Delightful Dormers

When I was looking through my photos to find examples of five sided dormers for the Scottish Dormers post I noticed there was also a good selection of other appealing dormer forms. Here is a selection that should elevate your gaze above the snow banks.

This line of little gabled dormers is on Dresden Row, photographed in the late 70s. The row of houses got smartly converted into that little hive of businesses that has included a succession of good restaurants including  Scanway, Fid and now Efendi. When I took the picture the dormers were the most charming feature of the buildings.


Here pedimented dormers decorate the centre block of the Hydrostone Market strip. A little forced perspective is provided by the two smaller dormers with their steeper pitched roofs.


In the Hydrostone I wonder if the second row of dormers are actually in a usable space. This 1980s view shows the back of a big yellow house on Victoria Road. Above a row of Scottish dormers are two small, more recent, dormers where someone realized they could get more rentable space out of the third floor attic.


Here are very unusual dormers I saw in Fredericton in the late 1970s. The design seems like a natural progression but I can’t think of any local examples of this four sided form.


Yarmouth is a rich destination if you enjoy observing buildings. It is easy to wander the streets for hours discovering details you will see nowhere else in Nova Scotia. Take this diamond shaped window in a Mansard roof, for example.


Also in Yarmouth are these arched dormers with turned finials.


From these flamboyant examples let’s look at some minimal gestures like this little gable in the roof of Sir Sandford Fleming’s cottage in Fleming Park.


I’ve always been a fan of eyebrow dormers that seem to push up from the roof.  This example in Yarmouth is on a house made of early concrete block.


On Craftsman Bungalows it is not surprising to find squinty windowed dormers like these in Annapolis. I love the  exaggerated overhang of their roofs.

Bungalow, Annapolis

Another strategy is found of this Craftsman style house in Lunenburg that has almost a miniature house as a dormer. You know the game where you say, Which house would you live in if you had a choice? When we played that in Lunenburg 12 years ago this was our pick.


And just to remind you how Lunenburg County does amaze, here is a confection of bays and dormers from Petite Riviere.



Post Script

  • I’m going out on a limb and declaring the oldest untouched dormer in Nova Scotia is not on but in Uniacke House. When the house was built about 1817 it had a stylish, flatish roof that was not practical in our climate.  Soon a more conventional gable roof was built that covered and preserved sections of the original roof, including a dormer! It now provides access to the roof space and still has its original shingles, paint and window sashes.

Uniacke, dormer

  • If you are new to house observing, Houses of Nova Scotia by Allen Penny is the best guide book. It was published in 1989 but will be available in libraries and the used book market. Tons of great line illustrations.



About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.