Brilliantly combining rustic and refined, country French-style homes never forget the past even while charging into the future. Find inspiration for adding a bit of country French to your home.
Encased with a mix of stone and stucco and sporting a steep mansard roofline and charming shutters, this rambling chateau speaks loudly of the country French homes that inspired it. But an inviting porch nods to classic American ranch homes, proving that you can successfully marry architectural influences to achieve your own perfect translation.
Although built in the 21st century, this home looks as authentic as the 18th-century European manor house it was modeled after. Built in the courtyard vernacular, the home, like many others in the French countryside, contains a large square gravel forecourt. Its warm, honey-hue limestone ranges from white to caramel in color; a mixture of smooth and rough-cut pieces were used to create a traditional look. Rustic details, such as a simple portico and wrought-iron flourishes, add impeccable old-world panache.
A tonnelle, or pergola, attached to the side of a stone facade provides the perfect venue for casual alfresco dining and relaxing sans sun overhead. Made of black hammered iron and topped with a bamboo roof, this tonnelle exudes French Provincial flavor thanks to its pairing with French doors framed by blue-gray shutters. Climbing vines trained onto arched iron support poles further soften the view. A pea-gravel patio lends authentic “crunch” underfoot.
A harmonious mix of architectural details inspired by travels within France gives this home its distinctive look. Wrapped in stucco and topped by tiles salvaged from a farm in Bordeaux, the home welcomes visitors with delphinium-blue shutters and doors, and wrought-iron balconies hung with potted geraniums.
It's clear to guests long before they pass through the circa-1670 stone front door surround that this Southern California home speaks fluent French. The grounds are overflowing with espaliered apple trees, olive groves, and drifts of lavender, and the exterior's low and rambling roofline is capped with 100-year-old red clay tiles. The gate and finials are 18th-century French antiques, but the French limestone pillars are new.
This new home is roofed with 100-year-old slate and designed without gutters, soffits, or moldings for a more historically accurate French cottage appearance. Leaded-glass windows with beveled, diagonal panes to the left of the front door flood the interior entry with twinkling light. The quintessentially French rounded front door features its own bit of sparkle—a custom-designed and hand-cast bronze doorknob. Cement-color stucco walls and hand-carved wood shutters complete the look.
From its graceful peaked dormer to its crushed aggregate forecourt, this gracious home exemplifies a classic chateau exterior, which makes it all the more remarkable that the same house once boasted a midcentury modern facade. Its once half-brick, half-wood siding was resurfaced with stucco to provide a clean backdrop for French-blue shutters, stone lintels, and a magnificent stone door surround. A fanciful wrought-iron balcony, which was modeled after a building in rural France, serves as the home’s crowning glory.
The exterior of this home was fashioned from plaster mixed with pale sienna pigment, while the roof tiles, made by hand and shaped over the craftsman's thigh, were placed in the same angular way they are in France. They were left unglazed to allow moss to grow—another detail that adds to the overall pastoral look. The main house, guest cottage, and garage are all clustered around a courtyard and garden.
Categorized as a muted terra-cotta or burnt peach, this home’s exterior color changes with the sun and the rain, much as a Provencal sunset would. The color was chosen to give the petite chateau a gentle patina to disguise its newness. Traditional French architectural hallmarks, such as a stucco exterior, tall arched windows, and a Juliet balcony further the been-around-for-forever illusion.
Located in California, this home could easily be mistaken for one situated in the French countryside. Like a typical French house, it exudes village warmth without giving up any city sophistication. Surrounded with plants and edged in rocks, the pool takes on the look of a free-form pond. A stately cypress tree introduces quintessential European charm.
Once a vaguely Italianate ranch, this home underwent dramatic renovations to become the gracious French manor it is today. Texas limestone surrounds the entrance, while soft green antique double doors welcome guests. The home boasts a bevy of country French features, such as a dovecote tower, old French balusters, zinc oeil-de-boeuf dormers, and a mansard-style roof.
The goal of capturing maximum light guided the design of this home inside and out. On the front of the house, tall, shuttered windows with 20 and 24 panes recall French doors. A majestic pecan tree and leafy pergola filter the light and soften high-summer harshness.
A forecourt of large-pebble chert and a zigzag of stepping stones lead guests to the charming facade of this Mediterranean-style house. Lush vines climb up the stucco walls, and upstairs window boxes brim with geraniums and petunias. The red brick accents pleasantly contrast with the home’s honey-drenched walls and mossy-color shutters, imbuing the exterior with an old-world ambience.
Exuding French formality with its symmetrically placed windows, the facade boasts a limestone front-door surround found at a salvage market in a remote corner of Provence.
A hipped roof, a stone-covered turret, iron balconies, and a tall brick chimney set the tone for this country French-style home. The exterior boasts a specially textured and mottled cast stone that mimics the look of sienna limestone.
Fitted with iron railings, this home’s shutter-flanked windows pay homage to the charming balconies found in many French apartment buildings. Round windows from a French chateau and a late-1800s bluestone door surround, treated with a slush-and-brush technique to mimic repaired stone, help instill the distinguished character of a century-old villa in the new home.
Built in Federal style in the 19th century, this early American home was heavily influenced by French architecture. The home boasts French blue shutters, tall windows capped with window lintels, and cozy dormers on its uppermost level.
Stone is cleverly used as an accent to add distinction to this home’s interesting architectural features. A large chimney, turret, front patio, and foundation all pop thanks to a medley of warm stonework. Romantic arched windows, French doors, and shutters carry out the home’s French-inspired theme, lending this home a patina well beyond its true years.
Built in the 1920s, this home formerly served as a carriage house, stable, caretakers' quarters, and greenhouse. The residence required a total redo before it could be called "home." A brick courtyard in front of the house and a bluestone terrace in back completed the transfiguration and hint of the rustic pleasures of Provence.