The Tuscan style with its casual, no rules expression remains a very popular and timeless style in some areas of the country. And why not? Doesn’t that capture the demeanor of today’s buyer? What makes this style so much fun is its rustic and often haphazard aesthetic. No symmetry in this style!
The haphazard nature comes to the style organically. Imagine a small farm house in Tuscany built of the indigenous materials like stone pulled out of the fields to make way for grapes and olives to flourish. Over time, the original family outgrows the house and adds a lean-to shed on one side. The next family is even bigger and adds another addition – not caring to “mask” that it is an addition. So what originally started as a simple form now has a bunch of tacked on forms.
The materials are what make the style so lush. Warm, rustic materials like stone (lots of stone), stucco and rough sawn timbers. I stayed in a Tuscan villa once and was delighted to see a large, twisted, un-hewned timber used as a door header. The next villa over had used brick arches to create its door headers.
The advancements in cultured stone and brick have made this style far more attainable and thus more abundant. Since the stone covers large areas, pick a larger profile stone like cut cobblestone or Tuscan field stone. Select a blend with warm colors and build your color palette around the stone. Make sure to use the stone vertically around the front door. Stone tower entries remind me of San Gimignano. Where stone is not used, I like stucco as a neutral back drop, letting the stone be the rock star here.
Contrast the stone with headers made with cultured brick. Don’t be afraid to use a terracotta colored brick to accentuate the difference in material. Or, create a heavy timber look for headers with cellular PVC trim with a deep wood grain finish. Add a plank or a board and batten shutter to complete the rustic look. My favorite finishing touch is to use a single shutter to one side of the window. Make sure the shutter is the same width as the window, but be prepared for the “symmetry” lovers to ask what happened to the other shutter.
Windows and Doors
Speaking of windows, I like a four over one mullion profile. Don’t be afraid to go darker colors like bronze to compliment the warm, rustic style. As for doors, pick a rustic style. It can either be painted to match the shutters or a wood tone. Garage doors must be carriage style and I find the wood tones work great here too.
Finally, let’s not forget to talk about the roof. Lower pitch roofs work with this style and if the budget allows, concrete tile works great – either a flat tile or a Spanish S tile. Try picking a terracotta color similar to the brick headers. Fiberglass shingles work great as well. Remember – this is the “no rules” style so have fun with your selection.
Tuscan is perfect for someone who wants something different from their parents’ home but still want that timeless appeal. It's not for everyone, and that's what makes it so desirable!