Prior to WWI, most French styled homes built in America were of the formal, symmetrical variety, based the Chateauesque or Beaux Arts Renaissance traditions. The French Eclectic style evolved as soldiers fighting the war had the chance to see first hand the quaint cottages, small estates and rustic farmhouses of the European countryside. This, in combination with better photography and printing technologies of the era, allowed the general public to become more aware of this charming style.
French Eclectic homes became quite fashionable in the 1920s and overtook the Tudor Revival style as the 2nd most popular style to build in America (Colonial Revival remaining the number one style in America pre-WWII). America lost it’s appetite for Eclectic styles following WWII, until they began to come back into fashion after the 1970s.