub and a urinal; and the bedroom.

Ha, yes, this sounds very interesting. Finally, a windowless room with a television … and a urinal. If there’s a slot for the pizza delivery guy to just slide the box right there to the urinal/teevee, you’re set!

Except you’re not, of course, because this is a foul fantasy from a dead era. Some 8,400-square-foot Florida McMansion box holds little appeal for the Modern Decamillionaire Executive — try something in the 75,000-square-foot category, that’s mostly underground and built of bunker-thick concrete, because there are going to be millions of people rioting through the cities and suburbs in the coming years. [Marketwatch]

About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne
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122 comments

      1. chascates

        Grand-looking house (..the Otis Elevator delivery said "it was the longest residential piston he's ever seen.") but it's still in South Carolina!!!!

      1. UW8316154

        Oh, you beat me to it, Bitchin! My thought exactly. Which makes the other 8,000 square feet pretty unnecessary, in my mind.

  1. Come here a minute

    That urinal is a big mistake — American streams are too weak to eliminate all of our Super Big Gulp 'leftovers' before we get to wondering what we're missing on the teevee, and our legs get tired. Better to use that space for a big screen across the room from the his and her commodes. We'll never want to get up! (Or be able to.)

    1. V572625694

      Pretty sure it was a bidet, but the writer didn't know the difference. Hope he/she didn't piss in it.

        1. V572625694

          The bidet is the Cunnilinguist's Friend. Makes it all nice and sweet.________________________________________

    2. Rotundo_

      Lazyboy Recline-O-Lets for everyone!!!1!!11!!!! USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!USA!

      1. V572625694

        Must have cupholders though, and a built-in fridge. You don't want to be getting up every five minutes to get another PBR.

  2. SorosBot

    The concrete office buildings made in the 60s and 70s are ugly monstrosities enough; an actual house made of concrete sounds hideous (and looks it, based on the photo).

    1. Oblios_Cap

      Not to mention the concrete monstrosities in the workers' paradises of the old Soviet Union. No wonder they tore down that wall.

  3. sussemilch

    That might be a house, but not even Ted Williams' frozen head could call that cold box a home. What a terrible place it would be to raise children. Then again, if you had kids how the hell would you be able to afford an 8400 sq ft house?

      1. SorosBot

        No matter how many rooms, the brats would still manage to leave toys all over the floors of every one.

  4. WhatTheHeck

    Ken. you got a problem with capitalism, or sompin’?
    Its our god-given right to exploit one another.

  5. SexySmurf

    The central hub room is a private, windowless octagon-shaped room

    Sounds like the perfect place to have hobos Ultimate Fight for bottles of Night Train.

    1. sati_demise

      Or the perfect place for the drug cartel to hide the kidnapped victims until the ransom arrives.
      Sweet! And secure.

  6. Oblios_Cap

    I read 9,700 sq ft, but either way, it's too much. I have enough trouble keeping less than 2,000 sq ft in any kind of order.

    It's obvious that every american family will need one of these. I'm sure reasonable payments plans are available from a variety of lenders.

    Think of the Domestic Workers market that will open up! And just in time for indentured servitude to make a comeback.

  7. EdFlintstone

    So I should be able to flip this in a few months and make a quick and easy million, right? What could go wrong?

  8. slithytoves

    I'm a renter and from the looks of my non-existent savings account, I always will be, so suck it New American Home.

    1. Preferred Customer

      Fortunately for you, there is an apartment in the carriage house above the garage, designed to provide "income for the property." So you can do your part to directly support* someone else's dream of home ownership!

      *You are already indirectly doing this through tax deductions.

    2. SorosBot

      The place has a special suite designed specifically for kids who move back in with their parents, so if yours have money maybe you can encourage them to get it.

  9. SorosBot

    The thing, the energy efficiency and water recycling systems described would be very useful, but the designer could have come up with a house that wasn't so fucking ugly.

    Also, if the prediction of global warming and overpopulation leading to a clean water crisis comes true, that water recycling might not be enough; we may all have to start wearing stillsuits.

  10. KochFembot

    Pretty soon the Hoverounds will have a built-in poop bucket, so there will be no need for toilets (or urinals) in the New America.

    1. mereoblivion

      When I told my boat-builder not to forget the built-in poop deck, he gave me a surprisingly stern look and snarled "Abaft, ye swab!"

    2. OneDollarJuana

      The Hoverounders don't need poop buckets. They're as big as cows right now, and cows just poop wherever they are, fertilizing as they go. The circle of life.

  11. BerkeleyBear

    Second the stupidity that is the construction industry. I have sat in the same room with some large scale developers and other construction types and to a man there wasn't a worthwhile human being among them. Building big ass boxes because (especially in the Midwest and South) building costs are much easier to pad than real estate costs, using illegal labor, cheapest available product and dumbed down techniques while charging like everything is a custom built jewel.

    BTW, nothing against the illegal drywallers/fiberglass installers, et al. They work damn hard in miserable conditions. I just hate these parasite builders who make obscene profits by exploiting them and us.

    1. V572625694

      Are you saying that we don't owe America's home builders and SUV manufacturers and big-box power center operators a permanent living despoiling the landscape and consuming resources? What kind of un-American horseshit is that? Every trim carpenter from Perris Valley CA to Dulles VA hates you for saying that.

  12. crybabyboehner

    If that fancy bathroom has not one but two showers, plus a spa tub, why do they need a urinal?

    1. ttommyunger

      You will be as surprised to learn as I was that some people actually step out of the shower to take a leak, Orrin Hatch, for one.

  13. not that Dewey

    All the cool Gringo bars in Cuidad Juarez have a trough with a drain that skirts the bar, along the floor, thus eliminating the need for urinals. One can simply pee, in situ, at the bar, and not have to lose any precious moments or calories.

    I propose that all future real estate development on this scale be lined with wall-to-wall pee troughs.

    1. jim89048

      In fairness to the barkeeps, those French drain urine troughs were installed because patrons were peeing on the floor already.

    2. 4TheTurnstiles

      In Reno, Nevada, US&A, the hard core will "diaper up" before a night at Circus Circus, so that you never have to leave your seat at the Texas Tex and his Armadillo from Amarillo slot machine…

      and these aren't just the elderly.

      In fairness, the desserts are still pretty good at the Eldorado, but the rest of Casinotown is a PIECE OF CRAP.

  14. KochFembot

    Phoenix, AZ had a big overbuilding problem. Now many neighborhoods are empty and no one wants to buy houses in those neighborhoods.

    Solution: build more houses!!

    This country is so fucking great I can't stand it.

  15. coolhandnuke

    Finally, a windowless room with a television … and a urinal. If there’s a slot for the pizza delivery guy to just slide the box right there to the urinal/teevee, you’re set!
    …..Go away I'm 'bating.

  16. SayItWithWookies

    You know who I want influencing America's taste? Some jackdoodle who thinks if a breakfast nook is good and a kitchen island is good, why not jam one into the other and create something doubleplusgood?

    1. Katydid

      Whoa. A ridiculous fight recently broke out in the comments over there. One person named "elementaryteacher" wondered how long it would take her/him to afford the house, and some guy named "FairnessMan" shot back with this:

      As an over pampered, overpaid, over perked, over pensioned, greedy, arrogant, lazy, ungrateful public parasite you should be able to afford it by the time you retire in your early 50's. In many areas of Amerika, such as here in NJ, you easily have a $100K+ salary, free lifetime health care, a very handsome pension. Excuse me while I go and cry for you. No teacher, cop, etc. should ever cry where people with real jobs and a fraction of your goodies can read it, especially since we suckers pay for it.

      Um, can we guess where FairnessMan gets his "news?"

      1. UW8316154

        FairnessMan sounds a wee bit bitter about those fancy teachers and their massive salaries….Not at the banking industry that fucked this country but good with the real estate bubble and CDO's – no, Fairnessman is pissed at the teachers.

  17. Barbara_i

    What, no nipple jets? My husband's shower has strategically placed nipple jets and I can't figure out what the hell they are for. I just googled "shower jets" hoping for a photo to show ya'll and it took me to a page that says Farve likes to show his weiner, yuck!

    Oh well, if I ever breakdown and let my sister Nancy visit, she'll be able to rinse the shaving cream off. *snicker*

    1. V572625694

      Men have nipples too, ya know. And they like a little, uh, washing once in a while. Although not the way the nether regions like a good spray

      1. Barbara_i

        My husband thanks you for pointing that out to me. It's 6:00 AM here and I just turned to him and said, "V said men have nipple buds too" and he chuckled. Then he asked, "what else did they say?"

  18. blinky_twinkie

    Can we PLEEEEEEZE just give the country back to the Indians and all start living in tipis? I'm happy to forgo indoor plumbing just to see Bristol Palin's face when she realizes that just because "teepee" rhymes with "peepee" doesn't mean it's actually the toilet.

    1. MsQuasimodo

      We broke, trashed, and nearly killed the damn place. The Injuns don't want it back. The Pottery Barn rule!

    1. Katydid

      I got a Kindle for Christmas, and I'm not liking it as much as I thought I would. There's nothing like getting a new (or even used, but new-to-me) book. Somehow, it's just not the same.

  19. BlueStateLibel

    You know what's worse? Ripping down small, but solidly constructed charming older homes for ugly mcmansions with lopsided shingling, which somehow wind up just 10 feet from the road. If you're going to spend all that dough, why build it even closer to the road? Is it so more people can see it and know you've got *&#* for brains?

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      And building them so close together that you and your next-door neighbor can play cards from your bathroom windows.

    1. BarryOPotter

      Seriously. Where's the missus 'sposed to park her 6 ginormous SUVs? Outside? Does it, at least, come with valet parking?

  20. SayItWithWookies

    Nothing shouts "great idea!" like a wine rack accessible via a rolling ladder. It's like a sobriety-inducing torture game for the clumsy. Just switch 'em with the bookshelves okay? It's not like anyone living in this neoclassical garbage heap is gonna be doing a whole bunch of reading.

    1. not that Dewey

      You need to host a show on HGTV, my dear. You'd be like the Anthony Bourdain of home improvement.

  21. jim89048

    This is why I built my virtual refrigerator box dwelling under 700 sqft. No room for company, no need for domestic staff, and if I even had any offspring, they wouldn't be tempted to move back in with dear old Dad.

  22. Extemporanus

    Luxury Home Builder: "The master bedroom is a hendecagon. Look, right across the board, hendecagon, hendecagon, hendecagon, and…"
    Luxury Home Buyer: "Oh, I see. And most master bedrooms are an octagon?"
    Luxury Home Builder: "Exactly."
    Luxury Home Buyer: "Does that mean it's larger? Is it any larger?" 
    Luxury Home Builder: "Well, it's three larger, isn't it? It's not an octagon. You see, most buyers, you know, will be paying for an octagon. You're in an octagon here, all the walls up, all the walls up, all the walls up…you're in an octagon in your home. Where can you go from there? Where?"
    Luxury Home Buyer: "I don't know." 
    Luxury Home Builder: "Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?" 
    Luxury Home Buyer: "Put in a hendecagon."
    Luxury Home Builder: "Hendecagon. Exactly. Three larger."
    Luxury Home Buyer: "Why don't you just make the octagon larger and make the octagon be the top number and make that a little larger?" 
    Luxury Home Builder: [pause] "These have a hendecagon."

  23. stickscalhoun

    My favorite is this comment, responding to a teacher pondering how long they'd have to work to buy it:

    As an over pampered, overpaid, over perked, over pensioned, greedy, arrogant, lazy, ungrateful public parasite you should be able to afford it by the time you retire in your early 50's. In many areas of Amerika, such as here in NJ, you easily have a $100K+ salary, free lifetime health care, a very handsome pension. Excuse me while I go and cry for you. No teacher, cop, etc. should ever cry where people with real jobs and a fraction of your goodies can read it, especially since we suckers pay for it.

  24. CrankyLttlCamperette

    Oh, Ken, how you warm the cockles of my heart! I used to work for these folks (until they downsized me, because of the economy, you know) and you don't know how spot-on you are…

  25. OneYieldRegular

    I'll be lucky if I ever get to move out of my 700 sq. ft. apartment on Mediterranean Avenue and, without going directly to jail, make it to a 725 sq. ft. place on Baltic Avenue.

  26. Jerri

    Not today kids, Momma's in her carpeted, windowless, pronged hub drinking boxed wine and trying to remember where she put the "Ys" and "GHs" in all your fucking stupid names.

    Gross. Ugh. All I want is a nice little 2-3 bedroom post-war GI Bill built brick home like my grandma had, or maybe a ranch, or bungalow, with some ceramic tile in the kitchen & bath that hasn't been completely ruined by idiots trying to "update" their decor with ugly fake italian style tiles, and a fenced in yard for the dog. But as I am a poor, I am relegated to merely renting upper duplexes in said homes and pretending not to see the terrible updates people have put in these once cute and sturdy homes.

    1. UW8316154

      I've got one of those! A 3 bedroom brick number in Seattle. It's all original, too, because I cannot figure out how to improve on the wonderful kitchen tile and hardwood flooring that it came with. Well, I upgraded windows. It was going to be a "starter" house, but honestly, I hope I die in this little house. It's all a person needs.

    2. MsQuasimodo

      I'm used to living in single rooms or studio apts. I aspire to a small one-bedroom apt. with the next job. My dream house would be one of these cute little 1920s-1930s one-story California bungalows.
      Realistically, I could wind up in Plowmom's expansive refrigerator box (comment below).

  27. Plowmon

    My next home will likely be an expansive refrigerator box overlooking rats fucking in some rancid trash…

  28. __kth__

    I could see an 8400 ft^2 house if you have a lot of houseguests. Like you're Fred Durst or Antoine Randel-El or whoever. But the typical John Galt who buys one of these things has his finger on the safety of his Glock as he looks through the peephole, on the semi-weekly occasion that someone rings his doorbell.

  29. V572625694

    Are you saying that we don't owe America's home builders and SUV manufacturers and big-box power center operators a permanent living despoiling the landscape and consuming resources? What kind of un-American horseshit is that? Every unemployed trim carpenter from Perris Valley CA to Dulles VA hates you for saying that.

    1. Jukesgrrl

      Naw, she'll hold out for one that's one square foot bigger and one dollar more expensive than the one Elizabeth had (100 acres, 28,000 sq. ft., $6.75 million).

    2. Jukesgrrl

      Naw, she wants one that is one square foot bigger and $1 dollar more expensive than the one Elizabeth had (100 acres; 28,000 sq. ft., and $6.75 million).

  30. not that Dewey

    I take it that Spring Garden St. in Phille is *not* like Rush/Division Sts in Chicago. If it were, that trough would have been tried hundreds of times just last weekend.

    1. SorosBot

      Having lived in both cities, both areas attract lots of hipster types but you can actually see black people around Spring Garden.

      1. not that Dewey

        Granted, it's been awhile since I lived in Chicago, but at the time, Rush St was basically an extended Frat House/Girls Gone Wild set. As Jim pointed out above, they were "peeing on the floor already" (if we're lucky).

        O/T: I had the privilege of watching, from 23 floors above, these brainless morans set fire to taxicabs on the streets below because the Bulls had won a game. It made me proud to be an American.

  31. Golfing_OJ

    "unwanted adult children living in squalid fourth-ring apartment complexes"

    Pass the fucking peanuts already, someone.

      1. mereoblivion

        Good to know. No way I'm gonna walk anywhere, living in that dump. I'll have servants do my walking for me. So why did I ask? I can't remember. My servants do my remembering for me.

  32. problemwithcaring

    Ooh! I think Ken hurt the Culture Map people's feelings with his throwaway "gross website" comment. If any CultureMap people are reading, I want to say that your website, while indeed gross, is no more or less gross than say, the Huffington Post. And Ken possibly agrees. (Or he may be banhammering me at this very moment, possibly.)

  33. ttommyunger

    You will think I'm jiving, but if I ever find myself single again-no more houses, apartments, rooms or the like. I've got the gear, the knowhow and the attitude. Stealth Camping all the way across the Country, by motorcycle. I am so sick of furnace filters, throw rugs, utility bills, dryers, roofs and yards I could just shit!

    1. UW8316154

      Call me when you get to Seattle, Tommy, you can take a shower at my place and I'll have a nice dinner ready for you.

      1. ttommyunger

        Very generous (and trusting) of you. I plan (pipe dream?) to take in your neck of the woods and then down Hwy 1 along the coast to the Southern Border. Considering the annual rainfall in your area, all I'll need is some privacy and a bar of soap for the shower, but the home-cooked meal sounds inviting. If you provide a number/name, I promise I will file it, back it up and have it ready if and when that happens. Been thinking about Appalachian trail for starters (North to South); that will take the better part of a year if any of it comes to fruition. Thomas (Tommy) Unger-ttommyunger@mac.com, 404 372 9907.

    2. MsQuasimodo

      Lotsa people are doing that along the CA coast – many here in San Diego. The weather is compatible with car- or van-living. You can find places to park and be pretty inconspicuous. Just have a gym membership, a cell phone, laptop, and way to get mail. You don't need many possessions. Just a relatively comfortable van to sleep in – many of them were/are made for overnight camping already. There are many homeless people who live this way and who blend in with "normal" society.

      1. ttommyunger

        I do want to experience so much of America I did not take the time to see or appreciate fully when I was too young and dumb to do so; i.e. I would not be staying in one locale more than a few days.

  34. MinAgain

    Modern classical. Another oxymoron in the tradition of military intelligence, peacekeeper missile, and athletic scholarship.

  35. bumfug

    Call me cynical but an 8400 sq. ft. concrete building with a windowless panic-cell sounds like a shower room at Auschwitz.

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