Ames Architect Shane Ames, architect Boca Raton, Florida
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One of the most distinctive characteristics of many French buildings is the tall second story windows, often arched at the top, that break through the cornice and rise above the eaves. This unusual window design is especially noticeable on America's French provincial homes. Modeled after country manors in the French provinces, these brick or stucco homes are 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.

Over the past 50 years, architects have borrowed freely from a variety of French details, creating a composite style known as French eclectic, or simply French inspired.

Hallmarks of the French eclectic home include:

Click to enlarge


  • Very tall hipped roof, sometimes
    with a slight upward tilt at the eaves
  • Instead of sliding glass doors, hinged French doors leading to balconies or patios

  • Paired casement windows hinged
    at the side and opening at the center
  • Functioning shutters, often with working louvers

Many homes were embellished with details such as paired columns and elaborate wrought iron cresting along the rooftop. But the most striking feature is the steep, boxy mansard roof, recognizable by its trapezoid shape. Unlike a triangular gable, a mansard roof has almost no slope until the very top, when it abruptly flattens. This nearly perpendicular roofline creates a sense of majesty, and also allows more usable living space in the attic.

Chateau style is used primarily for architect-designed landmark houses. This style is based on monumental 16th century chateaux of France. Steeply pitched roofs; busy roof lines with many vertical elements; multiple dormers are part of characteristics of this style. Steeply pitched hipped roofs are sometimes truncated above a flat roof deck; others rise to high pyramidal apex or hipped ridge. Gables, doorways, windows and other facade elements are commonly ornamented with shallow relief carving. Windows are usually divided by stone mullions into narrow vertical units with smaller transoms above. Windows and doorways may be arched.

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Ames Design International
Established in 1984 in Boca Raton, Florida by our founder and architect Shane Ames, we work on design of luxurious and memorable single family homes, multi-family housing projects and commercial ventures.

We have completed projects in 27 countries throughout the globe, receiving numerous awards and accolades; being published in dozens of periodicals and books.

We offer full services; coordinating all phases of the project from initial design, through construction, to interiors and final completion
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Ames International Architecture
Ames International Architecture
203 Dixie Blvd
Delray Beach, FL 33444
Phone: (561) 274-6444