House Parts Defined
Ever tried pointing out an architectural detail to somebody, only to fumble for what to call it? Or put in a call to a contractor to fix a part of your home and have to call it “you know, that thingamajig”? Don’t worry, it’s happened to all us. So to help you out the next time you need to identify a part of a structure or a design element, here’s a handful of definitions that even some of our TOH editors weren’t familiar with.
A board attached to the edge of a gable roof. In house styles such as Gothic Revival and Tudor, bargeboards often bear intricate carvings or colorful painted details. Also called vergeboard or gableboard.
The groove cut into the underside of a windowsill that prevents rainwater from reaching the wall.
A series of windows placed high in a wall.
A second, small, pointed roof that diverts rainwater around something, such as a chimney, that projects out of a primary roof.
The weathering on exposed bricks or stones that looks white and powdery. It appears when natural salts in the materials leach out and crystallize.
A series of doors to connecting rooms arranged so that there is one uninterrupted sight line.
The angled sides of a firebox opening.
The small gables often found over a single dormer window.
The curving part of an arch that’s bookended by the peak of the arch and either a capital or molding abutment.
A nook, usually for seating, found beside a fireplace.
An upper story of a home’s structure that juts out beyond the level below.
The middle of a set of three wedge-shaped stair steps, or winders, that together make a 90-degree turn.
A small round or oval window often found in dormers. Also called bull’s-eye or oeil-de-boeuf.
A hinge that has only one joint on which it pivots.
A corner finish stone on masonry buildings.
Any reveal between the inner face of a door or window jamb and the wall.
A ceiling opening with a cover or hatchway.
The wall space between the outer string of a stair and the floor, or wall space between the shoulder of an arch and the outer walls.
The triangular, recessed center area of a pediment that’s bordered by moldings.