Sunday, December 25, 2011


I was planning a really, really ugly bad mansard post today. It didn't happen. This antique pier mirror messed everything up. My husband bought it for me from Sambeau's in the Central West End for our one year anniversary in 1999. We brought it from our first house in Lafayette Square to this house and bolted it to the wall in 2002. I never thought another thing about it.

Until this morning when it came crashing down on top of our 3 1/2 year old Mimi. And there was blood, glass, shattered wood and teeth everywhere. She had a few scrapes and three baby teeth got knocked out by the force of her face hitting the floor (fortunately an area rug softened the blow). Despite the injury and damage, I felt incredibly lucky. That thing could have killed her. It's heavy wood and the glass is about 1/4 inch thick.

Our good friend is a dentist and will check her out tomorrow. Fingers and eyes crossed everything is ok.

So, to all you moms raising kids in old houses, I have advice for you. The dangers of keeping little ones safe in a house 100+ years old are different than in a newer house. For sure newer houses have problems too. But older houses have some inherent risks to kids.

  • Our staircases are much, much steeper. There are 21 stairs from my first floor to the second floor. They are not carpeted. The stairs from my 2nd to 3rd floor are incredibly narrow and steep. You haven't had the wits scared out of you until you hear a toddler fall down 16 stairs.

  • The glass in some of our windows and mirrors is old- usually super thick and leaded glass. It usually won't break, but when it does get out of the way because it created giant jagged pieces of mirror daggers.

  • Lead paint and asbestos. Even if your house has been sanded down to wood, repainted this decade and abated, it won't stop some moron from throwing contaminated drywall and insulation out the second story window of your neighbors house creating a layer of poison dust all over your yard.

  • The doors are giant and solid wood. Little fingers get pinched quite easily and accompanied by a horrifying crunch.

  • Hardwood is lovely but slippery.

  • The ceilings are so very, very tall. My 6'5" husband has to stand on top of a ladder to access the lightbulbs. One time he fell and almost landed on then-baby Gus snoozing in his pumpkin seat.

  • Because the ceilings are high and the rooms can be large- furniture is super-sized. Bookcases, mirrors, dressers, etc. Looks great but more horrible if it falls on your kid.

I will argue that an older home is 100% better for raising kids than a newer home. That said, let's all do a safety check and make sure the accidents happen less frequently.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bad Mansard Yacht Club

Boats always look so out of place in the city. It's pretty clear you aren't going boating anywhere on your property if you live in the city of St. Louis.

You know what also looks ridiculous on this place? The porch!! I can't tell whether the roof or the porch was the add-on to this house. Given the neighbor house with the mansard and the brick color of the porch, I am going with porch addition.

House is somewhere near Ivanhoe and McCune. I found it while I was looking for the holy grail of south city bad mansards. That will be featured on Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Where would you move?

One time at a dinner party we played a game*. Each guest had to pick 5 cities to be transferred to. It made for interesting conversation. We learned where other people had lived and what was important to them in selecting a new city. I picked Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City and maybe New York or Austin. My reasoning was having many friends and families in those cities, decent culture, and school options .

There is a spin on the big city transfer game. It's the small town Missouri game. Pick a small town to live in if you couldn't liv

e in St. Louis. Hands down my pick is cute Washington, Missouri. About 50 miles down interstate 44 to the west of St. Louis on the Missouri River, Washington was founded by Germans features great houses, big churches, a cute downtown and neat restaurants and shops. Washington is a combination of two places I already have lived- the small town feel of Webster Groves mixed with the big bricks, river and festival-centric nature of the City of St. Louis.

And this cutie-patootie mansard. Where would you live if you had to pick a big city or a small Missouri town?

**Beware my dinner parties. There will be a good chance you will play a hypothetical game or a board game or a drinking game.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Well proportioned and handsome

Isn't this Flora Place house cute? I found it in my mansard photo folder and I think I was 'saving it' for the holidays. I guess it is the right season to post it. I like how there is a pumpkin on the porch and a Christmas wreath on the door, just like my house.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Flora place

I am working on some juicy bad mansard posts. Until I finish with those, I am presenting to you one of my favorite houses on Flora Place. It is somewhat plain compared to the larger mansions that surround it. 3816 Flora is where my grandmother grew up back in the 1930's and 1940's. A gorgeous and smart lady who matriculated from Roosevelt High School and later from Washington University.

She was Presbyterian and attended Tyler Place Church around the corner from this house. I, on the other hand, am Catholic and drive my kids over to school in her old neighborhood to attend St. Margaret of Scotland. I came across a family genealogy chart that showed her mother's family (the Starr's and Chester's) to be descendants of, wait for it, Queen Margaret of Scotland. Small world.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cooking with bad mansard

Two of my favorite St. Louis products, both available at Vincent's. I don't know the folks at Vivienne's, but the Lochhead vanilla people are friends. The women on the photo are my friend M's mother/sister in-laws. Love the Lochhead vanilla. It's manufactured out in Fenton but the consumer bottles are packaged here in Soulard.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Here is my deconstructed Advent wreath which is neither in a circular wreath form nor does it technically have the correct variety of evergreens. Nonetheless, it's how I do Advent. I have Southern magnolia coming out of my ears.

I have these ridiculously happy and abundant Bracken Beauties in our front yard*. Every year I whack off branches to decorate the mantles and make wreaths for the doors. Do you have any idea how expensive magnolia wreaths and swags are at even wholesale suppliers like Baisch and Skinner? $50 a pop. Crazy.

Candles are from Missouri Candle Company. They smell like baby powder.

*not sure anyone in the city has a proper front yard. We have a nice tree lawn along the street and a small courtyard where the Southern Magnolia thrive. They usually are only happy to a zone 6 (St. Louis is a 5), but a Bracken Beauty does very well here if it is shielded from the NW wind.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bad mansard de futbal

A little slice of bad mansard on a building I visit a lot- Soccerdome. Not much mansard to see here folks. Just a mansard vestibule.

Of note, it never seems like we use that entrance unless there's a tournament. And when there is a tournament, watch out because it always means you have to pay a couple of bucks in cash and I never seem to have cash on hand.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jefferson Quatre

The stretch of Jefferson south of 44 to Gravois has some very bad mansards. This one had eluded me for a long time. Not sure why; it's either at a strange spot on Jefferson or maybe it's the trees. Strange that such a garish thing could be so hard to see.

This past weekend was a social whirlwind. I know, I know. I act like every weekend, or every day, is a whirlwind. I had 17 3rd graders over for the Mother of All Brownie Meetings. I had a friend in from out of town for a visit to City Museum. Went to a wedding and reception. Had some neighbors over for brunch where I made the Mother of All Breakfast Meats, the Sausage Ring of Saturated Fat. Also dropped the ball a few times. Forgot that daughter Audrey was coming home from dance at 3. No one home. Oops. Also the Brownie meeting was intense. I was dead set on wrapping up six try its we've been working on since last spring. Those vests needed some flair. (Office Space reference; click here).

I also had a birthday and our anniversary this past weekend. All I wanted for a gift was one hour to go for a long run. Saturday morning I took a new route and ran down Jefferson which finally gave me the chance to get a crappy iphone picture of this tar paper, pepto pink and wannabe-but-not-even-close-French blue. Perhaps it is the Mother of the Jeffersonian Bad Mansards. (click the Jefferson tag for the others).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vingt days? J'apologize.

So sorry it's been 20 days since last I posted. And I don't even have any fresh material . Only this really bad mansard local realtor Ted Wight found on the St. Louis South Side. Click here for his post. Are you reading Ted's blog? If not, you should. He has a keen eye for stylish homes (especially mid century moderns) and nice gardens. I love any blog written by a man who loves European Hornbeam hedges.

Also check out Ted's bad realtor photography. It's like the Cake Wrecks of real estate listings.

I doubt anyone wants to know where I've been for the last 20 days. But I'll gloss over some highlights: birthdays, halloweens, trip to Mizzou, kid with whooping cough (yes, in this day and age even with immunizations), some parties, 7 volleyball games, 2 basketball games and a soccer game, a Brownie meeting tomorrow and the neighbors over for brunch on Sunday.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

PBR signage

Took this lousy quality picture in Union, MO. Pretty cool PBR sign I think. I'm guessing it's relatively old but I would defer to a neon sign expert. PBR and neon signs- both cool again. I'm just waiting for Busch beer to make a splash with hipsters. When it happens I will be ready.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Target v. Walmart

I usually put my mommy observations on my 63104mom tumblr. But this time I thought badmansard readers would enjoy a statement I made at a Brownie event.

We went to the SLU Occupational Therapy department this past Saturday to attend a disability workshop. The program was great and the girls asked some very insightful questions. And let's not ignore the obvious. The thought rolling around in wheelchairs and walkers and using blindness goggles was a lot of fun.

And I also learned some random information such as K's grandpa has a "plastic eye" and one of the 3rd grade teachers is missing her leg after a train accident.

At one point the coordinator asked the girls in our troop if they'd "ever been to Walmart and seen someone in a wheelchair?" No girl raised her hand. There were no "Oh me oh me oh me." Not one girl could identify with going to Walmart. Crickets for the very kind SLU OT professor.

So I raised my own hand and announced, "We're more of a Target crowd." No offense to Walmart, but there just aren't any stores in our urban neighborhoods.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thank you Jamieson bridge closure

Of course the soccer season where many of our games are at Lindenwood Park, the Jamieson bridge closes for repairs. And the year the Arsenal bridge was closed was the Year of Epiphany t-ball. My 4 kids had games all across the city. We had 6 games this weekend at Tilles, Midwest Soccer, SLYSA, Lindenwood, Berra and a volleyball game at St. Margaret's. Plus karate at Karate Life and dancing at Little Flower school.

As usual I was lost wandering around back streets trying to get to Arsenal to get on EB 44. And I found this ugly thang.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I am glad the Kiel is reopening. I was at one of the last concerts- REM in 1986. Since then, I've graduated high school, law school, got married, had 4 kids and voila! it's open again.

About REM- I lost interest in 1989 as I was convinced they had sold out. I like the old stuff; haven't bought anything 'new' since then. See awesome set list below:

R.E.M. Setlist Kiel Opera House, St. Louis, MO, USA 1986, Pageantry

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Poplar Bluff

A freshly updated mansard in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. That'd be Butler County. Sorry for the poor photo quality. The sign says Poplar Bluff Realty Co.

I went to Poplar to take a deposition. It is a lovely drive through the Mark Twain National Forest. ANd finally it's safe. 67 south is now a 4 lane instead of a 2 lane. That drive used to be freaky scary. I never had the skill or courage to pass big trucks on the 2 lane. I would therefore drive about 50 mph stuck behind a logging truck. Now I can travel smoothly and enjoy the beautiful scenery in the Missouri Ozarks. Thanks MoDot!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nattyville, Soulard, USA

Golf carts and gators. Is this a retirement community in Phoenix or St. Louis' hippest neighborhood? Based on the green trees and red brick buildings, this ain't in Arizona. But still, everyone seems to drive a golf cart. This 'license plate' reads "Nattyville."

That's how we roll in Soulard. Drive your golf cart around and get some Natty at Vincent's. Which brings me to a friendly neighborhood reminder recently blasted on the Soulard email blaster- the 3rd district police wanted to remind everyone that golf cart drivers could be pulled over for suspected drunk driving and asked folks in the neighborhood to please be more care when they drive golf carts to the bars at night.

The only city neighborhoods where I've seen a lot of golf carts as modes of transportation are Soulard, Lafayette Square and St. Louis Hills (Kay's soccer coach drives a gold cart to and from practice).

Any golf carts in your neighborhood? Ever seen intoxicated golf cart drivers?

Monday, September 12, 2011

My secret life

Writing badmansard is kind of a secret of mine. I really don't discuss it with friends, family, coworkers or neighbors. There are a few interested friends and family as well as some architect acquaintances who know my badmansard side. But work? No way. Never in all the minutes and hours of stupid office talk have I ever mentioned badmansard. And we talk about some really stupid stuff at work. Like Gordon Lightfoot and whether our previous PR guy looked like Andrew Cunanan (the guy who shot Versace).

Until I was driving around Madison with my coworker Steve and made him stop so I could take a picture. I had revealed myself. Steve was kind enough to send me a picture of a badmansard law office in West County. Here it is! And please, Steve, let's keep badmansard a secret and not mention it to Mike, Tim or Bob.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My sidewalk is in a documentary.

A neighbor sent me this video. Imagine my surprise- right at about the 25 second mark there is my sidewalk. I am quite flattered my sidewalk made the cut.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bad mansard featured in St. Louis Post Dispatch

What happens when you put a boxy mansard atop a cute south city cottage? This. Read the August 27 article in the Post Dispatch by clicking here.

According to the article, the homeowners added the mansard to add more square footage to the house. It would have been more attractive to leave the original roof and park a mobile home in the back yard.

That said, the window box and garden are so cute I am going to forgive the roof.

I have gotten numerous citizen's bad mansard arrest warrants on this. Thanks to Patsy, Amy and Jeff for letting me know about this one.

Note- this picture is from the Post Dispatch. Betcha didn't know Badmanard has degrees in law, journalism and amateur architecture. Do you subscribe to the Post? You should. Print journalism is becoming a lost art. That, and all the good coupons are in the Sunday paper.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My day as an avocat Ste. Genevieve

An avocat, by the way, is a lawyer. I am sure you know Ste. Genevieve, Missouri is one of the oldest French settlements west of the Mississippi River. I think this is the most mansardy courthouse in Missouri.

A nice mansard, although I am not crazy about the shingling on the taller part of the building. The church spire is part of the Ste. Genevieve Catholic church.

I thought I had been to most courthouses in Missouri. That is, until I scrolled through this list of courthouses and realized that at most I've been to only 30 of the roughly 120 courthouses in our state. I spent way too much time scrolling through the great photographs and histories. Be sure look at the photo of the above mansard with its original cresting and roof.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Two things I can relate to

Orthodontics and a bad mansard backdrop. If you cannot read it, the sign says, "Grandchild needs braces, buy this truck." The mansard is one of my all-time least favorites featured back in 2009.

As for the orthodontics, my almost 9 year old daughter is doing a 'palate expander' which is a fancy cranking retainer that has been lost at least 5 times at $170 a piece.

The other daughter is almost 11 and has lovely teeth that are perfectly straight. Cool, no braces. Wait. She is MISSING her bottom permanent first molars. Her baby teeth should hopefully hold through high school at which time she'll need titanium implants. Those implants will probably cost more than braces.

It's always f. something.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bad mansard, good beer

This has been a summer of many road trips. On my work trip to Wisconsin we went to a lovely town, Stevens Point. "Point", as the locals call it, has three industries: education (there is a U of Wisconsin campus there), insurance (why I was there) and beer. Did you know that Schlafly here in in St. Louis bottles most of its beer in Point? I enjoyed a Spotted Cow, which really isn't a Point brewed beer but very good Wisconsin craft beer. The mansard speaks for itself.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Le salon

Our parlor. I guess if I had a garage I could offsite some of this junk. But I don't. This is high Victorian mud room. It has 4 seasons:
  1. Mardi Gras party & Girl Scout cookies- usually it works that we have our big party first, then the cookies arrive a few weeks later. Except this year the cookies arrived before Mardi Gras. I serve as the cookie mom for two troops and therefore we skipped the party this year (for many other reasons as well)
  2. Christmas. This is the only room I decorate.
  3. Fall birthday party zone. My kids are born in July, September and October (2) so we use this room to open presents, play games, work on crafts, etc. See picture below of Audrey's Top Chef birthday party where the girls decorated aprons.
  4. The hold on to your hats time we are in right now- float trip/summer camp/back to school/vacation/go to the lake with grandma staging area.
About now. We're cramming all the above activities into a 21 day period. So why bother putting anything away? Here's some junk that will stay in the parlor until school starts and it's time for birthday parties. Counter clockwise from the cute girl in the purple shirt:

  • collapsed Easy Walker jog stroller. Love it. Got it cheap. Mimi is getting close to growing out the stroller but we will take it to the beach to transport the cooler, towels, etc.
  • that cool Japanese print? My grandmother doesn't care for Japanese art and gave it to me. Love it.
  • I love that mirror too. One of our first antique purchases. Got it from Sambeau's in the Central West End when we were first married in 1998. Had to have the mirror installed later (Chippewa Glass). It's huge.
  • Mantle is original to the house. It has a nice shell pattern. I have seen some mantle twins around town. I feel a special kinship with those other home owners. "OMG! We are mantle twins!"
  • Back to school supplies. Young Mimi can go to Montessori preschool this year with her older siblings so for the first time I bought back to school supplies for 4 kids.
  • Some bikes and scooters. Total city thing. Put your bike in the living room. Where else am I gonna put it?
  • Busch Bavarian and Bud Select cans. Hells to the yeah. I told you I was floating and going to the beach. Gotta have cans in coolies. Needn't fear. I have some better beer for drinking in the house.
  • Puked on booster seat. Gus got car sick onthe way to the float trip and barfed all over this booster. That was weird since it's been years since he's gotten sick. And then I remembered. He had Sunny D before we left. My mom is convinced orange juice makes his stomach queasy and car sick. She was clearly correct, assuming of course sunny D qualifies as orange juice.
  • There's Audrey. She's packing her shower tote for girl scout summer camp. She's the second oldest and gets a lot of hand me downs from her older sister. She was so happy to get a new shower tote and watch her older sister get stuck with the old one.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I have personal boundaries. I like to stay away from certain parts of the St. Louis area. In general, I don't like it west of Lindbergh, south of Gravois, north of Delmar or east of the Mississippi river. Such ridiculous policies would explain why I've been writing badmansard for more than two years and just now made it to Westport Plaza. It is a mecca of badmansards.

  1. I was visiting a VERY IMPORTANT CLIENT out that way and it had a terrible mansard. But there are attorney/client privileges and one of them is that an attorney cannot make fun of her client's headquarter's roof.
  2. I saw Modern English at Westport Playhouse in 1985 or so.
  3. The girl scout store is out that way so now I have an excuse to explore the wonder of Westport's architecture style.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

bitness trip

Took a trip to Wisconsin to visit a friend, entertain clients, go on a nice long run, eat great food and drink beer. If you're thinking "oh how nice to get out of the St. Louis heat"-- not so fast. It was 95 there today and Wisconsin seemsless adept at handling the heat (AC seems less powerful).

This tower of mansard madness is in Madison on the University of Wisconsin campus.

Sorry for the poor photo quality. I was driving with a coworker and he wasn't interested in slowing down so I could take a proper picture.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Where has the été gone?

Where has the summer gone? I've neglected poor badmansard. I've been busy elsewhere. Since I last posted: 4th of July madness, put the dog to sleep, soccer practices, orthodontist appointment, pastoral transition party (aka meet the new priest), work!, grown-up Pinewood Derby party, Mimi's 3rd birthday, my brother's family in town, sold a car seat and hopefully a stroller on Craigslist (totally annoying process), a little shopping, a kid with swimmer's ear, hosted an overnight, took audrey to a birthday party, a traveling husband, movies, and OMG! it's so hot I can barely focus on the next few days.

Speaking of hot and miserable. This mansard sit across 7th from the leveled Burger King on Park/7th (in my best Craig T. Nelson voice from Poltergeist, "you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones!). Click here if my joke makes no sense to you.

Sometimes I leave my van home with the babysitter and have my husband drive me to work. When it's time to leave work, I pack my purse and things in a backpack and run home from Met Square to Soulard pretty much down 7th to Russell and further to my house. Only about 2.7 miles but it is a terrible run. Hot because there is no shade, dirty, Cardinals traffic, pedestrians, 100 pavement changes, hobos, panhandlers, 18 wheelers, broken sidewalks, glass, human feces, some clothes and noise. This mansard and the lovely Sts. Peter and Paul church were the only attractive things I saw.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Italians yet again

This little butterface is for sale. Here's the listing: link. It's a cute place but for its top facade. I like the floor plan and the details inside. Rip the siding off the mansard, paint the kitchen a nice avocado green and it's a nice place for under $90,000.

Thanks to my friend Patsy for sending me the picture. Patsy was the first mommy friend I made. It was March 2001 and I was eating brunch with my newborn and husband at the now defunct market/coffee shop Marche (on Park in Lafayette Square where the Chocolate Bar is now located).

Patsy walked up to me and said, "hey, a few of us in the neighborhood just had babies and we get together for playdates and the like." And so it was. A Lafayette Square playgroup.

Now Patsy is the co-leader of the Brownie troop. She nor I live in Lafayette Square anymore. She lives in the neighborhood where my kids go to school and I live in the neighborhood where her kids go to school. I need to go get a drink with Patsy at the Chocolate Bar- where it all started.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Save the Del Taco flying saucer!

Some short-sighted jerk wants to tear down this awesome building and make another ugly strip mall. If you're not in St. Louis, here's some background: the flying saucer was built in the 1960's a Phillips 66 and later a bank. In the 1980's it became a Naugles and is now a Del Taco. It's on the Saint Louis University campus. Drunk people have been getting late night food here for as long as I can remember.

Badmansard was a Naugles purist and went to the Maple-hood Naugles while in high school (photo below- now a Quiznos and a bad mansard). However, I went to law school at SLU and visited this site frequently. Let's not tear it down. It's a cool conversation piece.

Badmansard knows not every mid century modern can be saved, but we're smart enough to figure a way to keep this one. You can check out the facebook page here: LINK.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lewd and Indecent Mansard Exposure

Gentlemen, meet the Queen of Hearts, Fenton's premium strip club. It's not full on strip club, but rather a pasty club meaning the girls wear nipple coverings. That plan may have backfired for the Queen of Hearts. I'm told they've had problems with local law enforcement and the St. Louis County Liquor Commission for failure to adhere (pun intended) to the pasties and going full-on nudie instead.

I could have taken a better picture but I had to get the Busch sign in the picture. Ya'll know I love my Busch memorabilia.

Found this mansard running on the Meramec Trail while my oldest daughter had a soccer thing at Fenton Park. She plays on one of those year-round "select" clubs. Fortunately, it's a south-city centered club and we practice at Nottingham school. I am lazy and competitive at the same time.

Excited for tonight- at the recent school auction a group bought a VW microbus architectural pub crawl. Yes, all that. A group of us are getting in two VW Microbuses for a tour of St. Louis architectural highlights and stopping at bars and restaurants along the way.

Finally, Queen of Hearts is a Juice Newton song before all else:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Badmansard weekend

Scenes from the badmansard weekend. Friday night we had a pool party for the 2nd and 4th grade GirlScouts atthe LafayetteSquare Bath and Tennis.

In our garden, the
Southern Magnolia re blooming. The bloom is lovely, but with the bloom comes shedding of big, crispy brown magnolia leaves. I pay the kids a nickel a leaf
to pick them up. THe other plant picture is my tree lawn (the strip of plantings betwe
en the sidewalk and
street). White Shasta daisy, purple sage, knock out roses.

Saturday featured a Crawfish boil. Good times were had by all. Fortunately, we put our collective parenting foot down and told the kids there would be no crawfish pets taken home from the party. And imagine my surprise when we arrived home- not soon thereafter the naked bike ride went by our house. In fact, there was a collision pile-up of nakeds!

Finally, Sunday was learn to play hock
ey at Affton, the only time we left the city limits. Gus calls this his hockey face.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I go to Washington, MO about 4 times a year. This is a public works building built a few years ago. I think it is attractive and blends in well with the downtown Washington area.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The mansard that almost killed me...

I run about 10 miles a week, divided between two 5 mile runs. This past Sunday, with temperatures in the upper 70's and humid, I decided to go for a longer run, just to prove to myself at age 40 that I could do it.

I run during the winter on the YMCA treadmills, frequently 7 miles. But running outside in the humidity for 7 miles is a little different. The first run in the summer heat is brutal, and upping my mileage by 2 miles was probably stupid. I ran from my house in Soulard all the way over Sidney, through Tower Grove Park to Kingshighway and then back. About 7 miles. By mile 6.25 I was about to die. I was on the stretch of Sidney between California and Jefferson and there were no trees, I was running uphill and kept looking for something that would give myself permission to stop running (red light, police barricade, chatting with a friends, ANYTHING!).

Saw a mansard in the distance. An oasis of sorts. A weird mansard next to the Bank of America at the city's most confusing intersection of Jefferson/Gravois/Sidney. I stopped and took a picture of a mansard.

This appears to be an art deco addition on the front. It is easy to miss because the house is hidden behind a tree. Goodness do I hate that door. After my badmansard break, I kept running and arrived home so sweaty that all the kids wanted to feel my calves because they were so wet and shiny.

Also featured is a great carriage stone on Sidney Street. I wonder if this is even a carriage stone, or a fancy hitch. A carriage stone is a big rectangle piece of marble or limestone plopped in the front of city homes, usually right by the front walk. The stones would allow the passenger of a horse-drawn coach to exit gracefully. They were installed when the houses were built, usually between 1870 and 1910. Once the automobile arrived people didn't need carriage stones anymore.

Some remain in place in the city of St. Louis in their original spot between the sidewalk and the street, others have been moved into gardens (they make great benches for kids to play and for grown-ups to read) and others were discarded (buried, put in the alley or broken into pieces). I am not sure I've ever seen a top part with a bar. Maybe there was a separate stone and this was the hitch. Or this could be the stone and the hitch together. I have no idea. Ideas regarding my miserable run and the carriage stone appreciated.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A video break from the bad mansards

I rarely have any video. Here is some. The guy in this video is my prom date from 1989. Not Kevin bacon. The other guy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fave mansard, beer and what I'm doing this weekend

This mansard on the Anehuser Busch (ok- fine - inBev- whatever) campus is one of my favorites. The mansard roof and widow's walk almost appear decorative. It works for me. Love this building.

Speaking of beer, the school picnic is tomorrow and the question for me is what to put in my cooler. The years where I pack nothing I'm stuck in a line for a half-tapped keg full of warm foam. The years when I plan and pack a cooler, there are troughs of decent beer everywhere. Or maybe I mix it up and bring vodka and lemonade.

Another busy weekend: dance recital, niece's graduation, birthday party, hockey, 2 soccer games and a sorority ladies brunch. My challenge will be to have a picture of a really bad mansard by the end of the weekend. ETA: I am also packing SVDP pantry baskets on Sunday and I hope John can take the kids to the Budrovich Meet the Machines event on Saturday.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I love cornerstones on churches. I HATE when the original organizers' identities are sandblasted away like at this church, Trinity Baptist on Sidney. This botched attempt at covering up the name of the original church looks a little like White-Out.

My message to the current churches is this: look, church people, you may own the building now but you cannot change who laid the cornerstone.

This church looks like it used to be a German church- maybe Lutheran or maybe German Evangelical (some of which are now Evangelical Lutheran and others are part of the UCC. I know about this because the guy who built this house was German Evangelical "Evangelische Kirche" in German).

If you are keeping track, I am collecting pictures of cornerstones, bad mansards and Lustrons.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Straight outta Compton- 3

Compton Avenue, north side of 44 behind SLU Medical School. Am I the only one who sings NWA's Straight outta Compton anytime I drive on Compton?

Weird house- looks like a nondescript 1880's building with a mansard smashed on the front. Plus new construction in the next door neighbor house. The whole scene is an architectural mismatch.

Below is the NWA video. It too is mismatched. Ice Cube and Dre talking of pimps, hoes and grabbing AK-47's of the shelf. HA!. Dre is now a successful producer and Cube starred in Friday, Barbershop and Are we there yet? (a badmarsard family favorite).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bad Mansard v. Alabama twister

Here's what's left of a bad mansard apartment? Office building? John's second cousin Jessica H. took these photos in her town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. John has a large extended family in Alabama and fortunately they are all ok.

Having grown up in St. Louis, I am quite used to tornado sirens. Seems like they go off all the time now, perhaps due to tornadic (is that a word?) in adjacent counties.

Sometimes I am a bit nonchalant about getting down to the basement when the sirens start howling, and then talking. They do that now- talk- like the teacher in Charlie Brown. Scenes like this and our own Good Friday Tornado and the Tornado of 1896 are a reminder to me that I should get myself into the basement.

Our first house in Lafayette Square didn't have a 3rd floor. Its 3rd floor was ripped off in the 1896 tornado. The roof and then bricks were peeled from the masonry home and went flying, likely into windows and people. That brick cyclone must have been horrifying and terribly dangerous.

Lesson- get in the damn basement.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ballin' on a Budget

Northbound Kingshighway. This gentleman is evidently ballin' on a budget. I don't know exactly what that means, but I assume he is trying to live life to the fullest on limited funds.

Let's break that down. He's on a budget. Me too! This past week was a huge financial drain.
  • ran over some nails, waited too long to have the tire serviced, left work on Monday to find a flat front tire. I had to coordinate AAA to change my tire in the Met Square garage. Had Dobbs just south of the ballpark fix the tire and replace two tires long overdue for a tire change. I liked that Dobbs. But it was still $300 out of my pocket
  • taxes! OMG. We owed big time.
  • Have to put down a deposit on our vacation
  • Paid Girl Scout camp balance for two daughters
  • Spent a lot at the school auction
  • Randomly spend $60 getting my shoes fixed and $50 on dry cleaning
  • Paid remaining balance on our school 2011-2012 registration fee
  • Just took John's car in for its annual appointment (like a well woman exam for cars). Even though it has an extended warranty and extended service plan we will probably pay for that too.
Back to Mr. Ballin' on a Budget. He's also trying to be ballin'. I think that means he's trying to make each day exciting and interesting. Yes, I know there are a lot of other definitions of ballin. I'd like to be ballin' this week but I cannot. No time for ballin'. Here's why
  • I will probably be dealing with post-Easter sugar crashing all day tomorrow.
  • have to work 4 days this week instead of my usual 3
  • week includes a huge client seminar and two depositions
  • tee-ball, softball, lacrosse, soccer, hockey, dance, choir, art
  • escorting the preschool montessori to the zoo on Friday (one of my days off)
  • Audrey's 1st communion is on Sunday and must clean house, develop meal plan and make sure 4 kids and husband have the correct clothing and hair

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ode to the hosta

Don't know what I'd do in the bad mansard garden without the mighty hosta. We have multiple types all over the place; I think this one is a Frances Williams variety.

I love them when they are at this stage of growth. Just leafing out and so full of potential. Wanna split them into two new plants? Go for it. Do you think they'd look better in another spot in the yard? Go ahead, dig them up and move them. They won't care.

The hosta starts strong and loses is steam as the summer progresses. By the end of the summer they'll look haggard. The slugs, hail, dogs, kids and sun will reduce them to floppy, yellowing Swiss cheese. And then they'll die down and start the process all over.

Dare I say I find the hosta motivational? Every summer they get stomped, sun scorched and torn apart. And every spring they come back happy and ready to go.

Hosta are a good lesson in life. Every day something will stomp and scorch you a little. Take a rest, refresh and plan a comeback. And be sure there are hosta in your garden.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Let's pause for a Lustron

Pausing for a photo of a Lustron. I grew up in Brentwood and then Webster Groves, the St. Louis hotbeds of Lustron homes. As a kid, it seemed like Lustrons were everywhere. We didn't call them Lustron homes. There weren't any conversations that went like this,

me, with "DIY Mohawk Barbie": "Hey, Erika, let's go over Debbie's Lustron home and play Barbies."

Erika, holding Barbie with a markered purple leg by her foot: "oh, really, she lives in a Lustron home? You know those were an important post WWII housing trend that will surely become an iconic architecture style."

Nope. We didn't talk like that. We called them metal houses or houses that looked like quilts. My favorite is (was?) at the corner of Ridge and Edgar in Webster Groves by Blackburn Park.
This one is on Litzsinger across from McGrath Elementary in Brentwood.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Badmansard takes the Brownies to Old North

We worked on the Show Me patch (click here) in two meetings, learning about our neighborhoods, their architecture and history. I thought this patch was appropriate for our Brownies who live in 8+ historic St. Louis neighborhoods and come from 3 different schools.

When we formed our troop, the handshake agreement was I would be the 'leader' but only in the sense I'd take care of paperwork, cookies, scheduling, etc. At each meeting we run it co-op style. Everyone takes turn leading and helping. It works out quite well and the meeting stay fresh.

We started at the Soulard School where we learned about the anatomy of a neighborhood, painted pictures of our neighborhoods and played some old fashioned games like Kick the Can and Red Rover. The girls loved the meeting at the Soulard School, especially that climber.

A few weeks later we went to Old North to help in the community garden planting vegetable seeds. Can you guess the favorite activity in the garden? (hint: it said bawk bawk). After that was over, we went to view the artwork at La Mancha coffee house.

Patch earned. Girls loved getting dirty and then seeing their art on a coffee house wall.

Of These are some of my favorite pictures. Of course my kid puts Vincent's Market on her Soulard Scene! And 9th Street deli. Both fine establishments.