It must have been the rocky hillsides and the harsh hot weather that gave rise to the Tuscan and Old World European architecture, even though it evolved over hundreds of years. Europe’s rough hillsides probably gave rise to the use of natural and sturdy materials such as stone and tile while the majority of the buildings had large overhangs to ward off the hot weather. Other material such as brick and timber were used for aesthetic purposes while plaster and stucco walls were for design and color purposes and mirrored the clay soil around. Gardening and landscape play a major role in the Tuscan and Old World style architecture because, at the time, most of the country buildings functioned as farms. Trees were abundantly utilized for shade and outdoor activities in courtyards and even patios that had doors and windows for ventilation. The colors used in the Tuscan style were mainly earth colors such as terracotta, olive green, dark reds and oranges and yellow, and browns. To that effect, natural textures were added such as stone, tile, aged wood and wood beams, wrought iron, and even ornamental steel that featured black and copper colors with grapes and olives. Design features usually are the basis of any particular style as they affect massing, scale and proportion and even the types of building material used.

old world

Tuscan and Old World style's Design Characteristics:

  • Low rooflines
  • Large overhangs (Tuscan)
  • Attics decorated with wood or plaster
  • An abundant use of stucco and plaster
  • Warm earthy colors
  • Use of tone and brick facings
  • Decorative accents include tiles, wrought iron, and welded steel in black and turned wood

Old World

Exterior Building Materials:

Stucco and stone were the most widely used in building exteriors for the Tuscan and Old World European design architecture. This is mainly due to the fact that medieval houses made great use of natural materials. Another major feature of the design is the colors and textures used to convey the feel of the Old World style.

 Roof Materials :

The roof, being the most dominant part of a building’s structure, holds the leading design element of the chosen theme. For Old World style, hip and gable roofs are very popular while some other areas could have flat sections if it is necessary but it is not usually the case. Roof pitches can be  designed according to the architects liking but the average maximum height of the structure would be fifty feet. Roof planes and wall plates are utilized in this style while concrete and clay tiles, slate, copper and shingles are also seen. Old World Style buildings would normally have several roof lines and those that have two floors will also have sheds or flat roofs.. While most roofs had very little to no overhangs, almost all roofs of this style used barrel tiles.

Appropriate roof forms : Gable / hip roof forms / shed forms

 old world roof style


Architectural Forms and Details :

  • The use of balconies, pergolas, awnings, porches etc…
  • Existence of shutters, window boxes, bays, and even courtyard walls
  • Having consistency in front, rear, and side detailing
  • Using simple forms and shapes
  • Incorporating detailed decks and patio covers where possible
  • The outdoor structure usually matches the architecture of the building
  • Exterior railings were usually of wrought iron, ornamental steel in black wood, or other similar material
  • All columns and archways blended with the architecture
  • Use of detailed chimney flues and caps with simple shapes and forms
  • Matching the exterior material of the chimneys to the building style




Windows and doors played a very important role in the Tuscan and Old World Style architecture. Recessed and accented detailing were very popular while fully recessed openings were key. There was some use as well of wood projections and projected windows on wall surfaces. The main entrances were mainly single leaf doors flanked on either side by columns or pillars with cornices on top. Tuscan windows were usually two to three panes wide and were divided by mentions. Another important design element were arched openings and you could find windows surrounded by columns supporting rounded arches. Windows also had square divided tiles and doorways were decorated with classic trim or bordered on either side with wood and decorative moldings.


Style-appropriate windows and doors :

  • •Door with divided grids on the glass
  • •Windows with warm colored frames
  • •Awnings that made of architectural canvas
  • •Wooden shutters are common
  • Rounded or half-rounded shape Doors & Windows
  • •Windows are grouped in stacks
  • •Made of wood with raised panels and detailed accents
  • •Dutch doors and French doors are quite common
  • •Step Based lines ont glass or panels
  • •Circle panels with antique finish are found on Old World homes furniture & doors.
  • •Plank panles on the doors



 Old World Doors to be used in an Old World Home

Plank Doors

Plank Door


Divided Lite Doors

true divided glass doors are very common on patio doors , and even front door. Normally these doors are either arch or round top.

Patio Divided Lite

patio old world

Here is a front door that decorated with iron straps :

front door

 Detailed Multi Panel

Old World home have multi panel doors or furiture that some times are had carved

multi panel doors

Rounded glass shapes 

circle doors

Wrought Iron Decoration

Front doors are usually designed with decorative wrought iron.



wrought iron doors



Front Doors for an Old World House:

Interior Doors for an Old World House:

French Doors for an Old World House: