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French Country Architecture

Chateau de Gilly, Gilly-les-Citeaux, France Photo by Matt Lamers on Unsplash

Chateau de Gilly, Gilly-les-Citeaux, France Photo by Matt Lamers on Unsplash

French Country homes blend elegance and grace with rustic warmth and comfort. This architectural style comes from the rural, rolling hills of the French countryside, and effortlessly blends the Old World grandeur of a château with the modesty and ease of a farmhouse. French Country homes often include soft lines, curved arches, and hearty stonework, both inside and out. True provincial estates often developed over time, with additions and expansions constructed as necessary, leading to an asymmetrical shape and an eclectic yet elegant approach to decor that feels comfortable and sincere.

A focus on a gourmet kitchen and an ambling lavender or herb garden is more than appropriate here, as this style of home invites you to slow down and savor. Smooth plaster walls, exposed rafters and wood beams, and tall arched windows with shutters are common in French Country homes, along with cream painted distressed furniture and wall treatments, as this style is all about feeling perfectly worn in. Floors can be patterned terra-cotta tiles or signature wood parquet or chevron, and deep-set fireplaces with limestone mantels anchor living spaces. Lighter colored stone or stucco is traditional for the exterior, with tile roofs and palettes drawn from nature. This style of home exudes effortless warmth for generations to come, with a feel that is both refined and rustic.

French Country style features:   - Prominent, sloping, barrel-tile roofs    - Interior rooms feature high ceilings and symmetrical design    - Muted color palettes drawn from nature    - Stone or wood floors and deep fireplaces with oversized limestone mantels    - Asymmetrical shape and horizontal emphasis, well-suited to a larger acreage    - Crushed limestone paths or driveways and exterior fountains    - Shabby chic interiors and a sense of time-worn warmth

French Country style features:

- Prominent, sloping, barrel-tile roofs

- Interior rooms feature high ceilings and symmetrical design

- Muted color palettes drawn from nature

- Stone or wood floors and deep fireplaces with oversized limestone mantels

- Asymmetrical shape and horizontal emphasis, well-suited to a larger acreage

- Crushed limestone paths or driveways and exterior fountains

- Shabby chic interiors and a sense of time-worn warmth

Which Architectural Home Style is Best for You?

There’s plenty to think about when designing your home—location, how many levels, square footage, materials—but one of the most fun can be choosing an architectural style (or combination of styles) that speaks to you.

Architectural Style Rocky Mountain Plan Company

You’ve probably had a vision of what your dream home would look like since you were a child. Did it have soaring ceilings with timber trusses? A wraparound porch with rocking chairs? Expansive windows and clean lines? Turrets and balconies? Architecture can and should affect us on an emotional level, and it’s worth it to take your time and find out what design elements bring you joy and fit your lifestyle and priorities. 

In the past, residential architecture followed regional and historical trends for the most part, but homeowners today can more freely blend and combine styles for a custom fit. When planning your own home, Pinterest and Houzz can be great resources to start gathering images and ideas you like in order to find a style or a blend that is uniquely you.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be taking a deeper look at the history of some of the most popular residential styles in America, including the details and hallmarks that gave each it’s signature charm and appeal. We hope you’ll join us!

Also, keep in mind that the talented team of home designers and drafters at Rocky Mountain Plan Company can take any of our floor plans and come up with a re-designed exterior to suit your preferred architectural style. Get in touch if you would like to discuss changes to any plan.

Want more architectural style ideas? Follow Rocky Mountain Plan Company on Pinterest and Houzz.

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2018 AIBD Award Winners

We’re filled with energy and excitement after coming back from the American Institute of Building Design’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia last week! Not only are the AIBD conferences a wonderful time to connect with colleagues and gain fresh inspiration, but two of our founding members of Rocky Mountain Plan Company also received awards for their work.

Bernie Kern Wins the 2018 Designer of the Year Award

Bernie Kern of BBKern DESIGNS won the prestigious Designer of the Year Award, an honor presented by AIBD to the member who has made the most outstanding contribution to the Institute in the past year. Bernie has been a leader in design and forward thinking for many years now, and he launched the AIBD High-Performance Homes Team in 2012, a committee that focuses on providing resources and education about building energy efficient, comfortable, and environmentally safe homes to designers, builders, and consumers. This work led him to take on a prominent role at the 2017 and 2018 International Builder Show.

In the High-Performance Building Zone at the Builder Show, Bernie and his team designed and created a Tiny House Lab, emphasizing innovation in energy efficient materials and high-performing wall and roof framing configurations. Bernie also made himself available to college students during the 2018 Design and Build Day conferences at Weber State University and the University of Central Missouri, resulting in unprecedented national recognition for AIBD to thousands of professionals and students. 

You can read more about Bernie's work with the High-Performance Homes Team as well as find out about other AIBD Conferences and ARDA winners in the latest AIBD Magazine.


LGA Studios Wins for Best Conceptual Design

The American Residential Design Awards (ARDA) is the AIBD’s premier award program exhibiting design excellence in the residential building industry. It spotlights the most creative and innovative residential designers, builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers in the nation and recognizes exceptional design.

LGA Studios won an ARDA for Best Conceptual Design for their work on a Modern Prairie style home, shown below. 

This home was designed for a close-knit active family. Between morning hockey practices, dance lessons, and gymnastics, these clients are always on the move, and they needed a home that fits their lifestyle and allowed them to make the most of their time together.

The site is located above an exclusive golf community, and this home backs up to the course. It’s one of only a handful of sites where the existing mature pine trees act as a privacy shield, enhancing the surroundings of this home by providing lovely forest views. The natural setting nestled amongst the trees really allows the outdoor living spaces to shine—which was important to our clients—and this home features several courtyards and an expansive deck, providing space both for entertaining as well as play.

Entering through a nestled and naturally landscaped courtyard allows guests their first glimpse into the uniqueness of this home, and an open floor plan invites family and friends to gather in the gourmet kitchen or relax by the fire in the great room.

A modern and open staircase helps to connect yet buffer the family spaces from the living areas while providing a view of the golf course greenscape beyond. This space also provides a display area for the owners’ art collection. The sprawling master suite and three additional bedrooms plus a study loft are ideal for the family to have privacy and retreat space, and the lower level provides plenty of space for a media center and fun and games.

This home has room to spread out and relax, using Prairie and Modern architectural touches to provide the perfect landing pad for this active family, and an ideal blend of indoor and outdoor living spaces.


Congratulations Bernie Kern and LGA Studios!

Featured Plan of the Month - Luna Lake

Luna Lake
5.00

LUNA LAKE MINI STUDY SET

  • 5260 Square Feet
  • Ranch Plan
  • Foot Print: 137’ x 90’ 
  • Main Level: 5260 Square Feet
  • 4 bedrooms · 4.5 bathrooms

LUNA LAKE WAS DESIGNED BY DEL DOTY DESIGNS

Please note that the square footage for a ranch plan reflects the main level only. Square footage for a two story plan reflects the main and upper levels only. Lower level square footage is considered optional.

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We've been writing this month about the health and happiness benefits that come from choosing a home with some degree of outdoor living space, so we've selected Luna Lake as September's Featured Plan of the Month! Please enjoy this Mini Study Set, yours free to download for this month only.

Luna Lake is a true high-roller estate, enveloping your family in comfort and luxury, and entertaining your guests with flash and substance. Luna Lake would be right at home in the Sun Belt, with its beautiful Spanish architectural style and glamorous outdoor living space, including a large covered patio for entertaining with evening cocktails, and a crystal clear pool for cooling off from the desert heat.

Don't miss out on future deals and Featured Plans from Rocky Mountain Plan Company! Join our monthly newsletter to have great homes like this one delivered right to your inbox: http://eepurl.com/GCtfv

The Enduring Appeal of Courtyards

A courtyard, simply stated, is a fully or partially enclosed area that is open to the sky. Courtyards have a long architectural history, with examples found as far back as 6400 BCE in the Jordan Valley, and the reasons for their enduring appeal are obvious. Courtyard homes satisfy the human needs for security and retreat while bringing the restorative power of nature to your daily life in a soothing, intimate manner.

 Dating back many thousands of years, the original purpose for courtyards seems to be as a cooking area, allowing for both privacy through containment behind walls and for smoke to escape from cooking over open flame. As is still true today with modern kitchens, this made the cooking area a gathering space for friends and family from the very beginning. 

By the time of the ancient Romans, courtyards were often used to entertain, still through shared meals, but now with hosted parties and traveling musicians. This ultimately led to the notion of what we think of as a royal “court” a term that takes its most basic meaning from the trusted friends and allies who would gather in a royal courtyard.

The Courtyard of the Maidens at the Alcázar of Seville  By Cat from Sevilla, Spain - Patio de las Doncellas, CC BY 2.0

The Courtyard of the Maidens at the Alcázar of Seville

By Cat from Sevilla, Spain - Patio de las Doncellas, CC BY 2.0

The sprawling, sumptuous courtyards of royalty and the elite are bound to impress any visitor, but courtyards can provide just as much peace and calm on a much smaller, more personal scale when designed as a central feature of your home.

The Courtyard of Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is the heart and soul of the museum, showing off everything Isabella loved most and conveying her aesthetic in a harmonious, light-filled space. It is at the center of the museum, visible from nearly every gallery space, and features an ancient Roman sculpture garden, a medieval European cloister, and a Renaissance Venetian canal-scape along with a stunning garden filled with flowers that change to reflect the season.

The Courtyard of Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is the heart and soul of the museum, showing off everything Isabella loved most and conveying her aesthetic in a harmonious, light-filled space. It is at the center of the museum, visible from nearly every gallery space, and features an ancient Roman sculpture garden, a medieval European cloister, and a Renaissance Venetian canal-scape along with a stunning garden filled with flowers that change to reflect the season.

Courtyards are a lovely way to bring a shared sense of serenity to your home, particularly because the walls and windows of many rooms form its enclosure. That means, for example, that you will be able to enjoy your sun filled sanctuary as a view from your office, your bedroom, and your family room, allowing you to enjoy nature and the changing seasons in your daily life.

Courtyards are a particularly common feature in Italian, Spanish, French, and Moroccan style homes, given the fact that outdoor living spaces have always been prevalent in temperate climates like the Mediterranean region, but they are just as lovely in more wintry environments as well. There are few things in life more serene than snow falling gently on an enclosed Zen garden.

Truly, the beautiful thing about courtyards and all outdoor living spaces is how they can be customized to your preferred style and scale. To see what this looks like on a floor plan, check out our petite Douglas Fir, or take a look at Cottonwood Lake’s contemporary ease. You may connect with the Tuscan warmth of Yampa River, Castle Lake’s French Country charm, or prefer the larger scale of Flint Lake with its dual courtyards.

We’re in the process of updating our website right now and adding our full collection of plans, but you can still see our extensive offerings here or browse through the pages of The Complete Home Collection, available on Amazon