March 29, 2012

Faux Chateaux {Or Some Great Houses!}

While I was out taking the pictures for the Mies van der Rohe post the other day, I took some time to drive through one of Baltimore’s prettiest neighbourhoods and take some pictures of houses that caught my eye. But before I could start shooting, and this being Baltimore, aka Small-timore, I ran into my friend Tracey!I am pretty sure she’s saying “Get outta here and put that damn camera away!”.  Or not.

One of the things I noticed about this area is the preponderance of houses that were built to mimic French chateaux. This area is about to celebrate its 100th birthday next year, so these houses are beautifully crafted, with details that make them special. If you compare and contrast a house built in 1912 and a similar one built today, the new ones just look flat. The details on this front entrance are gorgeous… the ironwork on the canopy, the grill over the small window, the dentil work on the canopy, the windows on the door… So many elements that just give it a charming look.

More than anything, it’s the colours in this house that evoke France to me. The stucco, the blue shutters, the French balcony above the front door, the lantern hung with an iron rod, the slate roof and the iron-work all combine to say France!faux chateaux1 (26)And again, the decorative grills over the window.

This house fits the classic French country  model: Brick or stucco, stately and formal. They have steep hipped roofs and a square, symmetrical shape with windows balanced on each side of the entrance. The tall second story windows add to the sense of height.

Instead of the grilled windows like the other two houses, this one appears to have louvered shutters. I like the little brick wall and the boxwood in front of this house.

Another French look is from the Normandy region, and these houses are sided with brick or stone, have Tudor-influenced details, and sometimes have a tower with a cone-shaped roof. This house ticks those boxes, although I always think that this house might be dark inside because of the size and lack of windows. I also think that this house needs more foundation plantings to soften it a bit.Here’s another house with a central tower with a cone-shaped roof. Both houses have a distinctive oeil de boeuf window. I have a suspicion that they were designed by the same architect.

This house is similar, but the tower is a bit more flattened, and the roof isn’t exactly conical, but it retains the profile. I like that you can see through to the other side of the house via the French windows on the right, and also in the windows above them.

I hope you enjoyed our little trip to France via the houses of Baltimore. Next, we’ll visit the English countryside in Baltimore. Stay tuned.


  1. Marcia@(GraciousInteriors)March 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Lovely! I especially like the last stone one.

  2. Oh, I love these little house tours! Just stay clear of fighters of the house paparazzi....
    Can't wait to see more!
    I am like you, seeking out great places to watch!
    Up here in my neighborhood is such a mixed bag, small colonials, ugly split levels, plenty of wanna be French chateaux, Cotswald manors and a few minors.....
    Nouveau riche mansions of questionable breeding altogether....And here and there an architectural gem!!!
    Happy Friday!

  3. really interesting post-I realize there's so much I don't know about architecture.

  4. I really enjoyed these. You are so right. Craftmanship and details are just not there today. Or, if they are, they are in the form of "Vaulted or trayed" ceilings or things that evoke more glitz and ubiquity than workmanship. Like your farmhouse, some individuality goes an awful long way. Thanks for shooting all of these. I think that oen with the big flat front tower needs a giant pink heart - hahaha!

    xoxo Pink

  5. Beautiful houses. Roland Park? Guilford? I really enjoy your blog! Thanks again --

    David in Raleigh

  6. These homes are gorgeous Meg. The details make all the difference.

    Art by Karena

  7. Loved going on this tour. Grand post.

  8. Do you ever read Tara Dillard? She's a landscape designer who has opened my eyes to many things. She's one of those people who is right on some many things that, when I disagree with one of her precepts, I think I must be the one who's wrong.

    Anyway, she has a thing against foundation plantings. I'm trying to see it her way, but I have trouble getting used to the idea of the lawn going all the way up to the walls of the house. But again, I feel like my eye must be in need of re-education there.

    Anyway, you should read her sometime.

  9. Who knew there were such lovely homes in Baltimore? All I know of Baltimore is what I've seen at the Welcome Center on I-95, on my way up to Jersey to visit my sister! That's the bad thing about the interstate highways -- you drive through the country without seeing a damned thing.

  10. Mad for the brick house with round window. And I'm betting plenty of windows and light on the other side. An architect who can compose that well isn't going to skimp. Privacy on the street side, small windows for privacy in powder rooms, etc.

    Can't wait for the trip to England

  11. Another reason to keep Baltimore on my list of cities to visit. These houses are gorgeous!

  12. Love having such a stylish blog in my own hometown! When I tell people I am from Baltimore, and they say they watch The Wire, I am sending them to Pigtown Design!

  13. Absolutely gorgeous! Wow.. Lucky you to be so close to such beauty!
    Oh, and did you win the lottery? Someone in Baltimore did - they bought one single ticket!

  14. You've got some Palmer & Lamdin houses here. I love those houses so much (as you know)! Here's the article I wrote on them for Style mag:

  15. I always loved driving through the old area of town. In our town, it is called "The Carriage District". I have lived here now for the last 7 years with my daughter. We will be moving to the country soon. I will miss my neighborhood but look forward to making a Country French home with my new husband. I enjoyed looking at these homes. Thank you for the post.


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