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European Style Timber Frame Homes

Posted on Aug 31, 2017
european style home rendering

Throughout the years, television and movies have romanticized the look of European style architecture. The style first became popular in North America in the 1920s and 1930s, and remains a mainstream motif for new homes, including timber frame homes, today.

History of European Style Architecture

After World War I, soldiers stationed in Europe returned and began building homes resembling the countryside manors they saw.

harold lloyd estate green acres
Harold Lloyd Estate, “Green Acres”, Beverly Hills, California, was built in 1929

What became known in North America as French Country or European Style architecture is actually a blend of rural home styles from many different countries and, of course, several provinces in France. Thus, styles range from formal to rustic; however, most homes today feature aspects from both ends of the spectrum. This means they incorporate not only the stately Provincial elements, but also the warmer country ones. It’s an undeniably appealing combination.

On the formal end of the European Style is Provincial architecture. French nobles built the historic Provincial homes in the 1600’s under the reign of Louis XVI. The strong lines of these stately chateaus make quite an impression, rising in bold contrast to the French landscape. Typically, the homes are two stories, have a square footprint, and display symmetrical details on the front elevation. Dormer windows, often arched, that rise out of the second story roof line are also a distinguishing hallmark.

example of provincial style architecture
Le Château de Champs-sur-Marne, a lovely representation of European style Provincial architecture, photographed by besopha

The warmer, more rustic, side of European Style architecture hails from the countryside. Here, rural denizens honed the beauty of informal living. As a result, these charming half-timbered homes are reminiscent of storybook cottages. To this day, traditional homes in the countryside are known for their towers which were originally grain silos attached to the main living quarters. For example, while the homes of France’s Normandy use arched windows, much like those in Provincial homes, their front elevation is often asymmetrical.

Defining European Style Architecture

european style timber home by riverbend
The Foxwood European style design concept by Riverbend combines Provincial elegance with a countryside welcome

Riverbend’s modern European style combines Provincial, Normandy and architectural characteristics from other European rural areas. This architectural style is flexible in creating both dramatic and charming homes. Additionally, these homes are instantly recognizable using just a few of the style’s defining characteristics:

  • Hipped roof shape, where all sides of the roof slope down to meet the walls
  • Steep roof with varied height rooflines
  • Exterior timber details, interior wood beams, or exposed timber structure
  • Use of curves in architectural details, including dormers, doorways, and timber trusses
  • Brick, stone, stucco exteriors, often mixed together
  • Curved windows, small windows, and window shutters

European Style Timber Frame Homes Today

timber frame home european style
Combining European style architecture with timber framing is a centuries-long tradition

Since timber framing has been a traditional building method of building in France since the 1400s, it is fitting to pair timber framing with European Style architecture. Both the elegance and the rustic warmth of these homes is achieved with timber framing.

Over the years, Riverbend has been involved in helping many clients create their European style timber frame dream homes. This is why we have so many of them to inspire you. For example, browse an expansive, (8,000 square foot!), European style Wisconsin home here. Then, see a lovely Calgary home, inspired by our Tuscany design concept, here. Lastly, enjoy an astonishing Kentucky European style home here.

Ready to begin planning your dream home? Select your country.

Photo credits

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Harold Lloyd Estate, “Green Acres”, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Historic American Buildings Survey; HABS CAL,19-BEVHI,2-1; http://loc.gov/pictures/item/ca0198/

Photograph of Le Château de Champs-sur-Marne by besopha [CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ch%C3%A2teau_de_Champs-sur-Marne_01.jpg


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