Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Delmar Eyebrow Window

On my morning walks I frequently pass this single story brick home with two eyebrow windows, one on each side of the house. Usually I see Eyebrow windows on older two story houses in the Greek and Italian Revival style, but they are also associated with the Craftsman bungalows and English cottages that sprang up in the 1920s and '30s.

The Eyebrow is a low dormer on the slope of a roof. It has no sides, with the roofing carried over it in a wavy line. The window normally used in an eyebrow is rectangular on the bottom and slightly arched on the top the eyebrow window. As you can see this eyebrow pictured above uses a simply rectangular window.

Most do not open but some are hinged so they open inward, and due to the narrow, low space to access the window they are also called 'lie-on-your-stomach windows' because that is the only way you will get to them. They are used to provide light to a storage area, or bedroom. Altho they look like they would cost less than a shed dormer they are expense for new construction or a retro fit to an existing house. This Old House online magazine says

"Anytime you build something that breaks away from a straight line," says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, "it costs more." Most window companies routinely make true half-round windows, but a more traditional eyebrow — a semi-oval or a small segment of a circle — will have to be custom made. Depending on its size and whether the dormer is being retrofitted or planned as part of a new house, Tom says, an eyebrow can cost upward of $10,000. Bensley agrees. For comparison purposes, he tells his clients that a simple shed dormer will cost twice the price of a roof skylight and an eyebrow window three times as much. Along with the expense of a curve-topped window, the high cost of an eyebrow comes from the complicated carpentry it requires. Finishing the inside of a curved wall, be it drywall or plaster, adds to the cost."

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