Dormers Can Transform Useless Attic Space


Dormers can greatly enhance the appearance of a house, while also expanding the useful living space on the second floor. A standard attic that might otherwise be only good for storage can be dramatically transformed into delightful living space that is loaded with character. Rooms carved out of the space under the house roof framing is always irregularly shaped. It isn’t the boring rectangular, flat ceiling space that most rooms are. These rooms have clipped corners where the walls meet the ceiling. This kind of space is so appealing, I’ve had numerous clients ask for rooms where the ceilings are clipped and the windows are placed in dormers.

Dream House
Small Dormers add variety to the roof line, and create usable space.

Small dormers add windows to a room usually at the end of a narrow space. These are the most traditional type of dormer. They are a key element in many traditional house styles. But if you really want to add a significant amount of useful space under your roof structure, consider a shed dormer, also called a Dutch dormer. This type of dormer can be quite wide, even as wide as the room itself. And, a shed dormer can have multiple windows. There is no “tunnel” effect like you see with typical Cape Cod style dormers.

Create Your Dream House
Dormers were added to the second floor above the new garage and the space became the new Master Bedroom in this addition to a historic home.

Using dormers, particularly shed or Dutch dormers in your house design is they can help you disguise the bulk of the house. Although many people like to make a statement with their house and strive for a strong, impressive appearance from the street, others like to present their house in a more discrete way. It is possible to “hide” a lot of second floor volume under the roof while making those rooms bright, sunny, and extremely interesting.

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I hope this information is helpful to you. You might want to get yourself a copy of my best-seller, Designing Your Perfect House. It is chockfull of valuable tips and advice that will save you many times the cost of the book on your house building or remodeling project. You might also like The Well-Centered Home: Simple Steps to Increase Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Happiness Where You Live. It will show you how to make your home a happy place.

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Bill Hirsch | Architect

Bill Hirsch

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