Is there a rule of thumb on how big the dormers should be?
April 20, 2014 in Design Dilemma
We have 36' for front of house, 2 car garage connecting by a breezeway mudroom. Adding 10' front porch and thinking of connecting the 2nd floor dormers with shed dormer and small square window in center with shutters. Should we enlarge and center dormers above the 1st floor windows? If so, add shutters? Or maybe center and have 2 windows, thinking that may be too big? This is a lake house near Lake Michigan, will have metal roof on porch and changing front door to be more glass and sidelights. No storm door. Do not want to overbuild, but once porch is added, will dormers look too small. We will be changing the box look on the peaks of dormers. Will be a little softer. Note, current size of upper windows are 34 x 48, lower windows 34 x 54.
Thank you for your advice, really appreciate any feedback, particularly on size of dormers in comparison to size of roofline.
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Patricia Colwell
I think joining the 2 together will be too big on the house the dormers look just right to my eye.
1 Like   Thanked by bethmcnamara    April 20, 2014 at 7:26AM
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Sophie Wheeler
The only way to successfully change the size of the dormers is to add more height to the second floor. That means tearing it off and rebuilding it. Which destroys the scale of the current home without also adding height to the first floor. At which point, the project has become so expensive that it approaches a teardown because it IS a teardown.

Just adding a porch to the home is liable to be more involved and difficult than you think it will be because it will end up right underneath the current dormers. That will create issues with potential leaks, especially with a different roofing material planned. The house should really have WR Grace's Ice and Water shield applied on the new porch and also tear enough of the present roof off to get the dormers and new porch intersection well covered as well. In otherwords, a whole new roof for it all.
0 Likes   Thanked by bethmcnamara    April 20, 2014 at 8:34AM
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Adding a porch will change the look of the house and visually break the connection between the upper and lower floors. I like shed dormers, and believe connecting the 2 doghouses with a shed would add room on the 2nd floor, and visual interest to the exterior.
1 Like   April 20, 2014 at 9:41AM
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Thank you for your comment and picture. That is very close to what we were thinking except one window in center with shutters. If we do that and slightly enlarge the dormer, it does add more useable space in the two upper bedrooms. The dormers look just ok now, but in all the sketches when we add a porch, they start to look too small.
0 Likes   April 21, 2014 at 6:09AM
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Sophie, thanks for tip on WR Grace Ice and Water Shield….a new roof was put on about 4 years ago, right before we bought it, I will see if that was possibly done then.
0 Likes   April 21, 2014 at 6:12AM
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