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Jeruba's avatar

[Fiction question] What do you call the third-story architectural feature of this Victorian house?

Asked by Jeruba (51639points) November 13th, 2009

This house in Jonesport, Maine, might end up in my story, but I need to be able to name the towerlike feature you see above the second floor. Do you know what it’s called and what are the proper terms to use in describing it?

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29 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

It’s the Cupola, a common feature of the Queen Ann style.

jaytkay's avatar

Are you sure it’s an old home? The tower looks over-sized and McMansion-like to my eye.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

In your photograph, the room would be correctly described as a tower. A cupola, while a feature of many Queen Ann homes, as @pdworkin said, is not a room.

janbb's avatar

I kind of agree with @jaytkay. It doesn’t look authentically Victorian; the round structure or “turret” looks out of proportion for a Victorian home. The turret might be a recent add-on to an older home.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I live in a victorian and it’s called a turret- the windows in that one look redone but this one has stained glass upper windows and a pendant light, and window seats. this one looks onto the street and there are still heavy iron rings embedded in the sidewalk from horse and carriage days…

wilma's avatar

I think it is too big to be called a cupola.
I think tower or turret. Could it possibly be called a rotunda? That means round room.

dpworkin's avatar

On second look, it may be an added structure. The Cupola would not have been habitable.

augustlan's avatar

I’m with the turret camp.

whatthefluther's avatar

I say turret, as well. It looks quite out of proportion but I suspect there is a magnificent view from that room space (edited….@trailsillustrated is correct, below, this is not a “room”).
See ya….Gary/wtf

trailsillustrated's avatar

its not really a room, more like a reading area or , where you put plants. The benches or window seat were for plants, and maybe a chair.

dpworkin's avatar

(Since it’s a Queen Ann feature, maybe “tower” is the most apposite name for it.)

trailsillustrated's avatar

er can’t get the picture to show – dont’ know how to cancel answer sorry!

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I always think of turrets as being affixed to one corner of the house, with the roofline of the turret closer to the roof or gables of the house, like this.

In your picture, @Jeruba, it really does look like a modern addition.

Dog's avatar

It is the westward facing attic studio. One window opens up to the roof where one might crawl out to see the stars or sneak down the trellis for a solitary walk undetected.

Sparsely furnished, inside is a typewriter on an old oak desk and fireplace. The wallpaper is faded to muted eggshell with shadows of vine. An old wing back chair long since too unsightly for the parlor but yet too comfortable for the rubbish heap sits before the fireplace. It is there that he will sit and chew on his pipe stem watching the embers as he muses over his work.

In the summer the open windows bring in the fragrance of jasmine and as evening falls the evening whisper of katydids.

dpworkin's avatar

@Dog, surely you mean katydids.

janbb's avatar

@Dog Sounds like you should be writing this novel!

Dog's avatar

Thanks @pdworkin!

Thanks @janbb but I don’t write. My grammar and spelling are horrid.

I just described what I thought such a room would be like. If it was mine it would be exactly like that except without the guy.(and add an easel and taboret to perfect the room and a wine table.)
I would keep the typewriter as a prop for a painting.

dpworkin's avatar

I love it when you thank me for busting your chops

Dog's avatar

@pdworkin I like it when you bust my chops.

jaytkay's avatar

re: The original question

I think it’s a tower or a turret. Cupolas sit atop buildings.

And I would ask an architect.

Dog's avatar

@Jeruba Sorry about the thread hijack.

It would be the tower room I think.

filmfann's avatar

My sister had a house like this, and refered to this area as the tower.
But she was quite the Disney fan.

Jeruba's avatar

As always, you guys are great. @Dog, when I burn out as November wears on, I want you to be my guest novelist for a day. But why not eastward—to the seaward side?

It doesn’t have to be this exact house. I agree that that tower looks odd. I just found this when I was searching images for Jonesport, Maine, which is a spot I picked off a Google map to put the house that the boy is leaving forever. I think I want it to have a widow’s walk anyway. Should it be Queen Anne and not Victorian, then? I like your picture, @PandoraBoxx.

dpworkin's avatar

Queen Ann is a Victorian style.

Jeruba's avatar

Yikes. Okay. Architecture isn’t my thing. I grew up among houses like that and never heard anybody describe them, any more than you’d be likely to stand around with the neighbors discussing the properties of your sidewalk.

Dog's avatar

@Jeruba I meant to write “northern” it is the most consistent light second to southern. :)

breedmitch's avatar

Minaret? I know. That implies Islam. Victorian minaret?

designer_from_AB's avatar

I would call this either a “Belvedere” or a “Lantern”. A Cupola. as some have suggested is usually used as a source of ventilation for the structure below, a “Belvedere” meaning “Fair view” is a room and a “Lantern” would be a room with windows on all sides. A Belvedere and a Lantern are accessible by a staircase, whereas a Cupola are generally not…

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