Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mansard Maintenant!

Another from Dan who writes this house was part of the "Mansard NOW!" movement in Chicago.  This one is somewhat visually interesting with the windows on all sides and side entry.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jefferson Une

Lots of bad mansards on Jefferson.  Combien?  4.  Here is the first at Russell and Jefferson. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day. Have a bier pour moi a la Anheuser Busch Mansard

This is newish construction.  The mansard is a little awkward, but note the copper trim on the top and bottom of the roof.  I find this commitment to detail:
  • Impressive because the copper hasn't been stolen yet
  • Strange because this is an office on a truck lot
  • Not entirely surprising:  A-B is an ideal corporate neighbor and maintains amazing architecture, landscaping, safety and lighting. 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dos de Mansard de Rue Lafayette

This is the backside of a Lafayette Square mansard on Lafayette.  Lovely, isn't it?  This was the backdrop of a birthday party/BBQ I recently attended (I was in the neighbor's backyard).  Note the mansard and brackets wrap around the side and back of the house.  

Most St. Louis 2nd Empires feature the decorative roof and bracket only on the front of the house facing the street.   I suspect the original Victorian homeowners of this maison could afford to show off with the all-the-way-around expense of the roof/bracket combo.  

I appreciate that 125 years later I was able to enjoy their hard work and money spent at a nice Memorial Day party drinking beer and watching kids play.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


This is my garden and it has very little to do with bad mansards.  I usually post stuff like this on my 63104mom tumblr but it's hard to upload multiple images on tumblr.  I was a garden downer earlier this season.  "I don't even's an ugly mess....just rip it all out and let's put down tacky red foamy mulch."  A weekend with pruning shears and a shovel made a big difference.  Once the flowers start going I feel rewarded and motivated.  Also rewarding:  compliments from the neighborhood folks (who have tremendous gardens) and drivers slowing down to take a look.    Here is the standard purple palace coral bell with pachysandra (spurge)

Full disclosure:  I grew up in the horticulture business.  My uncle David owns Sherwood's Forest, your source for big trees and awesome perennials.

It would seem I have a thing for hostas and heuchera (coral bells).  About hostas:  divide those mothers up!  I split mine frequently.  Part the leaves (just like you'd part your hair) and split it in half.  I like a Henckels bread knife for cutting the rootball.  Replant the other half wherever you'd like a new hosta.

I also have a thing for boutique Japanese maples.  The top Jap is a standard upright, but the one on the bottom is a pinkish Full Moon (I think that's what it's called, but that's also the name of sushi so maybe I've confused myself.)  I have a groovy little Lion's Head Japanese Maple, but it looks weird right now.  Needs a pruning to address some winter deadness.

The sweet yellow flower is a Missouri Primrose- aka Ozark primrose (Onagraceae?)  Don't confuse the Missouri primrose with the borderline-weed-but-I-love-it-anyway Mexican primrose a few photos down (oeneothera?,  growing out of my sidewalk).

I have three colors of Knock Out shrub rose.  The light pink types looks great in the spring but the petals bleach out mid-summer to look dirty white.  Buy the darker pinks for better color. Cut this beast back almost to the ground.  Frequently

Bracken Beauty.  Hardy to zone 5 if protected from northern winds.  Phallic?

The combo to the left is a Maidenhair fern, cranberry impatien and hosta.  I dig the cranberry impatiens.  Color snob/Pantone junkie husband John describes it as "Rotamine Red."  It works for us- red enough to look red, but not so red that it won't go with pink.

Carrying on with the shade garden is a Japanese painted fern, Ostrich fern and begonia.  In 10 years of gardening, this is the FIRST time I've ever been successful with a fern.  The key:  put them near a water source away from dog traffic.

Totally love the Chocolate coral bells with the lime hosta.  This pair sits under a tree on the sidewalk.  I've seen many dogs pee on these two and they seem just fine.

Fuschia Peony, Miz-zou pansies, Mexican primrose, Knock-out Bleach-out rose, Allium (member of the onion family- I love these bulbs).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Los Angeles

I've dispatched husband John to find bad mansards when he is out of town on bit-ness.  This leaning mansard was the best he could do.  Not too bad, but certainly there is a worse mansard somewhere in LA?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

BiState Curious has reached across the Mississippi River into Lincoln land in search of bad mansards.   Astute reader Dan who authors What my Kid's Art Says (click here) found a flock of bad mansards perched on Hamilton Avenue in Rogers Park.  Go read Dan's blog(s).  Dan is funny, friendly, smart and has quite an eye for mal mansards.

Who knew there were garages des mansards? And the window above the garage door- am I to believe folks sleep in the mansard above the garage?  Aren't the mansard dwellers worried about carbon monoxide poisoning?  This is an odd ball, even in my fantasy bad mansard world.

 Once again Dan has given me something to laugh at- something I've been doing since 1987.  Thanks Dan! 

Monday, May 11, 2009

La Poste (Mailbag!)

Reader Jen O. fears her mansard may be an imposter.  She writes, "a mansard is to slope on all four sides, right?"  Gentle reader, needn't fear.  Your mansard is handsome and proper.  Please hold thee head up high.  Mansards usually only feature one slanted elevation; the rear is usually flat.  

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Just like Cinderella said...

At Reavis and Glendale Road in Webster Groves.  Webster is slowly losing its stock of 1960's mansards with the redevelopment trend of "pop the top off."  Homeowners looking to enhance the appearance and increase the size of their homes build up.  A single story becomes a two-story.  A bad mansard is removed and something pleasing added in its stead.  

Fortunately, this mansard is intact.  A house to the west on Glendale rocked a bad mansard until recently when the roof was severed and replaced with some faux cottage looking roof (the former Ruddy/Ralph Beuc house to all you statespeople).  Just like the lyrics of a fine Cinderella anthem so often echoed in WGHS's hallowed halls, "don't know what you've got until it's gone..."  I am going to stop picking on poor Webster now.  Back to the city! 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Signage de Mansard

A mansard sign. Because the sign needs a roof that large over it.

Also weird because the Gerber Chapel building is one of Webster's important historical buildings. It was built in 1865 as the Nathan Allen Home. I believe it is the same "ALLEN" that plotted Soulard and thus Allen Street.

The front of the building is not mansard style but a simple Victorian Vernacular style. Greek columns were added later. Yuck. The real party starts in the back of the building with a shingle/mansard funeral carport. A total botch of Victorian, Greek Revival and 1970's Mansard. Upon reflection, i should have taken some pictures of the front so readers could enjoy the mullett-ness of Gerber Chapel.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dime a Douzain

Quiz:  Mid-County or downtown?  Time's up, put down your stylo.  Totally ugly.  At 23rd and Pine (I think- I could be off a block or two).