Dormers are windows built into a roof with a small section of roof sticking out to cover the window. They increase the amount of space in roof-level rooms and provide light and ventilation. Different dormer types are primarily distinguished by the shape of the roof section topping them. There are many minor variations on the main types of dormer, involving decorative flourishes, structural variants or more complex combinations of the basic shapes.
A shed dormer is the most basic form of dormer, with a single flat-roof panel sloping toward the front. It is a common feature of Craftsman, Dutch Colonial and Colonial Revival architecture.
A gabled dormer has a flat front and two roof sections sloping to the sides from a peak at the top, giving it the look of a tiny roof perpendicular to the roof of the house. Gabled dormers a characteristic feature of Craftsman and Tudor architecture. A flared gable has additional roof planes continuing outward from the base at a shallower angle.
A hipped dormer has three roof planes that meet at a peak at the top: two sloping to the sides like on a gabled dormer and a third sloping diagonally toward the front. It is typical in Craftsman and Prairie architecture.
Eyebrow dormers, and the similar arch dormers, are marked by a curved roof sloping to the sides. The lack of hard edges gives this style of dormer a particularly distinctive look. They are frequently a feature of Shingle architecture.
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