It's tough having a McMansion these days. The economy, the a/c bills for cooling uselessly overwhelming foyers, it all adds up.
But when times were booming, people loved their McMansions. And because no one actually wants to be accused of living in a McMansion, developers and designers doll them up with "unique" features. Like staircases.
Nothing says "class" in Houston like a grand staircase, or a kicky one, or a showy one.
So here are the top five staircases from the "Foreclosed" listings of the Houston Association of Realtors.
1. The M.C. Escher special. Do not attempt this staircase while using medication. The red, the surreal curves, the knobby sticks -- it's all too much. Next thing you know you'll be going downstairs for a morning bagel and end up like this.
Location: 1000 Clay Street. Price: $1,574,000.
2. Two steps are better than one. Because if one stairway is classy, imagine how classy two can be. Call this the Fiddler on the Roof design -- "I'd have one big staircase just going up; another even larger coming down....If I were a wealthy man." Kids can also race their bikes down against each other, much to the cleaning lady's delight.
Location: 17907 Elk Valley. Price: $1,350,000.
3. The stairway only a photographer could love. It's a Realtor's site, right? So you're supposed to be showing photos that make someone say "God, I want that house!!", right? Not "What the f-- oh, I get it, it's the stairway." At least the photographer has a nice dramatic shot for his portfolio.
Location: 58 Lake Sterling Gate Drive, Spring. Price: $990,000.
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4. For when you just can't stop looking at the neighbors. Or when you just don't want them to stop looking at you, more likely. "Look how elegantly she ascends!" they'll exclaim. Or maybe "Look how elegantly beserk she looks as she dramatically pauses halfway up to scream 'You care more about that goddamn Cowboys game than you do about me!!!'"
Location: 19158 Grandview Point, Montgomery. Price: $630,000.
5. The stairway to hell. It's small, it's dark, it leads to an indeterminate but ghoulish space. You check it out. We'll stay right here, thanks.
Location: 11634 Versailles Lane. Price: $1,382,500