Friday, August 5, 2011

Second Empire Style

The first time we looked at Hazard Ave, the realtor told us that the house's architecture style was "Victorian with a Gothic Revival floor plan".  We weren't exactly sure what he meant by that, but we didn't question him.  To us, it just looked haunted.

I've since learned that our home's mansard roof characterizes it as "Second Empire Victorian" style. According to Wikipedia, Second Empire architecture originated in Paris and became popular in the mid 1800's during the reign of Napoleon III. Under Napoleon, Paris experienced a period of modernization and growth. Many buildings were constructed, or reconstructed (most notably, the Louvre) with mansard roofs.
A building with a mansard roof had its advantages. During its period of popularity, it is said that buildings in Paris were limited to a number of stories as determined by the cornice of the roofline. A building with a steep mansard roof allowed for an additional story of living space to be exempt from this building code (and from being taxed) because it was not considered to be a story.
The Second Empire style spread throughout Europe and eventually the United States, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. Other characteristics of this architectural style include a small entry porch, lots of wrought iron detailing, patterned slate on the roof, and sometimes square towers.

So my apologies, dear readers, as I'm sure this post has bored you to tears,  however understanding the architectural style of our home will help Chris and I to make some important decisions over the course of our home's renovation (as well as just satisfying our curiosity).

Does your home have a distinctive architectural style? If so, have you made any decorative decisions to enhance those features?

(Btw, linking up the bathroom in our old house to Remodelaholic today)
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