Tuscan Homes – Defining The Style
Tuscany in Italy, with its rolling hills, incredible cuisine and a deep sense of history is one of the most romantic places on Earth. It is famous also for its unique architecture which, through the use of natural stone allows homes to blend in with the surrounding countryside. This style of home has now become increasingly popular in the United States, especially in the California region, where it has been modernized, while still retaining its Mediterranean charm.
A Brief History.
It is widely believed that the Tuscan style of architecture is heavily influenced by the Greek, however, whereas the Greek architecture relied exclusively on stone, the Tuscan style featured wooden frames with facades made from local stones such as limestone, travertine and sandstone. The roofing used terracotta clay and stucco featured heavily. All these elements can be found in Tuscan-style homes in the U.S. – albeit using locally available materials.
Essential Elements – Exterior.
Many of the Tuscan style homes outside of Italy have transposed some of the most essential elements of the architectural style into a New World setting, these include;
Thick stone accented exterior walls. These keep the interior of the home cool during hot summer days – making it a perfect design element for use in the hot climate such as that found in California. The use of marble as lintel material over doorways, windows and other features is common.
One of the standout features of any Tuscan style home must of course be the roof. It is still typically constructed of terracotta tiles. The same tiling style is also commonly used as a flooring solution. Terracotta is widely used in warmer climates across the world – it is easy to make and contributes again to keeping the interior of the home cool during hot summer months. It also contributes significantly to allowing the home to blend into the natural surroundings due to its earthy tones.
Tuscan architecture also makes extensive use of open-air living spaces. This again allows the occupants to enjoy the warmer weather. Today that is reflected in the widespread use of patios and even interior courtyards.
Another feature is the extensive use of wrought iron features. These may be functional when the material is used for gates and door accents, however, wrought iron is also used for decorative pieces such as garden features and wall-mounted decoration.
Essential Elements – Interior.
Tuscan architecture makes extensive use of stucco or plaster for interior walls. This approach continues in the homes found in North America. The color is often white – which is traditional and contributes to the cool of the interior spaces during the day while releasing warmth during the nights.
Textured or paneled ceilings are also common, with exposed beams lending an air of rural simplicity to both bedrooms and shared spaces.
Flooring often features mosaic work in addition to (or replacing) the traditional terracotta tiling. In the United States, hardwood flooring has become an increasingly popular choice.
Tuscan-style homes remain a popular choice. The timelessness and elegant simplicity of the architecture. The increasing number of residential developments that feature architectural elements that have their origins in Tuscany would indicate that this popularity (especially in California, in particular, the Palm Springs area) will only grow in the future.
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