Restoration Glossary

Term Definition
Cape Cod

A Cape Cod house is distinguished as an architectural style in that a type or form relates to the shape of the house and may be constructed using details of one or a combination of various styles. The Cape Cod house type is typically modest in size, one-and-one-half stories tall and two rooms deep. Other typical features include: steeply pitched gable roofs; large central chimneys; and minimal roof overhangs. A “full cape” is typically five bays wide with a symmetrical façade.

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Casement Window

A window frame that is hinged on one vertical side, and which swings open to either the inside or the outside of the building. Casement windows often occur in pairs.

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Casing

Casing is the wooden trim piece that “frames” the inside or outside opening of a window or door. Most often, and nearly always in the major rooms in a house, interior window and door casings have a decorative molding profile; typically, less important rooms in the house will have a simpler molded, or a plain, flat board, casing.

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Chevron

A design that incorporates a pointed shape similar to an accent mark, common to Art Deco architecture.

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Colonnade

A range of columns that supports a string of continuous arches or a horizontal entablature.

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Corbel

A corbel is a projecting block, usually made of stone, supporting a beam or other horizontal member. Corbelling is a technique whereby brick or masonry courses are each built out beyond the one below in a series of steps. This was a popular method for creating vaulted ceilings, particularly in churches or cathedrals.

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Corinthian Order

A variation of the Ionic order, and the youngest (dating from the 4th century B.C.E.) of the three basic orders of classical Greek architecture (the others being the Doric and the Ionic orders). The Corinthian column was the showiest of the three basic columns, with a tall acanthus leaf capital, a molded base, and a slender, fluted shaft. The Corinthian order was utilized in ancient Greece almost exclusively for temple interiors, but became very prominent in ancient Rome, due to the ancient Romans’ taste for excessive ornamentation, particularly in architecture. Ever the imitators, but rarely the inventors, the ancient Romans grafted the volute scrolls of the Ionic order onto the capitals of the Corinthian order to result in the Composite Order.

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Cornice

The cornice is the topmost, projecting component of the three elements that make up a classical entablature (architrave, frieze, and cornice). In builder’s parlance, cornice describes any projecting decorative element at the roof line of a building.

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Crenellations

A sequence of alternating raised and lowered wall sections at the top of a high exterior wall or parapet. Crenellations were originally employed for defensive purposes (one could hide behind a raised wall section, while shooting down at enemies from over a lowered wall section), but were later used for decoration. Also known as a battlement.

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Cupola

A cupola is a small and typically domed structure on the top of a building. Cupolas may also crown a larger roof or dome and may be used to provide light or a look-out point. Cupolas are often decorative and are usually are found on large public buildings. 

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