Monthly Archives: September 2017

The Effortless Elegance of French Style Homes

The French love their architecture. Their designs trace a long history and medley of artistic style elements across the centuries. French style homes remain a very popular choice for it never fails to captivate with its distinguishable stately charm.

Returning soldiers from World War I have primarily romanticized the architectural style and brought their keen interest in French houses to Canada and the United States. Many new structures were built with details outlined as they’ve seen during the war. The French style homes exhibited traditional and ornamental attributes borrowed from France.

Architectural Hallmarks of The French-Inspired House

Designs vary, but a French style home mainly holds these distinctive features:

A Symmetrical Facade – Brick, stone, walls of smooth plaster or stucco siding make up the French home’s frontage. Stucco is a mix of sand, lime, water and cement which enhances any exterior like frosting on cake.

Flared Eaves – Pertaining to the roof’s edge, eaves on the outside projects beyond the side of the house to serve both decorative and practical functions. Flared eaves define the French style house while offering protection for the beautiful siding and interior sunshade.

High-Pitched Hipped Roof – Unifying the entire home exterior is the hip or hipped roof, arriving in red clay tile and sloping down towards the eaves on all four sides. It is the most dominant characteristic of French style house plans which is often graced with attractive dormers. In a square structure, the top of the hip roof is pointed like a pyramid. In a rectangular-shaped building, the hipped roof forms a ridge. Red clay tile (or simulated red tile) roof

Dormers – A dormer refers to a window vertically set on a sloping roof. The house component is sometimes called lucarne, which is French for “skylight.” Sticking out of the main covering and crafted with its own small roof, it provides additional space and allows for natural light and ventilation.

Ornate Doors and Windows – Tall and thin, multi-paned windows come with decorative shutters. Right above would be arches with accenting keystones. Copper-topped bay windows, window lintels, and rounded openings are also definers. The quintessential French front door is enough to add a unique flair to your home and successfully blend indoor and outdoor living.

Entryway – Porte-cocheres were popular during the Renaissance whereby coaches or carriages are driven in. Front courtyard entry garages, porticos, and patios are usually incorporated in French Country house plans. Some homes feature decorative half-timbering on round tower entryways as with the Tudor style.

French home styles may be one or two storeys high and symmetrically shaped or not. Chimneys are large and sloped at the base. Medieval English design elements may also be in place, such as turrets and quoins. You can add a guest cottage, garage, pool resembling a pond, and a keeping/hearth room at the first level. Most homes are built with wrought-iron balconies at the second floor.

French architecture is evidently rich and big in features. Indeed, it’ll be grandest and most impressive on large properties, but does not necessarily require an enormous plot of land. Be it all-out luxury or cozy small, all you need is a custom home builder that will build you a home that fits your budget and exceeds your standards- and that’s Larry Stewart.

French Style Home Design Variations

France was a kingdom of many provinces for hundreds of years, which resulted in many interesting architectural styles under its umbrella. French-inspired homes present a wide range of sizes and styles, from modest Farmhouses to country Cottage designs to estate-like chateaux and magnificent villas.

Country French-style houses are inspired by rustic manors located in the rural country side. The style brilliantly combines rustic and refined, never forgetting the past while not giving up city sophistication either. Dovecote towers, old French balusters, and zinc oeil-de-boeuf dormers are characteristic of this village home.

Chateauesque is exactly as it sounds like- a picturesque mansion with massive towers that elicits a castle-like effect. Ostentatious stone-covered turrets, intricately detailed iron balconies, and tall brick chimneys complete the French home style’s look.

The French Normandy style is set apart from other designs by an entrance denoted by a round stone tower topped by a cone-shaped roof. As its name implies, the style was derived from Normandy and the Loire Valley of France by which homes showcase half timbering or decorative strips of wood set in masonry.

French Provincial houses are inspired by individual regions that were generally self-contained. A similar approach extends to their architecture that has adapted a simple, square, and symmetrical form. Provincial styles are stately and formal, modeled after French country manors. The homes have notably unusual second-story window designs, often arched on top, breaks through the cornice and rises above the eaves.

When home inspirations are sourced from a broad range of French influences, the French Eclectic home style is produced, which became popular among early 20th century upscale American neighborhoods.

Color Schemes of French Style Houses

French country homes are laden in a nature-inspired palette with predominantly neutral colors. Exteriors may be coated light to provide a clean backdrop for French-blue shutters. French style shades can very well suit your preferences, whether honey-drenched walls matched with moss-colored shutters, earth tones with mustard yellow and warm red accents, muted terra-cotta or burnt peach, and other relaxing hues. Interior walls are usually painted in light and soft shades like antique white, gray, beige, pale yellow or blue.

The classical, handsome look of French style houses make for an outstanding choice for those who seek the serenity of French village life or sheer elegance of the royals. Some of us aren’t sure of what we want until we finally find it. Larry Stewart can help you realize and manifest the perfect translation of your dreams! Your French-inspired home can be custom built to create one authentic beauty. We’ll have it modified to your handpicked site, lifestyle and preferences. Let us build you a home that speaks fluent French, wraps you in timeless luxury, and radiates uniqueness that’s solely your own.

Stunning Architecture of The Mediterranean Home

What could be more spectacular than a sun-kissed view of crystal blue waters, with that breezy atmosphere that wraps you in romance? No you don’t need to be in Hollywood or stay at a hotel’s balcony overlooking sandy beaches, nor will you have to book a flight to Spain. Look no further than a Mediterranean style home for your custom home, escapade or family vacation.

Come discover the beauty of Mediterranean architecture, from history and pure design elements, famous century-old houses to custom-built dream homes of the present. Bonding with people who matter most, fun and relaxation altogether make life wonderful, There can’t be a better place than this grand residence to live every moment!

Mediterranean Homes At Its Peak

Films of the 1920s and 1930s mostly featured romantic Mediterranean sets. In real life, celebrities lived in Spanish Colonial and castle-like Tudor houses, which eventually brought about the peak period of Mediterranean home construction. The architectural style resembling Spanish haciendas became extremely popular in North America between 1918 to 1940. Though home building was dampered by the Depression, Mediterranean house styles regained its fame during the 1960s and has never gone out of style until modern times.

Today, one or two-storey Mediterranean homes are typically found in parts of the globe with warm climates and Spanish histories, such as California, Florida, and Southern states. Mediterranean house plans are perfect for coastal and temperate areas, but can be constructed anywhere by experienced home builders skilled at their craft. At Larry Stewart, your Mediterranean home can be of any size you want, stood on the lot you’ve picked, and made just for you!

Famous Historical Mediterranean Houses

Here’s to give you a glimpse of the most remarkable Mediterranean homes built throughout history:

Smith-Heberton House. A 1916 Mediterranean home in Montecito, California coined the “El Hogar” (Spanish term for “hearth”), designed by George Washington Smith, a renowned architect during the early 20th century.

Frances Marion and Fred Thomson House. Mediterranean house style located in Beverly Hills, California built in 1925 by architect Wallace Neff for the screenwriter and movie star couple.

Fred C. Aiken House. Built in 1926 by Architect Addison Mizner who launched the “Florida renaissance” in Boca Raton. The Mediterranean house was named after the Boca Raton Mayor and included in the NRHP (U.S. National Register of Historic Places).

What’s To Love About Mediterranean Style Homes?

Well, a straightforward answer would be: Everything. Each solidly built house is wrapped in all things Mediterranean. Think Mediterranean art, heritage, sunshine, and the most breath taking spots (in both land and sea) that you may ever see in this lifetime! Mediterranean style homes take all aspects of exterior and interior designs up a notch.

Inspired by a compendium of Moorish, Italian, Spanish, and Greek coastal styles, Mediterranean houses are the epitome of lavish architecture. It’s easy to recognize the tile roofs, stucco exteriors and elegant arch motifs, as much as it is to fall for the warm hospitality adapted from the Mediterranean region.

Traditional Red-Tiled Roof

The drop in roof level adds interest to the Mediterranean home style. Low-pitched roofs often appear asymetrical and uneven, yet perfectly grace the top of the house. The shallow structure slopes into a wide overhang to provide much-needed shade on hot and sunny days. Arriving in red, the tiled roof echoes that of Spanish and Mexican missions that were made of clay pots and bricks.

Mediterranean houses aren’t limited to dry climates, but tiles can be coated for cold and moisture resistance in cool, damp, even snowy climates. Heavier than regular shingles, the roof tiles are designed to last for a century with little upkeep. Shaped like half tubes, the air pockets in the tube tunnel kept air cool while exhibiting fireproof properties.

Stucco Exterior, Walls and Floors

The Mediterranean style home’s stucco finish offers weather protection to wall surfaces. Stucco or plaster exteriors are often paired with beautiful stone or brick, while exposed wooden beams frame the high ceilings. Kitchens walls would usually be plastered with lime to allow the structure to breathe. Terra-cotta tiles, granite and marble are common flooring materials for keeping the feet cool.

Arched Openings, Large Doors and Windows

Open arches are self-supporting elements which pave the way for sturdier walls and airy spaces. Heavy and huge wooden doors with ornate carvings, French doors, or Tuscan columns articulating an elegant portico are some entryway examples of the Mediterranean house style. Big, similarly arched, wooden or decorative iron windows are spread across walls. All openings make way for better circulation as nature seamlessly connects with the home’s interior.

Outdoor Living – Mediterranean Style

Mediterranean home plans elicit a generally laid-back style that promotes flexibility for customizations. There’s plenty of outdoor living space in the form of patios, second floor verandas, lovely balconies, lush gardens, custom pool and courtyards for larger lots. Mediterranean houses make entertaining family and friends while everyone remains quite comfortable.

Mediterranean Home Decor and Furnishings

Mediterranean-style home furniture ranges anywhere from simply functional to exceptional formality. Pieces are short with intricately detailed carvings. Fireplaces mostly arrive with stone mantels and hearths rather than wood, with a wrought iron fireplace screen. Filigree light fixtures, burnished bronze urns, oil-rubbed bronze or black collections comprise Mediterranean accents.

The Mediterranean House Palette

Mediterranean colors, to no surprise, are close to the skies and seas. Warm terra cotta, lavender and yellow are also hues that embody Mediterranean regions. Plasters are usually coated in white and pastel whereas layers of paint and glaze add visual depth and texture.

Mosaic is one of the finest distinguishing features of Mediterranean architecture. Some of the richest, long-enduring artwork are continuously being preserved. Mosaic tile designs endow color in the kitchen backsplash, floors, furniture, and staircase risers of Mediterranean style houses.

Larry Stewart Custom Home Builders invites you to embrace the new realm of Mediterranean design. We blend in time-honored elements into complex architecture which does not stray from 21st century functionality. We ensure a Mediterranean style home exactly how you hoped it would be, and how you imagined a life of luxury!