The Chinese love affair with our housing market has created an explosion of faux French Provincial housing in the suburbs of Melbourne. Take, for example, Balwyn where a French Provincial style home sold to a Chinese buyer for $3.75m last year sits alongside nearly half a street of other French Provincial style homes. The old red brick homes are being demolished and replaced by new homes in this popular style. Chinese buyers are looking for big homes, their dream homes. One Real Estate Agent, specialising in selling to Chinese clients, explained that they often hand over a photo of a French Provincial house and state that is what they want to buy in Australia, because they represent luxury, a romantic, noble lifestyle and their status in society. In China this size and style of home would be way outside of their price range, whereas in Australia they can afford it. The French Provincial architectural style was introduced into China in the 1990s, with Chinese people being attracted to the classic European look and feel, believing that this style represents wealth and position.
The proliferation of the architectural style represents a strong marker of the arrival of this large group of wealthy new Australians in suburbs such as Melbourne’s east, from Box Hill through Balywn, Kew, Canterbury and Camberwell as well as in Sydney’s eastern suburbs of Rose Bay and Bellevue Hill, and the upper-north-shore suburbs of Wahroonga and Turramurra.
As builders clamour to build this popular style they seek quality architectural decorative mouldings representative of the French Provincial style. Experts in producing and installing excellent quality exterior, lightweight mouldings, The Finishing Touch, have been in high demand for their range of parapets and window mouldings designed specifically for the French Provincial style, as well as their arches and columns, much used for this architectural style.