Dormers – Little Forgotten Space

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dormer: a structural element of a building that protrudes from the plane of a sloping roof surface used either in original construction or as later additions to create usable space . . .

The little known “dormer” is an additional space you may not realize can be created on a second story of your home. Here are different kinds of dormers and our own creations in the images below:

  • Gable fronted dormer: Also called simply a gable dormer, the front of this dormer rises along a flat plane to a point at the ridge of the dormer roof. It is also known as a dog-house dormer (due to its visual similarity to same)
  • Hip roof dormer: This style of dormer is an analogue to the hip roof—its roof is composed of three sloping planes that converge at the ridge of the dormer.
  • Flat roof dormer: The roof of this dormer is flat and parallel to the ground with a frontal eave that parallels the main roof eave.
  • Shed dormer: This dormer also has a flat roof but the roof slopes downward at an angle somewhat less than that of the surrounding roof. Its front eave line is, again, parallel to the main roof eave line.[2] Shed dormers can provide more attic space and head room than gable dormers, but cannot be the same pitch as the main roof and may therefore require different roof sheeting. Often used in gable-roofed homes, a shed dormer has a single-planed roof, pitched at a shallower angle than the main roof.
  • Wall dormer: This is a dormer whose face is coplanar with the face of the wall below, breaking the line at the cornice of the building.
  • Eyebrow or eyelid dormer: “A low dormer on the slope of a roof. It has no sides, the roofing being carried over it in a wavy line.” [3] The bottom of an eyebrow dormer is flat and the top is curved.
  • Link dormer: This is a large dormer that houses a chimney or joins one part of a roof to another.[4]
  • Bonneted dormer: This is an arched roof dormer, rounded in shape when viewed from front. Popular in Victorian homes, especially in certain areas, like the Southcott-style row-houses called Jellybean Row in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
  • Nantucket dormer: This is a complicated dormer structure composed of two gable dormers connected by a shed dormer.[5]

So, look at your home and take stock:

  • Do you need more space?
  • Could you use some space over a garage?
  • Does your second story lack the room you need?
  • Could you use a second story?

  1. Barr, Peter. “Illustrated Glossary – 19th Century Adrian Architecture”. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  2. Jump up^ Dictionary of Architecture & Construction, C.M.Harris.
  3. Jump up^ “Eyebrow”. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  4. Jump up^ A Visual Dictionary of Architecture. Francis D.K. Ching
  5. Jump up^ Gitlin, Jane (2003). Capes: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling, and Building New. Newtown, CT: Taunton. p. 44. ISBN    9781561584369.
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