Wagon house in Buzau

Wagon type, Little Paris style house dating from the 1890s, Buzau, south east Romania (©Valenitn Mandache)

This type of house is one of the most popular and also picturesque that has been built in Romania’s urban areas of the La Belle Époque period. It is commonly known as a “wagon house” because of its oblong shape, and doorway placed at the centre of its length, the edifice somehow resembling a railroad car. The house in most cases faces the street with its width, often sporting a charming round corner between the garden and street façades, as can be seen in the quaint example presented in this article, from Buzau in south east Romania. I consider the wagon house as a paradigm of the architecture that pervaded that age, what I call the Little Paris style, the local provincial interpretation of the c19th especially French historicist architecture.

Wagon type, Little Paris style house dating from the 1890s, Buzau, south east Romania (©Valenitn Mandache)

The round corner has a floral decorative panel, containing representations of scattered roses, amplifying the impression of peace, bucolic and prosperity of the Fin de Siècle era in Romania. In other instances the round corner is empty or decorated with neo-rococo style panoplies containing the monogram of the proprietor and/ or the year of the construction of the house.

Wagon type, Little Paris style house dating from the 1890s, Buzau, south east Romania (©Valenitn Mandache)

I like the wagon houses, being one of my favourite type of Romanian period edifices, due to their intense quaintness, human scale and use of environmentally friendly construction materials, similar with those used in the centuries before the industrial revolution. This variety of period property is also among the cheapest to acquire and restore now in Romania.