Features of the French-Style Home
French architecture has been admired for years and you can bring a piece of it to your home. Photo credit: wakxy
During World War II, many young Americans—and future homeowners—spent time admiring French architecture. After the war ended, many of these soldiers brought that admiration home with them, and French architectural features began working their way into American homebuilding. Yet more than a half-century later, many of today’s homeowners have no clear idea what does or does not make their home French style.
There are several features—very common indeed—that distinguish the French style. Most notably are hipped roofs and flared eaves, among others.
- Hipped Roofs, as opposed to gabled ends, are uniquely French. Hip roofs slope down toward the eaves on all sides (although you’ll see combination hip and gable roofs throughout the United States). As much as hipped roofs will not have gables, they may be equipped with dormers, which themselves have gable ends.
- Brick, Stone, or Stucco siding is also common to French style homes.
- Flared Eaves are less common but easily distinguish French style architecture. In such cases, the roof simply flares outwards as it reaches the eave rather than continuing on at the pitch of the roof proper—also common in Dutch-style homebuilding.
- Other classic French features include round towers, arched doorways, and decorative half-timbering—or exposed wood framing—as well as multi-paned windows.
If many of these features sound all too common, remember that so is the French style in a good portion of homes built in the latter half of the 20th Century. Not only that, some of these feature (i.e., flared eaves, stucco siding) are not unique to French architecture and are often referred to in the U.S. more generally as European.
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