Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Quebec Trip #15: Architecture of French vs. English Houses

English House (Left) vs. French House (Right)
In this 15th blog on our May 2017 trip to Old Quebec City, Canada, we'll explore the Architecture of French vs. English Houses and there was an historic fire that changed the way structures were built starting in 1727. Of course, Tom found it especially interesting since he's an architect.We'll explore the differences in styles and tell you about the history.

A vaulted cellar

WHAT FRENCH HOUSES LOOK LIKE: They have slanted tin roofs, and use rock from the St. Lawrence River, some of which were porous so the outside was coated with stucco or tin sometimes to keep the rain and snow out. Walls of houses were also shared with other houses, and french houses were built to open onto sidewalks.

WHAT BRITISH HOUSES LOOK LIKE - They have flat roofs and they're built from rectangular bricks, so they're more linear. Flat roofs were more likely to cave in from heavy snowfall than the french pitched roofs.

"WE BUILT THIS CITY" - HOW IT ALL CAME TOGETHER - After 1664, workers were trained in the classical tradition (but had little experience) and were likely familiar with a treatise on stonecutting, carpentering or woodworking. Stonemasons supervised construction, passing on their instructions to carpenters, woodworkers and roofers. Apprentice masons, masons, master masons and stonecutters, became by default the first "architects" in New France. (source:
A vaulted cellar in an art gallery

A GREAT CITY FIRE CHANGED THINGS  - After major fires in Québec City (1682) and Montréal (1721) the use of wainscotting and other flammable wooden embellishments were prohibited.

In 1727 Old Quebec City dwellings had to be of stone, erected on vaulted cellars; fireplaces and chimneys were to be set in outside walls; chimney stacks had to be installed in a single, solid wall of masonry, to facilitate access; gabled walls and right-angled interior walls had to emerge on the roof, to serve as firebreaks; garreted roofs with occupied wooden stories were banned, to be replaced by unoccupied attics sloping on both sides; the heavy "great roof beams" gave way to lighter beams or trusses that could be dismantled quickly. All woodwork — casings, porches, stairway turrets — was forbidden on outside walls. (Courtesy of

FUN FACT - 2 DIFFERENT BRICK COLORS - Orange bricks were imported from Scotland and Yellow bricks were imported from Ireland. Both were seen in houses throughout the city. 

NEXT: The Kent House, THEN: Ursline Nuns and their Tiny House

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next