Sunday, April 26, 2009


Isn't this green little mansard in Benton Park cute? The door jamb and rear view mirror belong to my Sienna van.  The kids are so sick of me slowing down, opening the window and taking a picture of a mansard.  "Mom!  That is so dorky!  Stop!  Why do you keep taking pictures of houses?"

Well kids, that's how I amuse myself:  Mansards, and the snarky faux-French comments I write.  I guess it's better than drinking, drugging, gambling or compulsive shopping.  

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quelque part en France F. Mansart roulement dans sa tombe*

The monstro-mansards apartment complexes at 55 and Union are legendary (in my mind anyway).  Reader/Brownie leader/electrical contractor superstar Emily was kind enough to send me the icing on the gateau:  La rue s'appelle Mansard. That's like naming your street "Gabled" or "Hipped."  Somewhere a French dude named Mansart is rolling in his grave.

Merci Emily!  

*I know this sentence has at least one error.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

zut alors!

This seems so wrong when viewed from the side.  It feels dirty.  

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Parc de Foret du Sud-est

Cute little mansard in Forest Park Southeast neighborhood.  

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rien! No good mansards in Webster Groves.

It should be disclaimed my husband and I both grew up in Webster so that makes us experts in its architecture.  I feel confident stating there are no good mansards in WG.  100% of Webster's mansards are tres mal.  Here is one to get us started at the intersection of Gray and the BNSF tracks.  

Fellow statespeople:  If you know of a good mansard in Webster, I'd love to see it.  I'm going to drive through Webster Park and look- I think there are a couple back there.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bad Mansard avec colour

Mansards like this are fairly frequent- roofing shingles on a "cap" perched atop the front of a building.  This one is located near reader Bridgett I believe.  

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Old Warson Mansard

When I close my eyes and try to recall my first bad mansard, my mind travels to St. Mary Magdalen softball games played in the early 1980's near this mansard.   My lack of softball prowess relegated my to the outfield, thus giving me a lot of time to think and stare at ugly mansards.  I told myself then:  "I will never live in a mansard that ugly."  

This mansard is adjacent to the quarry on Old Warson and straddles the municipalities of Rock Hill and Ladue.   This house and its awkward twin sit almost on the field.  Bad Mansard was at a precarious intersection:  baseball field, road, quarry.  (*does anyone remember when there was a huge fire at the quarry?  We got a bunch of booze and went to watch).

Old Warson Mansard is seared in my brain.   Some people remember a traumatic first day or school or walking in on their parents having sex.  Not me- I remember the first time I ever saw a bad mansard. 

NOTE: How weird is that?  The mansard from River des Peres (above profile) looks a lot like the Old Warson mansard.  Perhaps the same designer worked his magic in South City and again on Old Warson.

5 mile Paques Vigil Run

This is one of my favorite runs.  Very nice this evening- all the churches were readying for Easter Vigil.  Here are directions in case you want to recreate my "Big Ass Beautiful Church Run."  Only in St. Louis can you run by 7 Catholic churches in 5 miles.  And I could have hit more with St. Raymonds and St. Mary of Victories (that's a 6 mile run).  Start somewhere on 12th Street and Soulard and run north.

St. Joseph Croatian at 12th and Russell.  We love our Croatian friends.  Merge onto Tucker.
St. John Nepomuk.  We love Czechs too!  Turn right on Park.
St. Vincent de Paul.   Check out VIncentian Press for your religious goods needs. Run behind the church to the foot bridge that takes you back into Soulard behind the Farmers' Market.  You'll see Trinity Lutheran (baptismal font below) and Sts. Peter and Paul on 8th.  Trinity and Peter/Paul join to operate a homeless soup kitchen and shelter.  Peter/Paul is my secondary parish.  Wonderful people, but they struggle with membership.  My idea?  The place is HUGE and very German in history.  How about a kindermass on Saturdays?  Just an idea.  My parish is so crammed with kids it would be nice to share our fortune with a struggling parish.  Back to the run...

Continue South on 8th to Utah near the brewery, turn right on Utah to St. Agatha's.  It's now the Polish parish until St. Stan's can be straightened out.  It used to be Latin until that was moved to St. Francis de Sales.  I liked it better at St. Agatha's- it was more, dare, I say, approachable.  I have no idea where the Coleman BBQ pit came from.  From St. Agatha, get to Arsenal near the brewery and take it all the way into Benton Park to St. Francis de Sales, now Latin, used to be Hispanic.  Tower is leaning and needs repair.  

From St. Francis de Sales, turn right on Jefferson to Sidney.  Make a right on Sidney past St. Agnes (no longer in use, closed some time in late 80's/early 90's).  Could someone PLEASE rehab St. Agnes into a house or lofts?  It's been empty for so long and it is sad.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Jumeau (twin)

This Lafayette Square house on Lafayette is the twin mansard of mon mansard.  Non, the houses look nothing alike.  However, each was rehabbed by City Lights/Randy Middeke, city rehabber extraordinaire.  

I was able to view this house prior to it going on the market.  The interior color palette, bathrooms, fixtures and finishes were exactly like mine.  Which is a good thing because my house rocks.  

If you plan on rehabbing a city house, or even just need help with a kitchen, bath or room, call Randy.  He is the best in the area.  Honest, excellent craftsmanship, attention to detail, historically appropriate renovations.  Here is his website with some amazing before and after pictures, many of which are ma maison.  CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ce qui est ceci? En anglais: WTF?

I've been staring at this one for a while.  What is it?  Does it even qualify as a mansard?  This recently constructed 2-family is on Flad near Klemm and its owners live in Chicago.  

As best I can tell, it's like a concrete pre-form mansard.  Here's what I hate about it in no particular order:  
  • roof
  • stairs
  • balcony
  • where are the curtains?
  • hate the windows
  • shrimpy immature landscaping
  • putty color
  • no window sills
  • doors- brown, ugly, teeny tiny window with teeny, tiny light fixtures
Say, that reminds me- when you live in these Big Old House Neighborhoods (BOHN's), please adjust your landscaping, lighting, pots, etc to scale!  Otherwise your accessories get swallowed up.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Jacques dans le Box- Je suis l'etudiante.

I want to know more about the 'architect' at Jack in the Box and how he determined how heavy-handed his use of the mansard would be.  As you can see, the mansard on the left at Kingshighway/Chippewa is more severe than its cousin at Gravois/Russell.  Did he have a drinking problem?  A love/hate relation with the mansard?  Did he (or she) get called out for being crazy enough to go 50-50% on the roofline proportion and subsequently lighten up?  Or did he start with the style on Gravois and progress to the 50/50 roof, just like a drug addict gateways from pothead and to heroin addict?

Or, more likely, the Gravois Jacques didn't start as a Jacques.  By the way, did we all know Gravois actually means Road to the Dump in French?  That's true.

Re: Gravois- I've lived in St. Louis for most of my life and it wasn't until a few years ago I really got comfortable with Gravois, which is confusing as it meanders on a weird diagonal and has so many jaywalkers that I deem it the official Frogger of St. Louis streets.