Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Buon Natale!

Shaw Avenue on the Hill. For those not from St. Louis, the Hill is St. Louis' Italian neighborhood known for its strong sense of community, Zoysia sod, great food and cute shot-gun houses. This one? The mansard isn't so cute, nor is the satellite dish. I do always appreciate Christmas spirit with the reindeers, lights, etc.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Joyeux Noël !

South County on Mattis Road off Tesson Ferry.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Orleans mansard avec vert trim

Another from New Orleans' Karen Gadbois, my source for awesomely bad mansards. Here's what makes this house especially bad mansarded:
  • The greenish trim
  • How the roof looks like a 7 year old girl who has cut her own bangs
  • The bizarre mansard love triangle between the doors and balcony.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How an irlandais pub does mansard

One of my mini-obsessions, the mansard sign.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Etat Street butterface

This is near Wyoming Street- Ohio? Iowa? I swore I'd remember its state intersection but I don't. Cute little house- nice color (even though many of you detest painted brick), architectural detail, window brackets, etc. But like the girl at the bar with a nice figure but an ugly face, this place is a butterface (buttermansard). I think the problem is that the cornice/bracket between the mansard and the facade is missing, making the transition between roof and wall very awkward.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hi-Way Bar

Yep- it's a mansard.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

King Louis Square

Another from the heavy handed mansards of King Louis Square, or as I like to call them, the Turd Mansards.

Isn't this a Pyramid project? What a messy mansard. Like someone chucked a charcoal briquet on top of a cheaply made 3 story and deemed it would "fit in with the architectural style of Lafayette Square and Soulard..." Yeah, right.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cosmetic Makeovers, Hannibal Edition

Today's mansard looks pretty good until you look closely- some windows are boarded and tuckpointing is desperately needed. I've written extensively about the sad state of Hannibal's historic district. There just don't appear to be enough folks in Hannibal who appreciate historic housing who have the money to rehab Hannibals' incredible housing stock.

Who's the chic? That's the new Bravo Housewife of Orange County, Alexis. Click here if you want to dumb yourself down and read more about the Real Housewives (I admit I watch). Alexis grew up in Hannibal. Clearly she's had some work done (giant boobies!). Wouldn't it be nice if as much rehab went on in her hometown.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mansard de l'électricité

Oui, this is a mansard protective covering of an electrical substation in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans. Merci graduate etudiant Matthieu!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mon coeur est triste

My heart is sad. So much is wrong here- roofing material, windows, meter by the door, paneling, Home Depot door, etc.

2511 Salena in Benton Park must be part of another property because the address does not show up in the Assessor's data base.

Looks like copper around the top. At least it hasn't been stolen.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Today I ran a bunch of errands and I was determined to find a new residential mansard. I took new routes and turned on some unfamiliar streets.

Found it! Off Laclede Station in Webster on Yale Avenue.

The best thing about this mansard is that it is by my friend J's house and she invited Gus over for a playdate. A treasure of a mansard, a treasure of a friend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I have a mild obsession with the mini-mansard. This is a two story on 13th Street in Soulard. There are two different types of 2-story Second Empires.

Houses like le mansard enfant were designed to only be two stories, thus the fancy details on the second floor roof, windows,etc.

Others are two stories only because their third stories were destroyed, likely by the tornado of 1896. Homeowners just roofed over the 3rd story flooring material and that was it. My first house in Lafayette Square had a lost 3rd story. Because the mansard is missing, the only Second Empire details remaining are the brackets and dentil work. I've said it before, but I hate the paint color the new owners picked. YUCK!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Avant and Apres

This mansard belongs to reader Mike out in the county. Didn't he do a good job replacing the roofing material and windows? Look at the bottom picture- he added dormers to the windows of the second floor. That change transformed a potentially bad mansard into a handsome mansard.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Zut alors! Part deux.

Here's another from New Orleans, courtesy of Karen Gadbois at Squandered Heritage.

I've never seen another mansard with inverted columns and frosted glass windows.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Hill

How bout them Italians? The Hill is best know for its cute shot-gun homes, St. Ambrose and great food. I am adding another feature: strong-armed architectural smushing. Here at the corner of Macklind and 44 we see a hybrid post-modern Greek Revival entry with a French 2nd Empire roofline. Reminds me of the original bad mansard on Brannon, also on the Hill, a frankenstyle of Swiss chalet, split-level modern and 2nd empire wannabe mansard.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mansards as far as les yeux can see

More from Chicago in Rogers Park, Hamilton Avenue.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Can't get there from here

This lovely is perched above Chippewa near Meramec. Someone please tell me how I can actually get up to the street upon which this house sits. I've been trying for months- Help me southsiders!

Hard to see from the distance of the custom wheels parking lot, but this mansard is a small two-story covered in jaune vinyl siding.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Certainly there is a mot Allemand

I suspect there is a German word for "multifamily unit I see everyday but never noticed its bad mansard top."  Or a yiddish word.  

This is on Castleman and I've been driving past it almost daily for six years.  Just now noticed its top.  And its bonus mansarded entry vestibule.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mansard de Orleans Nouveau!

Mes amies de Saint Louis!  Jump on a bateau and let's paddle down the Mississippi to visit New Orleans.  Thanks to Karen Gadbois who provided me with bad mansard pix around New Orleans.  She writes a great blog Squandered Heritage, CLICK HERE, about New Orlean's architecture and the struggles of post-Katrina rehabilitation and demolition.  

Karen labeled this home 'mansard with wings.'  A perfect description.  This house is the bulky maxipad of architecture.  I'm not sure there's another house like this anywhere in America.  

Thursday, October 1, 2009

sad? bad? mad?

Another from the Lost Mansards of Downtown Hannibal series.  Is that permastone on the facade?  I suspect there's a cute little house hidden under there.  

So I was talking to some Hannibal folks about the struggling state of its historic housing.  My sources tell me there just aren't enough people with the money and good taste to properly rehab downtown Hannibal.  To which I blurted out, "don't you have any gay guys?"   Evidently not.  

I told my source not to lose hope in beautiful little Hannibal.  St. Louis almost gave up on Soulard and Lafayette Square 35 years ago.  Look at these neighborhoods now, rehabbed one sad mansard at a time.  

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pardon moi

Sorry it's been a while since the last mal mansard.  Here's one on Brentwood Boulevard between Manchester and the Bi-State terminal.I took this picture after a long rain, but that doesn't explain why the back of the roof looks burned.

Where have I been?  My 20 year high school reunion was this past weekend.  Oui!  Vingt ans!  I graduated on 6-7-89 from Webster Groves High School.

As part of the reunion I hosted a party/fundraiser for a slain city police officer Bobby Stanze.  He was shot and killed back in 2000.  He too was a WGHS Class of 1989 graduate.  People paid to come here to the house for free food and beer.  We are giving the money we raised to the Friends of Bob Stanze- read about the foundation here.  

The fundraiser event was a success and the weekend reunion activities were a blast.  I went to high school with a lot of terrific, generous people.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mansard mullet

Definitely business in the front, mansard mullet party in the back.  

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mansard pour la voiture

Being a parking lot owner must be hard.  There are the obvious issues- security, maintenance, advertising and taxes.  And the more complex issues- those pesky urban preservationists who have valid-but-annoying reasons that the historic building shouldn't be knocked down to pave your crappy parking lot.  And the antitrust collusion inquiries by states' attorneys general.  Finally, can you find an attendant who won't sell crack from the booth? (see article here)

Assume you have all of those issues under control with your parking lot.  Let's say you really want your parking lot to look classy so you add a touch of 1880's Second Empire Victorian.  A mansard parking lot!  This photo is located in Alameda, California and courtesy of reader Paul at Vanishingstl.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mansard pour les dents

Webster Groves- shame on you.  This is tres mal.  And this is a recent 'development.'  Dieu only knows what got knocked down or what is under that mansard d'ugly.  Seems like every dentist's office is in a bad mansard, but those are all 1960's-1970's vintage mansard.  This is a crappy knock-off bad mansard.

Next Community Days parade I'm protesting.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mansard help!

This is 2162 Geyer in the McKinley Heights neighborhood at the intersection of Geyer and Missouri.  Waverly Place Associates (maybe affiliated with YEHS?) has owned the place since 1985.  This mansard looks to be well-secured and dry; someone seems to give a semi-shit about it.  

I think this place would be a fan-freaking-tastic if rehabbed.  Looks to be about 4000 square feet.  Nice little corner lot with part of an extra lot.  Intact cornice, brackets, molding, etc.  Anyone know more about this house or its owners?  What's with the little side door?  Sorry, J'ai plus questions than answers.  It's an intriguing grande mansard.  

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jefferson trois

The third bad mansard on Jefferson, the Jefferson Animal Clinic.  This is just south of Russell.  I've never gone here even though it is close to my house.  I drive all the way out to Millis on Hanley in Richmond Heights.   It's where we brought my childhood animals and my mom dated Dr. Rick in high school.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

J'adore Hickory

I love Hickory in Lafayette Square between Mississippi and 18th.  I *think* I've been in this house.  Unfortunately, as with some 1980's rehabs, a previous owner punched out part of the second floor to create this mezzanine type area.  Total bummer if you need the square footage.  I guess it would be easy enough to replace.  

Now that I think of it, our old house had this STUPID circular wrought iron staircase which took you to the exact same point where the front stairs took you.  We removed it and had part of the floor replaced.  It wasn't that big of a deal (structurally) but was a PITA.  By the way, vodka + wrought iron stairs = broken foot, circa 1999.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mansard d'avocat

This mansard is in downtown Hannibal.  It was a single family home rehabbed into a law office.  I took a deposition here once:  the witness was an aggressive hypochondriac accident faker.  

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mansard enfant de Soulard

A cute little baby mansard in Soulard on 12th between Gravois and Allen. I've never been too crazy about purple trim, but I'll still classify this mansard as good. School starts on the 24th and then I'll get back to bad mansards.

I've had some great reader submissions and I'm going to feature two new categories: Mansard help! (mansards that need rehab) and Unusual Mansard Uses.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sidney Street shout-out #2

Here's another great mansard on Sidney.  Mark my words:  Sidney will soon have the same hip factor as McPherson in the CWE or Park Avenue in Lafayette Square.  Sidney goes from the Mississippi River and dead ends at Grand.  Its best parts straddle Soulard and Benton Park.

This storefront recently won an award for its excellent rehab.  I think it's great:  the cute little storefront, the french blue and yellow, etc. 

The problem with Sidney:  a bunch of crap rental absentee owners plaguing Sidney between 12th and 13th.  More on that later.  I'm being positive this week.  

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mon ami P.A.K.'s house

Continuing our series on mansards that make me happy, this is the maison of my friend P.  in the Shaw neighborhood.  Of note, the eastern blocks in Shaw tend to have the older houses and therefore may have a smattering of 2nd Empire or Queen Anne Victorians.   

P. and I both started out in Lafayette Square and moved around the same time- me to Soulard and she to Shaw.  Which is ironic because her kids go to school in Soulard and my kids go to school in Shaw.   

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Un autre duo

These are some big mama mansards on Park Avenue in Lafayette Square. The folks that built these houses in the 1880's had beaucoup bucks.

Note the center hall plan with the wrapping mansard. These are not shot gun style homes that are so prevalent in Lafayette. You can walk in the front door and go left OR right. (in case you'd never thought of it, in most of the 2nd Empires, you walk in the house and access each room in a straight line)

Which one do you like better? I prefer the bleu. There is no wrong answer. Both of these houses are terrific and their owners have done a wonderful job with upkeep, paint, landscaping and mansard-ing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hanging out on the corner in Soulard

I love this corner of 12th and Russell in Soulard.  It embodies the diversity of Soulard.   The four corners are St. Joseph of Croatia Catholic Church, John McGurk's Irish pub, a retirement apartment complex and this building which used to be Clinicia, a hispanic outreach health clinic. 

La Clinicia is gone and this is now an art place.  I was originally a little skeptical of the paint colors but I love the paint job here.  Well done earthy edgy hip artist types!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Deux Semaines de Bonnes Mansards

Ete is almost over and I am wilted like mes fleurs- tired and peaked.  It's all I can do just to keep clothes clean and dinner on the table.  Trop going on!  Until les enfants start lysee on Aout 24, I am going to liven my mood by focusing on lovely mansards on the south side.  No bad mansards for a while.  They bring me down.  

First up!  Well, I guess this is almost depressing.  We may as well all pack up and go home.  This is about the most beautiful house I've ever seen in St. Louis.  None of us will ever live in a house this gorgeous.  This is the Magic Chef mansion on Russell in the Compton Reservoir neighborhood.  

I am including a picture of the water tower because 1.  it's pretty and 2.  it makes me giggle because it is so phallic.  It looks like a penis space shuttle.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Straight outta Compton- 2

A Compton Heights lovely.  My novice impression of the architectural style:  Richardsonian (stone front) meets Spanish  (tile roof) meets 2nd Empires (mansard roof).   One day people- 63104mom will pack up the badmansard husband and children and move to Compton Heights.  I wouldn't even have change my 63104mom handle.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mansard bleu

This is kind of a reverse screwed up mansard.  Usually the building itself is good and the roof is bad.  I love what happened here:  the mansard looks great, but the building is goofy.  In Kirkwood on Monroe near Kirkwood Road.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Depressing Hannibal Mansard

Hey St. Louis- you think you have problems with your old buildings going to hell? Go to Hannibal and prepare to be say "pour quoi." This is Hannibal's former federal building. Lovely cresting, tower and mansard. Built in the 1880's in the 2nd Empire Style and designed by Mifflin Bell. Read its application for National Register of Historic Places here.

This building has been mostly empty since a new federal facility was built. The courtrooms are still intact and evidently you can get a tour if you ask the right people. And, the bottom of the building is what every historic sight should have- a tacky bar. The Down Under Lounge, where according to the cheap signage, you can got to taco OR pasta night and drink some Baccardi rum.

I love Hannibal. It's a nice town with lovely buildings. Someone please help this mansard.

I would like to point out Hannibal's regular courthouse was renovated about 7 years ago and it is drop dead gorgeous. I'm not sure of the exact date of remodeling, but I do remember the dockets were moved to the courthouse in Palmyra where cell phone coverage was so spotty that I had to use the payphone on the corner. I must have looked like Palmyra's only prostitute hanging out on the corner making phone calls.

This is the dome of the Hannibal courthouse. Locals tell me the dome was covered by a drop ceiling and was relatively intact when remodeling started.

Last random thought: the Hannibal courthouse is one of the cleanest in the state. Also, it is one of the few courthouses with a ladies lounge in the bathroom with electrical outlets (in case your carrying a Medela Pump in Style).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lafayette Square

Love the color patterns in the mansard itself.  Houses on Lafayette near the Highway 44 on-ramp.  

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cinq etats!

Yes, badmansard now features the flattest rooflines from 5 states (MO, ARK, IL, WI and CA)!  My dear friend Erika recently visited from Madison, Wisconsin.  She brought with her some wonderful artisanal cheeses and this photograph of a mansard on Madison's west side.  

This mansard is quite pleasing to me.  I like the green and the alternating square/oval pattern on the roof.  

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