A Second Empire style house on a Maine island. 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. Examples of the Second Empire style ranging from small wood-framed examples like this to impressive masonry mansions can be found in many states.
Without the Mansard roof, these houses would be Italianate in style. All their other features are shared with that style. The roof form is what distinguishes the Second Empire style and defines it.
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.
The 720 page award-winning and best-selling hardcover book is available in bookstores and from online retailers.
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