French Normandy Houses in Hollywood Hills: an Architectural Overview
There are several architectural styles that are found in Hollywood Hills Homes. One of the most charming is the French Normandy or French Norman style. This romantic architecture is reminiscent of a true French Chateau. The French Normandy or French Norman style is named for architecture found in the Normandy province of France. At the time, people in Normandy and the Loire Valley of France attached their farm silos to the main living quarters instead of to a separate barn.
French Normandy and French Provincial details are often combined to create a style simply called French Country or French Rural. The French Norman, like the English Tudor, is a revival style dating back to medieval European architecture. It was popular during the first three decades of the 20th century. An excellent example of this style is the Hollywood Tower apartment building, originally known as La Belle Tour and a historic American landmark, built in 1929.
During the 1920s and 1930s, an Americans revivalist movement romanticized the traditional French farmhouse, constructing buildings that take their cues from ancient French rural residences. Many plans include a small round tower topped by a cone-shaped roof, resembling the grain silos of the ancient Normandy style. The architecture is characterized by steep, conical roofs and round stair-towers. They generally have stone-walls and an asymmetrical plan. After World War I, Americans romanticized the traditional French farmhouse, creating a style known as French Normandy. With a growing middle class population in America, French chateaus became a model of inspiration in building their homes on a smaller scale, thereby creating a more affordable French styled home that came to be known as French Normandy.
Characteristics of French Normandy Architecture
French architecture, such as the chateau, had actually gained popularity in America due to the work of architect Richard Morris Hunt. Hunt designed houses influenced by his familiarity with French architecture. His French Norman designs were later eclipsed by his larger and grander works in the Chateauesque style. American designs incorporated stone and brick, often in combination with stucco wall surfaces, half-timbering, and decorative brick patterns. Steeply pitched roofs were also common. Other common Normandy characteristics include, square, round, or octagonal towers with conical or pyramidal roof, steeply pitched gable and hip roof, simulated thatched roofs or wood or asphalt shingles, slate or imitation slate roofs or stone masonry walls — imitation half-timbering in combination with masonry constructions — decorative brick patterns on wall surfaces, wall dormers, round and/or segmental openings and door surrounds.