Manitoba Heritage Houses – Two Mansards

Reid Dickie

On my recent travels in southwestern Manitoba I found two lovely examples of mansard roof houses, both have an additional distinctive feature. The first house, located on a residential corner in Boissevain, MB, is built of fieldstones with red brick accents. Each dormer has a small shed roof over it. The little brackets under the eaves have a pleasant appeal.

The other mansard roof house is in Waskada, MB and its construction is of formed cement blocks. This technique was popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s and meant each block was made on-site in a press with various textures available for the face of the block. You can see the top row of blocks has a different texture than the rest of the blocks below it. This house has a much larger second floor with more elaborate dormers, each with a little pediment roof and brackets. The steepness of the roof pitch is accentuated by a swoop creating concave corners. This makes it appear as if the second floor is larger than the first giving the place an unusual massing.


Filed under Accommodations, Heritage Buildings, Houses, Manitoba Heritage

2 responses to “Manitoba Heritage Houses – Two Mansards

  1. Rick & Sherry Louttit

    As the owners of the home in Waskada, we were quite surpised to see this photo on your website. We have very little information on the home and found your information very interesting. We had been told that the brick were made in Napinka? We purchased this home almost 14 years ago, because of unique qualities and personal attachment. We have been restoring this home back to the way it was since the first day we entered the doors and continue to do so.
    We would appreciate any further history on our home.
    We love our Home and love showing off our efforts.
    Rick and Sherry Louttit

    • Hi Folks,
      Then I guess you don’t mind your beautiful home being available for the world to see. Your house is a very distinctive example of Second Empire architecture, a style that evolved out of designs popular during the reign of Napoleon III (1852-1870). In North America, the style was popular for public buildings, schools and houses. Your house contains many of the style’s defining elements, most notably the mansard roof, named for 17th century French architect Francois Mansart. Mansard or French roofs have two different slopes on all sides, the lower being steeper than the upper slope, like on your house. The concave shape gives your roof a sensuous swoop out of which the dormers seem to pop. Every Second Empire building has dormer windows, often pedimented like yours with their sweet pitch matching the pitch of the upper roof. The drops at the end of the pediments are enhanced by the cute little brackets beneath. Tall dormers are typical as is symmetry. Everything balances on your house. I’m not sure where the cement block makers were from. Most areas had several during the town building days. The subtle differences in block textures, the untextured sunburst above the front window and the almost delicate transom over the front door add enormous charm. You may already know when it was built but my guess would be between 1885 and 1895 since Waskada was settled at that time. The landscaping with the cedars cozying up to the house and the taller spruce on guard gives the place a protected and coddled feeling. Lovely folks, very lovely. You are so lucky to live here. Thank you for being such great custodians of the house. Your love shows. Be happy, Reid

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