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Design Focus: European Style

European culture is probably best described as a series of overlapping cultures. It is viewed as a cradle for many cultural innovations and movements; priding itself with being a melting pot of vibrancy and life.

This flare is not lost on architectural design styles. With all the regions contributing to the European lifestyle, there’s never been a dull moment in its history. European style incorporates other designs like the Mediterranean and Tudor styles and borrows materials and exterior details that are common to them and their architectural traditions. The variety of the elements that makes a style European, makes it easy to integrate in your existing home. If this is your design style of choice, a few manageable changes can evoke the ambiance of Europe. Even with a new build, or complete renovation, there are so many components to choose from that it’s difficult to get it wrong.

WHAT IS EUROPEAN STYLE?

There is not one singular definition of European style due to multiple influences. The region and its sub-regions have their own unique styles over the centuries. These have cross travelled and constantly influence each other. All over Europe, each country has their own interpretation of what the style looks like.

European homes are inspired by the deep roots of European architecture: Tuscan, Italian, Spanish, English and French. European styles have aesthetics that have evolved over centuries. These designs pull from the best elements of both the traditional and modern worlds. Old-world architecture from Tuscan villas, English manors, French Country chateaux are translated into modern designs. They also incorporate today’s most popular amenities like entertainment ready kitchens, high-tech media rooms and warm family gathering areas.

Ranging in size from simple to sprawling, and offering numerous sub-styles and exterior appearances, European style is found all throughout the regions of the  Canada and the United States. Large or small, the design combines an exquisite blend of comfort and refinement making it popular among home buyers. Its popularity  today comes from the sense of luxury conveyed by multi-peaked rooflines, bay-shaped rooms and windows, and architectural details such as repeating arches, wrought-iron balconies, clay-tile roofs, and decorative stone. The exterior is usually decked out with stucco, stone or brick.

Irrespective of the blend or influence, there are certain attributes that European style homes have in common. These can be transferred to your Canadian home for that luxurious feel.

COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF EUROPEAN DESIGN

If choosing this as your design style, there are elements, whether combined or individually, which specifically evokes the European feel. The appeal is the classic elegance and picturesque detailing, both inside and out.

Exterior: The exteriors of this design style are often very decorated and elegant, with design elements that add tremendous curb appeal to the home’s exterior. It can be impressive with elaborate rooflines, archways and windows. They sometimes have courtyard garage entrances with more than enough drive-up space.  A covered entrance large enough for vehicles to pass through, allowing for passengers to comfortably disengage from their vehicles may also be found on the exterior of European style homes. Organic design materials, like smooth stucco, contrasted by rough brick or stone, are typically found on the exterior walls.

While these designs often have large exteriors, ordinary homeowners can make do with their space once the essence is captured. These homes are meant to be built up, rather than out; typically designed as one-and-a-half or two-story homes. This gives more leeway for adjustments to homes in urban areas where sprawling space is not regularly available. For instance, a typically steep, hipped roofline provides room  which adds space that is not easily noticed from the exterior. This additional space could be a simple bonus room or a full second story. If total renovation is not your plan, there’s plenty of opportunity to feature interesting gables, decorative and grand facades as well as large, comfortable floor plans.

Interior: No matter the influence, European home style adds aesthetically pleasing details to any home. Textured walls, interior archways and high ceilings are featured in many European homes. Grand foyers with sweeping staircases, elegant formal rooms such as libraries offer luxury frequently associated with the European design style.  Although many are grand, smaller European style homes can offer many of the same extraordinary design elements.

Their arched doors and huge windows makes the interior of the house airy. The high ceilings typical of these designs gives the living area a extra spacious look and feel. Families with kids find European style homes more preferable because they tend to be larger with more rooms. The children don’t have to share bedrooms in addition to copious amounts of storage space. Fireplaces and inner courtyards adds to the style’s luxurious living.

European design styles broadly draw from a wide variety of styles and principles throughout the European continent and surrounding Mediterranean Sea. But no matter the regional influence, the style features majestic exteriors and stunning interior architecture. This is widely influenced by the old world charm and character while simultaneously offering modern conveniences and amenities. No matter the size, they all deliver a comfortable blend of elegance and refinement homeowner’s desire.

EUROPEAN STYLE IN CANADA

European architecture is widely found throughout all regions of Canada, and North America in general. From an English cottage to a Tudor home, a Mediterranean to a French-inspired country home, European styles can be adapted to every region in North America. In Canada, you’ll typically find these homes on spacious lots and in country areas with some acreage.

EUROPEAN STYLE IN YOUR CANADIAN HOME

Thankfully, with technology and evolution, whichever European style fascinates you, it’s within your grasp. Because it incorporates elements from so many other design styles, recreating the aesthetic in your own home is not as daunting as it might seem.

Choose from contemporary materials like manufactured Cultured Stone®, or natural ThinCut™, to get the built-of-stone exterior appearance. For the interior, stone veneers give the fireplace that old world feel. Add furniture designed for a traditional antique look and a splash of rich ornamental detailing to complete your European design style home.

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