Second Empire with matching carriage house. This Second Empire style house in Dexter, Maine has a lot of presence for a relatively small house.
The defining feature of a Second Empire style building is the Mansard roof, named for 17th century French Baroque architect François Mansart. It was first used for an addition to the Louvre palace in Paris c. 1550. It became fashionable again during the Second French Empire (1852–1870), which corresponded with the middle Victorian era in the English-speaking world.
Typically called a French roof in the U.S. during the mid-19th century, a period when all things French (including the language) were “en vogue” for fashionable middle- and upper-class Americans. From the eave line down, Second Empire buildings are essentially Italianate in style, but their roof gives them a different identity. The little Mansard “cap” at the top of the roof on this house is particularly fabulous. The matching carriage house is wonderful too.
Second Empire style is one of 25 styles illustrated and described in Chapter 2 of “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.”
Signed and personalized copies of the award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book are available from the author in our shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.
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