The Superficial House

The Superficial House

Why is it that every design image of a new suburban cookie-cutter home is always the front of the house? Ever been in a new suburban subdivision and notice that the backs of the houses have none of the typical cultured stone corners or fake window shutters or other design articulations? Why do typical builder homes have none of these elements on the backs of the houses, even though you spend more time in your backyard than you do in the front yard?

Typical home builders spend all of their “design money” on the front to try to give it good street presence, and in the case of new suburban areas, try to fit the subdivisions’ “architectural controls” (which, by the way, have nothing architectural about them – I’ll write about that later).

Check out of the back of the house – it is the most honest thing about it.


Submitted by w. calvin van laar on

I totally agree Paul. The front yard of the 'suburbia special' homes have zero usage either. The house is typically placed far back that it reduces much of the usable back yard. Especially if you have kid that need some space.

It seems curb appeal to the non owner of the home is more important than the rear exterior of the home to the owner.

Submitted by Urbanhaus on

Agreed, Calvin. Curb appeal does seem more important, although I don't think there is much appeal in the "fakery" of the front and the uninviting double car garage door facing the street either.

Submitted by Urbanhaus on

Hi Plumbing. Yes, structure is extremely important for guarding against natural disasters and extreme weather. However, my point is that it is no excuse for ignoring the design of areas of the home that are highly used by their occupants, and to concentrate design effort on the outward 'show' of the house. Creating a whole house can still de done while designing appropriately for climate, weather (extreme or otherwise) and lateral forces from earthquakes and wind.

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