Our town sees a ton of teardowns and new home builds. Many of the new builds are 2-stories, with steep rooflines. Some are brick, others frame - what we call farmhouses on steroids. (I wonder how soon they will appear dated…)
Some of these new construction hoes have very narrow dormers poking out of the roofline. Here is one example..
Does anyone know the function/purpose of these dormers? Do they signify a 3d floor - perhaps a “bonus room”? Do they provide lighting for an unfinished attic? Or maybe serve as a skylight for a 2d floor hallway or bedroom?
I looked through the listing - which includes floorplans - but I found no explanation. What really bugs me the most about these dormers (yeah - nice life if THIS is what bugs me!) is how narrow they are. They are too narrow to be useable living space. If they were a tad wider, they could fit a window seat, or a nice reading nook. Or a walk-in closet with natural light. In some of these homes, there will be 2 teeny dormers right next to each other - where there could have been one single larger dormer which actually created useful space.
Any architects out there - or folk who owned/toured such homes - who could shed some light on this? I assume it is most likely for appearance - and some people like them. And I’m a freak for desiring home design to be functional as well as attractive. (Don’t get me started o those little “Juliet balconies”!)
IANAA, but I’ve seen them around too, and have toured a few homes that had them, and in most cases they are fake. They generally are part of the unfinished attic space. Why are they there? I assume for looks. They break up the roofline and make the house look bigger since people usually think they must be for a bedroom. To me they are pretentious and unnecessary, but some people must like them.
It varies the roofline to suit the fashions of the day, and it makes the house look bigger than it really is. It might not even connect to the attic space at all, and if you got up close to the window, you’d just see the roof behind it.
The 2 story houses in my neighborhood has them. They are in the vaulted ceiling space above the stairs to the second floor. My neighbor has one, she hates it. The small window is about 20 feet above the first floor, she says it is a pain to clean, especially on the outside. There is also a small chandelier on the vaulted ceiling. Changing light bulbs in that does not look easy.
I remember Mike Holmes did an episode with leaking roofs on relatively new homes. It turned out that the fake attic dormers were installed after the roof went on. They just slapped them up and attached them by screwing through the shingles and roof and just caulked around the seam.
Obviously construction hoes are those long handled tools for trenching or shaping a pour. Apparently the traditional models have been updated. You cannot work on a modern house without a bluetooth hoe.
It looks to me like the “dormer” is actually a ventilation louvre. This is to prevent excess heat build-up in the attic, I assume. Mike Holmes has a few shows where he touches on attic ventilation - air enters under the soffits, and should exit at the high point to create good flow - don’t let insulation block the soffits in. usually this involves carboard guards so spraying-in insulation does not block them.
In my neighbourhood, you can see a number of small square what looks like flat boxes (maybe 2 or 3 inches high) lying on the shingles - these are vents. My dad’s house from the 1930’s had a louvre and fan at the gable end. I assume for this house, if you’re going hog-wild on the roofline anyway, another dormer is probably as cheap (and less likely to leak from faulty install) than a number of flat vents.
This isn’t a new thing. I live in a historic district, many beautiful Victorian homes, plus other styles tossed in through the decades, it’s quite lovely. There are large manor homes mixed in with small homes, every home having different detailing.
There are many Victorian, plus earlier and later, examples of single story houses, with just such a detail added to a roofline where very clearly there cannot be a room. They are often pretty detailed and framed, full on windows, but they are indeed just for show. To make the home look grander than it is, perhaps to blend in better with it’s neighbours.
(There are also examples of, what today would be called a Tiny Home. Only with tall ceilings, big windows, sweet porches, etc thrown in. But still very small square footage. Turns out, everything old IS new again!)
I hadn’t even looked at the location but, you are right, it is abut as undesirable of a location as possible in this town.
But, believe it or not, that actually impressed me as a not terribly high price. A mile south, and it would be $1.2 mill. Just so many people with apparently so much money.
Elmhurst is a pretty decent town, straight west of Chicago. Good commuter train service, and very quick access to highways going in all directions. Very close to OHare.
What I am perceiving is a lot of young couples moving out from the city to start families. If moving from the city, the noise may not bother them. No one seems interested in “starter homes” as we did 35 years ago…
What’s with the tongue-clucking about starter homes? I’m a Gen-Xer, but I have a lot of sympathy for millennials and Gen Z folks: there aren’t many starter homes out there any more, and the ones you’re imagining are also going for $800K.
“No one seems interested” is hilarious. Do you think that the modest, inexpensive houses of your youth are somehow immune to market forces in a way that the trashiest McMansion or the most charming brownstone in NYC is not?
Non-functional dormer and other extra roof lines are fashionable and trendy, but every extra roof angle means another possibility of leaks. It also means extra expense when the roof needs to be replaced. A real, functional attic fan, on the other hand, will save you a bundle on your utility bills every year.
It’s hard to tell detail from the photo (and the house isn’t there in Google Earth) but the texture of the tiny central dormer looks different from the other glass windows. It makes me thing it may be louvres.
(OTOH I see in the back yard photo that there are vent boxes near the roof peak on the back of the house…)
Well, if you just search homes in that town on that site, you’ll see a number of homes in the $3-400s - as well as a number over $1 mill.
I guess I didn’t express myself well.
-Perhaps younger couples moving into a big/nice home as their first home is terribly wise on their part. Why waste the effort moving twice, if you know eventually you will ant to be in the bigger/nicer home?
-And maybe I’m just a little taken aback by the number of young appearing people who apparently have enough case to afford the mortgage on $1 mill homes. Kudos to them.
-And maybe they already owned a home/condo in the city, such that they had a better idea of what they want in a home than we had when we were starting out.
-And a little bit of my impression likely reflects my personal judgment that these are new homes are really - um - more than any average sized family “needs.” I tend to disfavor what I perceive as excess consumption…
But when I was young in the 70s-80s, I can’t think of anyone who moved into their “forever” home right away. The most common time to move into bigger homes was after you had a kid or 2. Just different, that’s all.
FWIW, I grew up in a 100-year-old farmhouse with an unfinished attic. There were two small glass-paned windows in the attic, one in the front, one in the back. They had a function besides admitting light.
In the summer, we’d open up the second-floor door to the attic stairs and open up the two attic windows. Warm air in the house would get sucked up the stairs and expelled through the two small windows. The effect was so great, you could feel the strong warm draft when you stood at the base of the stairs.
I’d like to believe these new little windows you’re describing are similarly functional. But I’m probably delusional.