Our French Inspired Home: French Style Home Design: Exterior Materials

Chastity Fabry

I want to briefly touch on the subject of exterior
construction materials for a French style home. I bring this up because my wife
and I were sitting out on the patio of a local restaurant this weekend when we
noticed how much we liked the brick and stone combination on the outside of the
building. This again brought up the conversation of what material(s) we plan to
use on our home.

Originally we planned to use stucco, a common material used in French style
homes. Our problem has been identifying a local craftsman that is skilled in
applying this material properly. It also appears that none of the builders in
our area have faith in the material itself. Indiana has very mild winters in
comparison to other areas of the country, with average temperatures ranging in
the mid to low 30’s. Because we hover right at freezing, we go through many
freeze / thaw cycles, which we are told long term is not good for stucco.

The material recommended as a substitute is Dryvit, a “synthetic”
stucco if you will. Unfortunately we do not have faith in the material or
process. For those of you who are not familiar, Dryvit is essentially a thick
piece of insulation that is covered with a thin coat of stucco-like material.
It eliminates several steps used in traditional stucco and minimizes the risk
of wear over time.

So we turn now to brick and stone. There appears to be no end to the
combinations that brick masons can perform. There are so many patterns and types
that it can leave one overwhelmed of which to choose while also making them afraid
that the wrong decision was made.

Our goal is to create a home with old world French charm. A home that looks
one or two hundred years old and makes you smile when you pull up the driveway
each evening. So here are a few samples of old world style brick and stone,
with one stucco just in case we change our minds the next time we eat dinner
outside.

This old world style stone was found at HGTV. We love the variation is both size and color of the stone. Brick was used as an accent above and below the window to break up the solid stone wall.

Is this entry just not great? Limestone was used under the windows, while the stone was arched above several of the doorways and windows.

We really enjoy this brick size and color.  To break it up a little, there was a soilders row placed at the top, and bricks were turn on end around the window.

It adds so much character when the bricks are uneven. (Great lanterns too!)

This image comes from decorpad.com.  I am sure many of you have seen it before, but I just had to add it also.  It is a great example of a Gascony style home also using stone.

We took this picture while touring a home a few weeks ago.  It has a great stucco exterior with a rough finish.  I can look at this image and just picture the mason swaying his arm as the finish was applied.

Taken by my wife at the restaurant

We welcome your comments on using the materials discussed in todays post. Also, please join our blog so that you can follow along as we build our French inspired home.

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FSU Department of Interior Architecture and Design

About The Department of Interior Architecture and Design, housed in the College of Fine Arts, encompasses a CIDA accredited undergraduate curriculum and a one-year master of science (M.S.) degree or a 2-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree.  Students are exposed to design theory, history, technical skills, and participate in studio […]