Even if you are not familiar with the term “turret,” you’ve most likely seen a turret that has turned your head. They are hard to miss! A turret is simply a small, circular tower attached to a larger structure, usually on a corner or angle. The difference between a turret and an actual tower is that turrets typically don’t start at the ground level and, rather, cantilever out from another upper level.

Turrets were originally found on Medieval era castles as decorative features that echoed full-scale towers. The corner tower became a staple of home design during the mid and late Victorian era, but the architectural period known as the “heyday” for residential turrets was the Queen Anne style. Homes built in the Queen Anne style boast a picturesque aesthetic with a combination of features like brackets, gables, oriel windows, decorative shingling and asymmetrical, multi-faceted facades.

Even with all of these decorative elements, turrets remain the “architectural show-stealers,” as Kathy Dillon puts it, “like crowns capturing the attention before one can begin to appreciate the other treasures nearby.” The desire for these architectural embellishments was a tangible reflection of culture under the influence of the 19th century great Romantics.

In American architecture, turrets can be found on a variety of Victorian and Queen Anne designs along the coasts and in other historic neighborhoods across the country.

This wood and shingle turret with copper detailing and a subtle spire adds stunning curb appeal while also adding an outpost of bay windows for enjoying a lovely view.

An inside view of a turret shows off the charming living space that can be enjoyed with this architectural addition.

Turrets can even be designed to serve as an open-air balcony with a gazebo-like shape.

Do you have a Victorian, Queen Ann style or other historical period home in New England that you’d love to remodel, revive and refurbish to preserve its historical beauty while granting it new life and modern functionality? Contact the experienced historic restoration design and build professionals at TMS Architects in Portsmouth, NH online or by calling 603-436-4274.

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