Architectural features that are stupid or ugly

I drove by one of the few new houses in my neighborhood today. It has a couple of architectural features that I think are stupid or ugly.

Long, curving driveway. It would be merely pretentious if we didn’t get snow here. But it’s stupid, because some poor bastard has to shovel it. It must make it less straightforward to get between the garage and the street, too, which is what a driveway is for.

Those little octagonal windows. The 80’s called, they want their windows back. And why were ugly things so popular in the 80’s, anyway? What were we all thinking?

Any kind of non-water-resistant flooring in kitchens or bathrooms. Hardwood flooring in my kitchen, I’m looking at YOU. Water spills in kitchens and bathrooms, and doesn’t always get wiped up right away. It’s a fact of life. So why on earth would you use any kind of flooring that gets damaged by water?

Bowl sinks.

Hate hate hate hate HATE HATE HATE. Also they’re impossible to clean.

I also am not fond of putting gigantic mirrors everywhere to make stuff look bigger. You often see this in bedrooms (a sliding closet door will have a full-height mirror on it, for example.) But the worst was at a relative’s house: their tiny front-hall half-bathroom was fully mirrored, floor-to-ceiling, on every wall. Just what I need, infinite reflections of myself taking a piss.

Onion Domes

McMansion “lawyer foyers”- the big two story entry hall with the huge windows. In addition to being pretentious (they’re often on houses that aren’t nearly as big or as well built as they’re meant to look) but they allow little privacy, are a nightmare to decorate, add a fortune to the heating and cooling bill, and waste enough space to raise cattle.

Why are the washer/dryer connections in so many houses located in or off of the kitchen- where people don’t usually get dressed or undressed- instead of where the bedrooms are and people do dress and undress?

A personal taste thing I’m aware, but am I the only person who hates granite counters? I also think for all the talk of “they’ll be here through the next Ice Age” that they’re trendy and could well be looked upon like formica paneling to homebuyers in 2016.

Kitchen Islands.

Yeah, I’m aware I’m going against the stream here but I had to say it. I would never have such a thing in my house. Yes, they are all the rage, add to resale value, yada, yada. Still wouldn’t have one, thanks anyway.

I don’t know about your house, but the kitchen, is one of the busiest rooms, in mine. Especially that triangle created by the fridge/stove/sink. The idea that putting something smack in the middle of that triangle and activity strikes me as complete utter foolishness. I do not need something to walk around whenever I cross the kitchen. Yuck!

I read somewhere that those actually have a purpose. They’re good at keeping snow from accumulating on a roof. That might be a practical consideration for buildings in a snowy climate like Russia.

And why has it taken till now for somebody to figure out that a washer/dryer on the same level of the house as the bedrooms might be a good idea? Anybody who’s carried laundry up or down stairs knows it sucks.

“Architectural features that are stupid or ugly”


The ornamentation and appellations of dingbats:

My dingbat, of renown throughout the Southland: “The Lovely Living Arms.”

Regardless they’re ugly. Any steep roof lets the snow slide off.

Wow, that is an odd one. My island, and most of those I have seen, are in a perfect place to make cooking easier. The fridge, stove and sink are accessible without walking around the island and it is in easy reach so you can set stuff from all three places on the island without any problems. There is so much extra, easily usable counter space that I would hate not having the island. Plus all the extra storage rocks.


  • Texas stars.

  • On houses built in the 1950s, decorative silhouettes on garages in the shape of crowns, tridents, space age satellites, chevrons, and the like. The worst: the “ye olde coloniale” horse and carriage silhouette.

  • Around here, the replacement of original wooden porch and stair railings with decorative metal. Supposedly it’s very prevalent around here because the majority of contractors are Italian-American.

  • Insulbrick or “ghetto brick”. It survives on many structures 50 years after it was no longer available.

  • Snout houses; projecting, visually dominant attached garages.

  • Prefabricated metal buildings. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

Yeah, the one in my house pretty much sucks.

Oh my goodness, yes!! When I was growing up, the aunt I was closest to (emotionally, I mean) had one of those old “railroad” houses in Baltimore city. All the bedrooms were upstairs. The bathroom was huge, and she had her washer and dryer in there. Brilliance. Sheer brilliance!

Given how many people who live in my area have to trudge their clothes to the laundromat, I feel grateful just to have a washer and dryer in my apartment, but the fact that it’s down a steep set of stairs does not warm the cockles of my heart!

Stucco. I don’t know what the fuck it’s for, it looks like shit, and I hate the fact that it’s all over my house. Good luck finding a non-wooden house in Florida without it, though. Also, popcorn ceilings, for much the same reason, though I suspect they have an insulating effect.

Stucco is bad. Popcorn ceilings are worse.

Oh, btw, my entire apartment, except for the kitchen and a small entryway by the front door is carpeted. Including the bathrooms. Who the hell carpets bathrooms?? :smack:

You are not the only one. That is exactly what my husband and I think.

The ornamentation of them? Shit, the building form itself is one of the most hideous ever created. Among other things, they’re an epitome of car-based, as opposed to human-based, design. The entire ground level is for motor vehicles, and forms a kind of zone of alienation between private home and public streetscape. They embody contempt for both occupant and passerby.

Contrast with, say, plazas and gardens and colonnades and porches, various transitional forms that bind together spaces on each side.

A living neighborhood cannot be assembled of dingbats, and they degrade existing neighborhoods if introduced.

I’ve seen dingbats in California. They’re even dumber there. A first floor with few and widely spaced supports is NOT what you want under you if there’s going to be an earthquake.

Here’s one that wasn’t really ugly and wasn’t stupid for maybe 10-15 years- built-in milkboxes. One little door about a foot square opens on the outside of a house, revealing an insulated box. The box opens from the inside also. The neighborhoods I’ve seen them in couldn’t have been built too long before milkmen became extinct.

You know…complete with half-columns (which support nothing).
A house built in the 20th century shouldn’t look like a Greek temple.
Also carriage lamps-like the ones that adorned coaches 200 years ago.