Inspired by the farmhouses of Normandy, wine growers’ dwellings, and caretakers’ cottages, the French country-style house is infused with rustic charm. Unlike the off-putting formality of grander manor houses or chateaux, organic simplicity gives these houses a warm, inviting air. Based on medieval precedents, they typically feature hipped roofs, originally thatched, and walls of tinted stucco, rough stone, or half-timbers. Picturesque in their asymmetry, such houses might combine a variety of materials, with stuccoed or timbered wings attached to the stone main house.
Windows of varying sizes, French doors set into arched openings, and occasionally a small tower contribute to the romantic appeal of these homes. While windows might once have been framed with wood or leading, in the 20th century, many French farmhouses acquired the steel-framed windows that are popular today. In lieu of front porches, the houses feature rear loggias with masonry arches or rough-hewn timbers. These semi-enclosed spaces are frequently flanked by kitchens and master bedrooms and are ideal for gathering and dining close to nature. Inside the house, materials like old wood, stone, and terracotta tile floors, reclaimed beams, and paneled walls reinforce this connection to the natural world. Adapted to modern living, the floor plan can accommodate lofty great rooms with open-beamed ceilings, spacious kitchens, and master suites opening to private terraces or loggias.
Authentic, uncomplicated, and earthy, these timeless houses offer a welcome retreat from busy, modern living.