Help me be a better residential architecture nerd!
February 13, 2010 8:50 PM   Subscribe

Is there a specific name for the style of roof/eaves on these houses? Does this fit into a specific architectural style such as period revival?

I grew up near and constantly drive past houses in 1960's-ish suburban subdivisions that have a roof segment (excuse my lack of proper architectural vocab) on the facade of the house that is straight on one side and concave (bell-cast?) on the other. It's a common enough configuration that I'd imagine that it has a name.

If it helps, these are all (Google Street View) images from houses in the Greater Toronto Area, although this style exists all over the place.
posted by thisjax to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I believe these are called "flared eaves," and this website says flared eaves are linked to Prairie, Stick, and Arts & Crafts styles of architecture.
posted by sallybrown at 9:06 PM on February 13, 2010

It looks to me as if the whole roof would be referred to as cross-gabled, but I'm guessing you're more curious about the swooping, off-centered a-frame-looking front. There are a lot of houses with that roof line (just the swoopy part, not the cross-gable) here in Maplewood, Mo. (old St. Louis suburb) built, I think, after the second world war. For some reason, I'm having this hazy memory that soldiers saw that style when they were overseas and had it put on their own houses when they got home. Hm. I guess that's all very vague. I believe the style is definitely post-Arts & Crafts, though. Let me poke around a bit . . . AHA! try here
posted by miss patrish at 9:27 PM on February 13, 2010

Crap! Didn't mean to post yet--try that link and scroll down: Looks like bell-cast is the term you're looking for. Cross-gabled bell-cast.
posted by miss patrish at 9:29 PM on February 13, 2010

The eleventh image down, actually, from Simcoe, Ontario.
posted by miss patrish at 9:30 PM on February 13, 2010

Also, here, on flickr--from 1914 in Vancouver, BC.
posted by miss patrish at 9:41 PM on February 13, 2010

Best answer: Bell-cast, or bellcast roof. Derives from the Queen Anne style.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:06 PM on February 13, 2010

Best answer: W-G P is closer to the mark, here. Bellcast seems right, but two of the three the pics linked to by the OP do not show cross-gabled houses (the main roofs are not gables).

I think these houses are the spawn of the postwar housing boom, when the modern building industry really got established. Modernism was gaining some popular acceptance at that time, but builders were mongrelizing a lot of disparate elements, pasting together this and that rather than following traditional forms. So, two of the three houses in that set of pics are basically square, modern boxes with shallow hip roofs (flat roofs would've been going too far), with this Queen-Anneish gabled facade stuck on the front. One has fake Tudor post-and-beam siding on the main house. Two are wallpapered with stone veneer under the gabled facade -- probably a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright. There's nothing pure and direct here - just a soup of ingredients the builders thought they could sell.
posted by jon1270 at 3:53 AM on February 14, 2010

First thing I thought of was Chalet Style.
posted by Gungho at 6:36 AM on February 14, 2010

Best answer: It is called a "catslide gable" or "catslide roof" (scroll down to the very Storybook Montclair Library photo) , though "asymmetric bell cast" will get the point across. The house itself is Neo-Eclectic, which is what post-war houses that reference Eclectic styles fall under. It's a later iteration of a style common to Tudor Revival, English Vernacular, or Storybook houses. My Field Guide to America Houses doesn't have a name for this particular roofline, but the 1920's -1940's example shows up in neighborhoods around me. It's generally attached to Tudoresque houses, but sometimes Spanish Eclectic or French Eclectic as well.

More examples of older specimens.

Just for clarification, the house in W-GP's last link is not itself a strictly Queen Anne house; it is a house that shares some characteristics with Queen Anne houses (1880 to 1910) that are also shared with Tudor houses (1890 to 1940). It is really in the Craftsman (1905 to 1930) vein, which shows in the decorative beams and exposed roof rafters. Here's a true Queen Anne near me with an asymmetric bell cast roof.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:59 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

It looks like an element borrowed from "Storybook" architecture. There are examples here, one of which has a similar although not as deep swoop.

We have quite a bit of this style in post-war houses in Vancouver. When I was on a Heritage House Tour a couple of years ago, it was explained that a local builder had migrated to L.A. to work (building sets I think?) and later returned home to build in this style.
posted by lunaazul at 2:00 PM on February 14, 2010

Dang, a minute too late!
posted by lunaazul at 2:12 PM on February 14, 2010

Response by poster: The asymmetrical styling did look somewhat Queen Anne to me, but it does make more sense to think of it of it in the context of postwar tract housing randomness.

Thanks for the info, everyone!
posted by thisjax at 9:10 PM on February 15, 2010

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