Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pent Roofs and Petticoats

Hooked on Houses is hosting her "Hooked on Fridays" blog party; I hope y'all will click here and have look. I'm hooked on new a new house that's that doesn't look new and has a feminine twist.

Last weeks post, It's a Teardown," Cote de Texas' post: "Male vs. Female: It’s a Size Thing", and Dan Curl's email about a pent roofs reminded me of this house. It's a new house in an old neighborhood, it has pent roofs and, it has a feminine twist to the exterior.


This is a new spec house in Virginia Highlands, Atlanta designed by Harrison Design Associates. This is my current favorite new house in neighborhood. Why?
  • It looks more in keeping with the neighborhood that the neighboring houses.
  • It's big but conceals it's bulk with different veneers, different window types (check out the 6 over 9 windows), and by breaking up long lines. The wall dormers give the rear a 1 1/2 story look. I'd bet there are 2 floors of 10' ceiling back there.
  • It doesn't look at all new.

I could imagine that it:

  • Began as a shallow brick Cape Cod.
  • Added a shingle-sided second story.
  • Added a shingle-sided wing toward the back.
  • Added a garage.

And it has a feminine side: a petticoat.

Most homes would have nearly invisible drip caps instead. Here the drip cap becomes a charming pent roof. If that's not feminine. I don't know what is. It's decorative, practical, and girly.


Update: I asked Architect Katie Hutchison at House Enthusiast for the correct term. Thanks Katie: Here is what she said:

"I think the shingle flare in the photo on your site is more of a water table than a pent, though. I call such flares 'skirts' too."
I intended to use this post to explain pent roofs so I guess I'd better:

My friend Dan Curl is a home inspector, and fellow Architecture Tourist. Dan lives and breathes water damage. He wrote this:

Note the Pent Roof over the deck. It shelters openings (door/windows) in exterior walls. Note that the upper soffit is too small to effectively shelter the windows below it. Pent roofs are a great idea: they combine function (sheltered openings in the exterior wall) and design ('breaking up" monolithic sidings). Too bad there are so few and that they are used in a design sense only
The "Eco Inspector" at Comprehensive Home Inspections
The is a new town home complex. There are many of these in Atlanta. See the pent room sheltering the windows and doors to the deck?



The pent roof idea is really old. Water has been damaging homes for 1000's of years. Here is one only a few hundred years old:

Restoration of the Pent Roof at IndenHofen House ca. 1725 in Pennsylvania.

Thanks to Hooked on Houses' "Hooked on Fridays" blog party..


  1. Oh - this post is an inspiration for me. I need a pent roof off the French doors to the kitchen! I replaced those doors a few years ago because of rot/water damage, and again I see evidence of rot and water damage because the water just wears on the doors on the north facing side.

    Old new houses - pretty much my ideal.

  2. That first house is nice because it doesn't scream new. It does look like it would fit into an existing neighborhood.

  3. I love blogs like this where I can learn something I didn't already know! Thanks for the tweet about hooked on Houses, I just posted on her blog party!!

  4. That's a lovely house. I really like house exteriors that combine different materials. There's one in our neighbourhood that has red brick, cedar shingles, and stone. I admire it every time I go by.

    Thanks for the lesson on pent roofs -- I didn't know about them before.

    Thanks for your comments on my Bluenose post. For sure building a ship like her takes amazing skills and know-how.


  5. Perfect. I love learning new words. Have seen pent roofs but didn't know the name.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  6. I love that house, would love to be able to see the inside. Thanks for helping me learn about pent roofs - can't wait to share with my husband.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog - have a great weekend.

  7. Beautiful home! I love homes that look old but are brand new! The Crabapple Cottage featured in Southern Living by the Atlanta Architect John Tee is my absolute favorite! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Love the first home too!!! And I am with Kelly on fusing different materials. Great look. Great post.


  9. what a gorgeous home. i can see why it is your favorite in the neighborhood.

    so glad you stopped by my blog and took the time to leave a comment. thanks!!

  10. I love how the house is nestled in the trees. Thanks for the little lesson, and for your comments. Terry, I love hearing what you have to say!

  11. I received a wonderful education about pent roofs. Thank you so much!

  12. That house is beautiful. I'm not normally a fan of new construction, but it looks like it's been there for a hundred years or so.

  13. Terry,
    I agree this home is wonderful. I love all the layers it has. Interesting explanation on the pent roof. Is this something that is common in your area? I have not noticed them before so maybe its regional.

  14. I have many pent roofs on my house. Didn't know the name until now but I knew I wanted them as they help to define the lines so well.

    Every time I visit your blog I learn something new!

  15. Michelle, if you have a lot of pent roofs that your house will last much longer that most. Dan Curl would be proud of your house for sure.

  16. Great post! I learned something here. Thank you.

  17. I do like that house too, Terry and I really like it's "skirt." I'm a big fan of architectural details like that. Great post!

  18. Beautiful house in the top photo. Thanks for explaining the pent roof. I'd never heard the term and I love learning new things.


Blog Archive