Falling under the category of features on your home that people often call one thing when they actually mean another would be the ‘cupola’.
Perhaps my biggest pet peeve with these types of items is when someone refers to a ‘downspout’ on their home as a ‘gutter’.
In the same realm, I see the term ‘cupola’ thrown all over the place.
Recently I was out to breakfast with a good friend of mine who was discussing the concept of a ‘widow’s walk’, but was referring to it as a ‘cupola’.
If you are familiar with the concept of a ‘monitor’ or a ‘dormer’, I have seen these items being called ‘cupolas’ in the past as well.
What exactly then is a ‘cupola’?
The easiest way to describe it, is a cupola on someone’s home is like a tiny house on top of their big house. It’s like a little hat for the house! It’s not for people to live in, but it makes the house look special and helps with some important things.
Imagine you have a big, tall house, like a farmhouse or a fancy mansion. On top of this house, there’s a small, cute building that looks like a little tower with windows (typically glass or vented with louvers).
That’s the ‘cupola’!
It’s usually made of wood or metal and can be shaped like a dome or a small house with a pointy roof.
Now, you might wonder why someone would put a cupola on their house. Well, there are a few good reasons:
Letting in Light: One important job of a cupola is to let sunlight into the house. It has windows on all sides, so when the sun shines through, it brightens up the inside of the house. That way, people inside don’t need to use as many lights during the day.
Ventilation: The cupola also helps with air. It’s like a chimney on top of your house, but instead of smoke, it lets out hot air and helps fresh air come in. This keeps the inside of the house from getting too hot in the summer.
Looks Pretty: Besides being useful, cupolas make a house look charming and unique. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and people often decorate them with fun things like weathervanes or fancy decorations. It’s like dressing up your house!
These days, particularly on newer homes, cupolas tend to be more decorative than functional, and the majority of the time are securely fastened (in a water-tight manner) somewhere on a roof vs. being integrated with the actual structure itself.
Many times, you will notice cupolas being stationed on a garage roof, especially on newer homes in New England.
A cupola is a cute little addition to a house. It’s like a tiny tower that helps with things such as bringing in light, keeping the air fresh, and making the house look unique and charming.
If you ever see a house with a little house on top, you’ll know it’s called a cupola, and it’s doing something important, if nothing more than enhancing the beauty of the home.
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