In American vernacular architecture, a witch window (also known as a Vermont window, among other names) is a window (usually a double-hung sash window, occasionally a single-sided casement window) placed in the gable-end wall of a houseand rotated approximately 1/8 of a turn (45 degrees) from the vertical, leaving it diagonal, with its long edge parallel to the roof slope. This technique allows a builder to fit a full-sized window into the long, narrow wall space between two adjacent roof lines.
Witch windows are found almost exclusively in or near the U.S. state of Vermont, generally in the central and northern parts of the state.They are principally installed in farmhouses from the 19th century, although they can be found—less frequently—in new construction.
The name "witch window" appears to come from a folk belief that witches cannot fly their broomsticks through the tilted windows, although it seems unlikely that the tale was taken seriously.The windows are also known as "coffin windows"; it is unclear if they really were used for removing a coffin from the second floor (avoiding a narrow staircase), or if the odd placement on the wall was reminiscent of a coffin. Either explanation seems far-fetched. The windows are also known as "Vermont windows" for their distribution and as "sideways" or "lazy windows" for their orientation.
Dormer windows, which can leave a room very cold, are unusual in Vermont, particularly in older construction; windows are mostly placed in walls. When a house is expanded, for example with a kitchen wing or an attached shed, there may be very little wall space available in the gable end in which to put a window, which may be the only window available for an upper floor room (if there is no dormer—adding a dormer to an existing roof is problematic, as it involves puncturing the roof membrane).
The solution is to rotate the window until its long edge is parallel to the nearby roof line, to better maximize the space available for a window.Thus, not only is the window area (and thus incoming light and ventilation) maximized, but building or buying a custom window is avoided. The window that was removed from the wall is often re-used.
An alternative explanation for the orientation of the window is that getting at least one corner of a window up as far as possible in the interior of the house allows hot air (which rises to the top of the room) to escape on summer afternoons.However, this reasoning seems suspect, as Vermont is not as hot as many other locations, where the windows are not ubiquitous. If heat escape were the goal, diagonal windows could be placed in other walls as well.
The slanted orientation of the window can complicate the placement of the siding (such as clapboards) on the wall in which the window is hung, because if the siding is horizontal, it will meet the window frame at an acute angle, complicating both the cutting of the siding and the waterproofing of the frame-siding joint. One solution is to orient all of the siding on the wall so that it is parallel with the window frame.
A dormer is a roofed structure, often containing a window, that projects vertically beyond the plane of a pitched roof. A dormer window is a form of roof window.
The Ward W. Willits House is a building designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Designed in 1901, the Willits house is considered one of the first of the great Prairie School houses. Built in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois, the house presents a symmetrical facade to the street. One of the more interesting points about the house is Wright's ability to seamlessly combine architecture with nature. The plan is a cruciate with four wings extending out from a central fireplace. In addition to stained-glass windows and wooden screens that divide rooms, Wright also designed the furniture for the house.
American colonial architecture includes several building design styles associated with the colonial period of the United States, including First Period English (late-medieval), French Colonial, Spanish Colonial, Dutch Colonial, and Georgian. These styles are associated with the houses, churches and government buildings of the period from about 1600 through the 19th century.
A Cape Cod house is a low, broad, single-story frame building with a moderately steep pitched gabled roof, a large central chimney, and very little ornamentation. Originating in New England in the 17th century, the simple symmetrical design was constructed of local materials to withstand the stormy, stark weather of Cape Cod. It features a central front door flanked by multi-paned windows. The space above the 1st floor was often left unfinished, with or without windows on the gable ends.
This page is a glossary of architecture.
The nipa hut, or bahay kubo, is a type of stilt house indigenous to the cultures of the Philippines. It is also known as payag or kamalig in other languages of the Philippines. It often serves as an icon of Philippine culture. Its architectural principles gave way to many of Filipino traditional houses and buildings that rose after the pre-colonial era. These include the Colonial era "bahay na bato", which is a noble version of bahay kubo with Spanish and some Chinese main architectural influence and has become the dominant urban architecture in the past. And there is also contemporary buildings such as the Coconut Palace, Sto. Niño Shrine, and the Modernist; Cultural Center of the Philippines and National Arts Center which are Modern edifices that used bahay kubo as a sub influence.
The Wentworth Lear Historic Houses are a pair of adjacent historic houses on the south waterfront in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Both buildings and an 18th-century warehouse are owned by the Wentworth Lear Historic Houses and are operated as a house museum. They are located at the corner of Mechanic and Gardner Streets. The two houses, built c. 1750–60, represent a study in contrast between high-style and vernacular Georgian styling. The Wentworth-Gardner House is a National Historic Landmark, and the houses are listed as the Wentworth-Gardner and Tobias Lear Houses on the National Register of Historic Places.
Athenwood and the Thomas W. Wood Studio are a pair of distinctive historic buildings at 39 and 41 Northfield Street in Montpelier, Vermont, United States. The two Carpenter Gothic buildings were the home and studio of Thomas Waterman Wood, an American painter and native of Montpelier. The buildings, now private residences, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
The Old Faithful Historic District in Yellowstone National Park comprises the built-up portion of the Upper Geyser Basin surrounding the Old Faithful Inn and Old Faithful Geyser. It includes the Old Faithful Inn, designed by Robert Reamer and is itself a National Historic Landmark, the upper and lower Hamilton's Stores, the Old Faithful Lodge, designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood, the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and a variety of supporting buildings. The Old Faithful Historic District itself lies on the 140-mile Grand Loop Road Historic District.
The Abraham Glen House is located on Mohawk Avenue in Scotia, New York, United States. It is a white frame house from the 18th century that is currently used as the local branch of the Schenectady County public library system.
The Beaverkill Valley Inn, formerly known as The Bonnie View, is located off Beaverkill Road north of Lew Beach, New York, United States. It is a large wooden hotel built near the end of the 19th century.
The Edward Salyer House is located on South Middletown Road in Pearl River, New York, United States. It is a wood frame house built in the 1760s.
The central-passage house, also known variously as center-hall house, hall-passage-parlor house, Williamsburg cottage, and Tidewater-type cottage, was a vernacular, or folk form, house type from the colonial period onward into the 19th century in the United States.
The Benjamin C. Wilder House is an historic house at 1267 Main Street in Washburn, Maine. Built about 1852, it is a well-preserved example of mid-19th century vernacular architecture in northern Aroostook County, built in the first decade after widespread settlement began of the area. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. It is now owned by the local Salmon Brook Historical Society and operated as a historic house museum.
The Hodge-Cook House is a historic house at 620 North Maple Street in North Little Rock, Arkansas. It is a 1-1/2 story wood frame structure, with clapboard siding and a hip roof pierced by hip-roof dormers on each side. A gable-roof section projects from the right side of the front, with a three-part sash window and a half-round window in the gable. A porch extends across the rest of the front, supported by tapered Craftsman-style fluted square columns. The house was built c. 1898 by John Hodge, a local businessman, and is one of the city's finest examples of vernacular Colonial Revival architecture.
St. Thomas Church is a Roman Catholic church in the Town of Underhill, Vermont in the United States, located in the unincorporated village of Underhill Center.
The Munro-Hawkins House is a historic house on Vermont Route 7A in southern Shaftsbury, Vermont. Built in 1807, it is a well-preserved example of transitional Georgian-Federal period architecture, designed by local master builder Lavius Fillmore. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
The J.P. Runyan House is a historic house at 1514 South Schiller Street in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is a 1-1/2 story wood frame structure, with a dormered and flared hip roof and weatherboard siding. The roof extends in front over a full-width porch, with Classical Revival columns supporting and matching pilasters at the corners. The roof dormers have gable roofs, and have paired sash windows, with fish-scale cut wooden shingles in the gables and side walls. It was built in 1901 for Joseph P. Runyan, a local doctor, and was later briefly home to Governor of Arkansas John Sebastian Little.
Prow house is an American term for a house with a projecting front portion that resembles the prow of a ship. The T-shaped layout contrasts more traditional designs where the front of the structure is more parallel with the street. The style and name originated in Arkansas in the nineteenth century, and contemporary versions are used particularly to accentuate views from within the house in scenic areas.
The Oscar F. Lyons House, on Woodenshoe Rd. in Peoa, Utah, was built around 1875–1880. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.