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French Country House Plan: How to Get It Right and How to Screw It Up
Home Home Decorations
By: Ralph Pressel Email Article
Word Count: 970 Digg it | Del.icio.us it | Google it | StumbleUpon it

  

INTRODUCTION

French Country is a popular home design style nowadays, both exterior and interior.

This article addresses the French Country home design style on the exterior.

WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?

Do you think that French Country, or the effected Country French, is a home design style? We'd say, "Not exactly."

French Country is a range of home design styles –

1. From an early French farmhouse to not quite a French embassy

2. From residential design styles, including but not limited to Rustic French, Rural French, French Provincial, French Eclectic, Chateau (French version of the English Manor House), and the namesake French Country

3. From in-between Cajun style and Louisiana Plantation style

4. From the time period in America bracketed roughly by WWI and WWII

Comment: There is a stylistic kinship of sorts with other home home styles that are casually (and incorrectly) taken as singular and not as a set. For example, American Victorian is a/k/a (Victorian, in each instance) 2nd Empire, Gothic, Italianate, Queen Anne, Folk, Stick, Shingle, and Richardsonian (Romanesque). Or for example, Southern Colonial ranges from Warburton House (1680) in James City County, VA or Christ's Cross (a/k/a Cris Cross) (circa 1690) in New Kent County, VA and simpler, all the way up to Bacon's Castle (1650) in Surry County, VA and Stratford Hall (1725) in Stratford, VA [noting that other examples abound either standing, or artistically captured earlier-on or reproduced, the author having chosen these for their geographical and temporal proximity, Post-Medieval English roots, and breadth of character].

You'll find beaucoups publications about French Country on Amazon.com and at your local bookstore. To wit, along with a slew of other design-oriented books, a while back we ordered Provencal Inspiration: Living The French Country Spirit by Home Planners, and immediately received a notice that Amazon's out of stock. French Country is back bigtime. As another, more recent example, our just completed custom house plans in French Country Style for a property in Asheville, NC will be offered later this year at $4+ million [and the facades really do have a rural sense to them].

French Country style reminds us more than most of Craftsman style – multiple roof slopes; windows of different sizes and heights; broad overhangs and soffits; knee braces and other exposures of construction structure; front-facing gables; a mix of gable, clipped gable, shed, and hip roofs; natural materials; masonry exterior, especially stone; a mix of finish clads; restraint in exterior accessories and adornments. French Country style can be comfortable and inviting in its more relaxed presentations.

However, French Country home design departs from the Arts & Crafts Movement in several respects: high-peaked, steeply sloped roofs at pitches way above Craftsman's; a refinement in exterior trim particularly in rakes; an understatement of observable structure; gutter systems sometimes with gussied-up copper appointments; curved rooflines to accommodate steep slopes, larger windows, unpierced ceilings and interior walls; broad soffits; arches and curve-topped dormers, elaborated ironwork; balconies; turrets; Classic columns; masonry accessories in relief, some interest in symmetry, etc. Simplicity and elegance.

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Before The Architect designs and drafts custom home plans nationwide. Its principals Ralph and Jean Pressel have worked hands-on together since the ‘60s in custom home design, drafting, consulting, plus building and repair in every major trade. The e-book Home Design Standards - Home Building Standards and the website http://www.beforethearchitect.com are enterprises of Before The Architect’s principals.

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