vermontism
January 13, 2015 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Tourist: Whaddya call that window over there?
Vermonter: Which window?
Tourist: Thanks! drives off posted by the man of twists and turns (35 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
or as a way to clear snow off the roof more easily ..
posted by k5.user at 12:27 PM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Or to get more light into a dark stairwell.
posted by maryr at 12:30 PM on January 13, 2015


Wow, neat! My in-laws' house (in Maine) has one of these but I never knew there was a name for them.

It really doesn't do much good in the room it's in but there is something nice about it.
posted by selfnoise at 12:35 PM on January 13, 2015


People clear snow off their roof?

(childhood in Vermont, don't recall ever hearing of or seeing such a thing)
posted by idiopath at 12:40 PM on January 13, 2015


If you have a roof or a section of roof that is not steeply pitched, it can be a good idea to clear heavy snow off. This is common for ranch houses, for instance. Otherwise you can get leaks or even a roof collapse if the roof is weakened. They sell roof rakes for this purpose.

I think some people also use them to clear snow around their gutters... maybe to prevent ice dams? I can't quite remember the logic there.
posted by selfnoise at 12:49 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had never heard of these and now my life won't be complete until I have a house with a witch window in it.
posted by TedW at 12:50 PM on January 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


selfnoise: aha, yeah, I don't recall ranch houses being so common in Vermont.
posted by idiopath at 12:56 PM on January 13, 2015


Our house has some weird architecture going on, but it's missing one of these. Time to get out the reciprocating saw!
posted by Foosnark at 12:58 PM on January 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Google image search brings up some more examples.

I think "Yankee thriftiness" is the best explanation — installing one of these would generally be a lot cheaper than any other solution.
posted by beagle at 1:02 PM on January 13, 2015


Here's some pics of the window from the inside.

One link is to the Window Depot, with other interesting windows.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:05 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Arrgh, beagle, jinx!
posted by BlueHorse at 1:05 PM on January 13, 2015


They sell roof rakes for this purpose.

But not right after a big storm.

I pass one of these every week, and I've always admired it. Recently I saw another one; till that I'd thought it's a one-off.
posted by maniabug at 1:06 PM on January 13, 2015


Also quite common in the Eastern Townships of Quebec as well. I always wondered why the hell those windows were at a slant, now I know! Thanks!
posted by Kitteh at 1:06 PM on January 13, 2015


I am glad I no longer worry about raking my roof. Before we had the standing seem metal roof put on, every heavy snow kept me up late worrying about roof collapse, ice damming, etc. Now all I have to worry about is calming the dog when the snow monsters shed off the roof.

Didn't know there was a name for these types of windows either, but just assumed it was Yankee frugality to use a standard size window at an angle to let light in to the stairways.
posted by terrapin at 1:15 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think some people also use them to clear snow around their gutters... maybe to prevent ice dams? I can't quite remember the logic there.

People in Minnesota do this because it's been drilled into them that this a rule of homeownership, and you must follow the rules without question. Whether or not you have an actual need to do so, such as having a house that's prone to ice dams, is irrelevant.

This also lets the raker feel superior to the non-raker, because the raker is a rule-follower, and the non-raker is not.
posted by gimonca at 1:21 PM on January 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


I learned something new today, which is nice. But what about houses with mysteriously missing windows, complete with shutters? What would that be called?
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:22 PM on January 13, 2015


That bedroom with the witch window and big puffy comforter looks really cozy, but I think I'd wake up seasick.
posted by moonmilk at 1:22 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Whereas when I grew up in Minnesota, I was taught that raking the roof damaged the shingles, and was only a lazy stopgap measure against ice dams to put off properly insulating. So I could feel superior by not raking the roof. Quiet judgmentalism is the flip side of Minnesota Nice.
posted by traveler_ at 1:24 PM on January 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


What would that be called?

Vampire Window
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:27 PM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Vampire Window

Actually, that's where they keep a relative. You know, THAT uncle.

Reminds me of this, only ugly.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:30 PM on January 13, 2015


BlueHorse: "Here's some pics of the window from the inside."

Yeah, that would be disorienting to live with.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:31 PM on January 13, 2015


Yeah, I just framed out our basement, and I don't want to know what the framing looks like behind those walls.
**shudder**
posted by blue_beetle at 1:46 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that would be disorienting to live with.

I think I would fall out of bed more often and dream about sinking ships.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:52 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


People clear snow off their roof?

If you've got a somewhat poozly roof and you want it not to collapse during huge snowstorms, then yes. If you have a somewhat poozly roof where water freezes on the end of it and the water comes into your house because there's an ice dam on the roof, then yes. Many people have little industries being the roof/ice person in a town. We had Terry the Ice Dam man in Randolph who would come over in the most terrible weather and get on a two story ladder and hit the ice with a crowbar and then get out of the way as huge icebergs would come crashing off of the roof. He was training his son to follow in his footsteps. I don't know what we paid Terry but it wasn't enough.
posted by jessamyn at 2:21 PM on January 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I had to do this when I was caretaking an old Victorian house in Vermont, my friend terrapin reminds me.
posted by jessamyn at 2:23 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


My parentsDad (let's face it, it was always Dad, it is a Dad job) used to climb out the window of their bedroom onto the porch roof below and then lean over the edge with, at times, an axe to break up the ice dam on the back corner of our suburban colonial. Poor Dad's afraid of heights too. Mom's basically just leaning out the window, alternating support, worry, and critique.

Now they have a wonderful metal roof, so instead you get the fun of having a peaceful evening alone at home when suddenly WHOOMPH something flies past the window and crashes to the ground. About the time your brain processes "It's OK, it was just snow from the roof," the dogs' brains have processed that BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK YIPE WIPE WOOF ROOF ROOF roof oh just the roof and then they go back to sleep like no big deal.

An evening in the r household, a one act play, starring BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK
posted by maryr at 2:30 PM on January 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


jessamyn: oh yeah of course you knock down icicles, those are braining hazards, but I didn't think of that as snow clearing. I was just a kid though.
posted by idiopath at 2:34 PM on January 13, 2015


They're two overlapping things. Some roofs fill with snow. Some fill with ice. Some you only see the ice once you get the snow off. Both are heavy and can be hazardous.

And oh god the snow monsters. You're asleep in your bed and all of the sudden there is a huge WHOOOMMNPPPPPSPSSSS and by the time you're awake the sound has stopped. Repeat every 45 minutes til April.
posted by jessamyn at 2:38 PM on January 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


idiopath: Clearing the snow prevents the snow from melting on the roof and forming the icicles in the first place.
posted by maryr at 2:38 PM on January 13, 2015


I am obsessed with these windows as we drive in Vermont.

Me (driving): I love those windows.

Husband: What ones?

Me: The sidewards ones. Right there!

Husband: Where?

Me: We passed it. Ohh another one! Right there!

Husband (not trying hard enough): Where?

Later

Me: There! Another one!

Husband (not even trying): missed it

Me: forget it.


Yay! Now I have a name for them and so glad someone else is interested in them, too.
posted by beccaj at 3:24 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love that the Wikipedia article felt the need for a citation for the assertion that Vermont is colder than some places.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:01 PM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


But what about houses with mysteriously missing windows, complete with shutters? What would that be called?

Creepy.
posted by dances with hamsters at 4:46 AM on January 14, 2015


...oh yeah of course you knock down icicles, those are braining hazards...

Not to mention they can fall and break your glasses. At least that's the story you tell your mom.
posted by TedW at 5:31 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


How do you hang a blind on one of these? Is that where the witchcraft comes in?
posted by orme at 10:12 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe now that I know what they are, I'll appreciate them more. Witch windows have always looked odd and unsettling to me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:45 AM on January 15, 2015


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