A Second Empire style house with concave Mansard roof.
The Mansard roof form that turns an Italianate style house into a Second Empire style house comes from France and was typically called a “French roof” during the 19th century – when all things Parisian were in vogue. The Mansard roof form can be an angled straight line or can be curved, either convex or concave.
This house has a concave Mansard roof with a wonderful centered gable over the entry bay that connects the concave curves with a convex curve at the top, sometimes called a “bell-cast” roof form, beautifully framing an arched window in the gable. The segmental arched roofs of the two dormers echo the arched top of the gable and relate to the arched windows hoods on the second story.
Second Empire is one of 25 historic architectural styles described and illustrated in Chapter 2 of Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners. Understanding the style of a house will help you understand which features are character-defining so you can prioritize their preservation.
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