French style home design and architecture are among some of the loveliest in the world. The history of French design is one of elegant charm and simple sophistication. The charm of French architecture remains a popular choice for its artistic style and flare. The romance and allure of this unique design style is at once distinguished and stately.

The romanticized style was introduced when post World War I veterans returned to the United States and Canada. These men started building homes reminiscent of the elegant homes they’d seen in France during their service to our country. They added French-inspired details, ornamental elements, and sophisticated color schemes borrowed from those French homes.

The unique color palettes of French homes also add a feel, almost a mood, to the brilliance of their design aspect. Exteriors are designed to blend into the natural splendor of its surroundings. French country homes rely on the beauty and grandeur of nature to color the exteriors of their homes. These exquisite homes use primarily lighter, neutral colors as a canvas for deep-colored shutters and window frames. Windows might boast French style shades in colors that trend toward warm reds, rich, but muted yellows, and similar hues that soothe and relax. Shades like mustard, burnt orange, muted blues, and subdued greens are common.

The interiors of these handsome homes trend toward softer shades such as pale yellows, calming blues, eggshell whites, and soothing taupe. In keeping with their distinguished presence, French style home design creates an atmosphere of peacefulness and tranquility. In addition to a distinct color palette, French inspired homes have many additional and distinctive design features that set them apart from the average home.

6 Distinctive Features of French Style Home DesignMirador-our-services, river oaks patio, french style patio

The architectural hallmarks of French style home design include signature design features. These French home styles work together to create a distinctively handsome home.

  1. Flared Eaves extend beyond the side and wall of the roof’s edge in a gradually tapering slope. A roof with this French inspired architectural element flares outward near its lowest point. This French style home design provides protection while it provides visual appeal.
  2. Red Clay Tile Roof Dormers, sometimes called lucarne, these beautiful dormers protrude from the main covering of the house and create a secondary small roof. Slightly similar in appearance to a tall skylight, it increases the interior flow of natural light and adds additional ventilation.
  3. Symmetrical Facade is used in French architecture that often uses stucco, brick, smooth plaster, or stone to create a stunning facade on a home’s front. Adding curb appeal and stateliness, this technique reflects the aesthetic ideal of equally balanced and proportioned design components.
  4. High-Pitched Hipped Roof is displayed beautifully. This French home style creates a cohesiveness in the home’s exterior. A high-pitched, hipped roof slopes evenly toward the eaves on all four sides of the house. Homes that are a perfect square usually come to a point, like a pyramid, at the peak of the roof. On rectangular homes, this roof style forms a ridge.
  5. Ornate Doors and Windows are distinctive French style. From copper-topped bay windows to arches to window lintels, these characteristics add a decidedly French flair to a home’s exterior. Tall, slender windows with decorative shutters, arches, and rounded openings are indicative of the ornate windows and doors favored in French home styles.
  6. The Entryway is an important feature. Popular during the Renaissance, Porte cocheres, a type of passageway, allow entry to a courtyard or driveway. Modern French home styles typically integrate this architectural design feature into decorative, entryways with rounded towers in a Tudor style.

While blueprints and layouts vary from home to home, homes inspired by French architecture largely feature these distinctive characteristics. Additionally, French homes feature large chimneys that slope at their base. They might also exhibit design elements typical of Medieval English design. Some of those elements include quoins – characteristic angles of a wall – and turrets. Many of these homes have wrought-iron balconies on upper levels. On a home’s first level, builders might add a garage, hearth, or even a whimsical guest cottage. Another attribute of French style home design is that it doesn’t demand a vast amount of land to achieve its stately look and feel. French architecture is equally effective and graceful whether the home is stately and expansive like a mansion, or diminutive, cozy, and quaint like a cottage.

Customizable Variations In French Home StylesFrench-Normandy-Custom-Afton-Oaks, Mirador french style

At the end of World War I, American homes used the 19th century building boom to pay homage to their allies in France. Because France was a kingdom of many and varied provinces, it boasts a variety of architectural styles. Just as the entryways discussed above reflect a Tudor style, villages and hamlets in France each reflect their own differing styles of homes. Some of those styles include:

  • French Eclectic Style: reflected in rural areas
  • French Normandy: rural style of architecture with asymmetrical features
  • French Provincial Style: indicative of provincial homes
  • Neo-French Neo-Eclectic Homes: displayed in residential areas
  • Chateauesque Homes: with the look and feel of a castle

French architecture is a beautiful blend of pastoral and polished. It’s equally resplendent whether displayed in country charm and enhanced with modern appeal. Cultures all over the world admire many aspects of French life. French cuisine, wine, art, and fashion are second only to our love for the handsomeness of French architecture and home design.

When we say custom, we mean it. No two families are alike, and no two homes should be exactly alike. Let the beauty and majesty of French architecture influence the one-of-a-kind home we design and build for you. At Mirador Builders, we understand the importance of building custom houses that become unique homes. Contact us today to view and discuss the design elements we can bring to your next custom home. We effortlessly bring the charismatic enchantment of the French home building style to the River Oaks and West University communities. When you’re ready to bring the sophistication of French architecture to the custom, luxury home of your dreams, contact us. Or if you would like to see our work, view our outstanding portfolio of custom Houston homes.