In her time in office, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been busy gutting Obama era education reforms designed to help people struggling with student loans.
As the sister of Blackwater founder Erik Prince and wife of former Amway CEO Dick DeVos, it’s not surprising that DeVos doesn’t seem to have an excess of empathy for people with financial problems like large student loans debt.
DeVos, unsurprisingly, lives a life of luxury, which includes a 22,000-square-foot nautical-themed summer mansion in Michigan.
Kate Wagner, who publishes the architectural humor blog McMansion Hell, blasted DeVos’ opulent summertime digs for Vox.
“It’s bad enough that we have a president who oversaw a massive redistribution of wealth toward the already wealthy through tax breaks,” she wrote. “What’s worse is that obscenely wealthy people like him waste all their money building pseudo-castles and other eclectic tragedies, all while wagging their finger at the rest of us telling us to eat cake.”
Wagner devotes the piece to her public school teachers.
“As someone who owes tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, getting paid to make fun of DeVos’s tacky seaside decor is one of few ways to both feed myself and make myself feel better,” she wrote. “With that, I’d like to dedicate this essay to all of the public school teachers who taught me how to write.”
Stylistically, Wagner notes, the DeVos mansion is hideous.
“The home attempts to play on the historical American school of architecture known as the shingle style,” she wrote. “This style, often seen by historians as a combination of the emerging Arts and Crafts movement and 19th-century eclecticism, is known for its extensive use of shingles as a building material and its multi-massed (massing is a fancy word for a building’s three-dimensional forms) architectural complexity.”
“Betsy likely went with this style because it is very popular in New England and in coastal enclaves of the rich and famous in general.”
Bad style aside, the house is outfitted with more amenities than any human could possibly need: 10 bathrooms, three kitchens, eight dishwashers and an elevator—a monument to the unapologetic over-consumption of America’s super wealthy.
She concludes, “Architecture is never a vacuum. This house sucks, but like all buildings, it is a reflection of both the people and the broader culture that make building it both possible and desirable. Those, too, irrefutably suck.”