Perhaps you have been fortunate enough to be able to see the vast French countryside for yourself. Perhaps you have only seen the beautiful French countryside in movies. You can picture a French-style house, often hidden behind a courtyard and surrounded by foliage.
What is exactly a French-Style House?
French-style homes, also known as French provincial homes, are stone, brick, and stucco houses with large windows and a steep roof. French-style homes are well-known for their rustic appeal. They often have iron gates and gravel pathways.
There are many French-style homes, but not all homes will look the same. This is due to the diversity of French homes. You may recognize the French-style home that you see as a local home. These homes have key exterior and interior features, all of which add to their style. Here are the main characteristics of French-style homes. An architect and an interior designer will tell you everything.
What makes a house French?
No one style of house can be described as French due to the diversity of French homes. Susan Spath, an interior designer and architect, says that the French-style home is a combination of a large property with rustic, laid-back features.
The classic French-style home is usually made of sturdy brick, stone, or stucco. It often has steep roofs and large arched windows with shutters. Spath says that these homes often have courtyard entrances and gardens. A French-style home might have a large iron gate that opens to a garden with stone pavers. This leads to an arched entrance made entirely from stone. These homes are often surrounded by distinctive greenery such as rosebushes, hydrangeas, lavender or even creeping ivy.
French-style homes have interiors that complement their exterior design. These include distressed hardwood flooring in a chevron style and often with distressed hardwood flooring. The homes have high ceilings that feature dramatic wooden beams, skylights, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Arched doors open to the courtyard gardens. Spath says that French-style homes are more likely to have a formal dining and living room and a breakfast nook and family room.
Although French provincial homes may vary in size, style and features, they all share key exterior and internal characteristics.
- Stone, brick, or stucco construction
- Two stories or more
- Symmetrical design
- Large arched windows with shutters of contrasting colors.
- Porches with balustrades (rows or small columns)
- Steep rooftops
- Courtyard gardens
- Gravel pathways
- Large iron gates
- Tall ceilings and wooden beams
- Hardwood or stone flooring
- Floor-to-ceiling windows
- Arched doorways
- Formal dining room, living room
- Breakfast nook
- Family room
A French-style home is a great choice if you prefer rustic, farmhouse-style interior design over a minimalist, modern feel.
History of French-Style Homes
French provincial homes were established in France during King Louis XIV’s reign in the 1600s. This was when French aristocrats started to build manors and chateaux homes in the rural as summer escapes. Although “provincial” may suggest “unsophisticated,” these homes are often rustic and understated. The Versaille Palace is said to be the inspiration for the first French provincial homes. However, these homes are smaller and less elaborate.