Gable Dormers

Gable Dormer

Gable Dormer

This past summer my wife and I took our two oldest grandchildren to Williamsburg Virginia for a couple of days for a taste of history.  I had not been there in almost 20 years and was reminded of how wonderful the design, scale and proportion are in those simple old buildings. This is especially true of the gable dormer.

What is a Gable Dormer?

Usually it is a single window width dormer with the gable roof that was used to bring light and air into a space under a main sloping rooof of a building.   As you can see from the photo they look a bit like dog houses and are often called dog house dormers.

I don’t think the gable or dog house dormer has ever been designed better than in Williamsburg with their window in almost the Golden Mean proportion, thin trim at the sides and alignment of the eave with the window head.

Unfortunately today the original proportion and scale of these little jems is much forgotten. Some other time will look at more of the characteristics of the proper dormer and what some of the do’s and don’ts are in their design.

As always, I would love to have your feedback… please leave a comment below.





  • S.J. Mason

    Reply Reply January 9, 2012

    Do you have any plans for the small houses of Colonial Williamsburg? There are some small A roof with gables dormers and some gambrel roofed houses that are small. I am not aware of any plans on market replicating these.

    Thank you in advance for your response,
    S.J. Mason

    • Andy Sheldon

      Reply Reply January 13, 2012

      Unfortunately we do not have plans specifically of the Williamsburg houses. Many of those fall under the architectural copyright act, since they have been researched, restored or rebuilt by the historical part of the city. I am working on some cottages that will be based on those small houses and using the colonial detailing that is so beautiful there. Nothing will be out for a few months though. Thanks for your interest.

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