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Architectural Antics

Enhance your home and business with treasures from the past.

A short list of some things you might find at Architectural Antics! (a little primer on some architectural terms)

Baluster: One of a series of short vertical posts, often ornamental, used to support a rail.

Balustrade: A railing composed of balusters and a top rail running along the edge of a porch, balcony, roof, or stoop.

Came: A slender rod of cast lead, with or without grooves, used in casements and stained-glass windows to hold the panes or pieces of glass together

Capital: The topmost member, usually decorated, of a column or pilaster.

Cast Iron: A type of iron, mass-produced in the nineteenth century, created by pouring molten iron into a mold; used for ornament, garden furniture, and building parts.

Colonnade: A row of regularly spaced columns supporting an entablature.

Colonnette: A diminutive column which is usually either short or slender.

Column : A vertical, cylindrical support. In classical design it is composed of a base (except in the Greek Doric order), a long, gradually tapered shaft, and a capital.

Console: A scroll-shaped projecting bracket that supports a horizontal member.

Corbel : An architectural member which projects upward and outward from a wall that supports a horizontal member.

Cornice: A projecting molding that tops the elements to which it is attached; used especially for a roof or the crowning member of an entablature, located above the frieze.

Cresting: A decorative element, frequently of iron, usually located at the peak or edge of a roof.

Crocket: An ornamental foliate form placed at regularly spaced intervals on the slopes and edges of the spires, pinnacles, gables, and similar elements of Gothic buildings.

Cupola: A small dome on a base crowning a roof

Decorative Masonry: Terra cotta, cast-stone or natural stone (such as limestone, marble, brownstone or granite) facade areas and/or any ornamental feature which is a component of the facade such as, belt courses, banding, water tables, cornices, corbelled brick work, medallions, enframements, and surrounds, and ornamental bonding patterns, e.g. tapestry brick or diaper patterns.

Dentil : A small, square, tooth-like block in a series beneath a cornice.

Doric: One of five classical orders, recognizable by its simple capital. The Greek Doric column has a fluted shaft and no base; the Roman Doric column may be fluted or smooth and rests on a molded base.

Egg and dart: An ornamental band molding of egg forms alternating with dart forms.

Eyebrow dormer: A curved dormer with no sides, covered by a smooth protrusion from the sloping roof.

Fanlight: A semicircular or semielliptical window above a door, usually inset with radiating glazing bars.

Fascia: A horizontal, flat element often combined with a cornice and architrave.

Fenestration: The arrangement, proportioning and design of windows in a building.

Festoon: A carved ornament in the form of a band, loop, or wreath, suspended from two points; also called a “garland” or “swag”.

Finial: The crowning ornament of a pointed element, such as a spire.

Foliate: Decorative leafage, often applied to capitals or moldings.

French door or French window: A tall casement window that reaches to the floor, usually arranged in two leaves as a double door.

Frieze: 1. The middle horizontal member of a classical entablature, above the architrave and below the cornice. 2. A similar decorative band in a stringcourse, or near the top of an interior wall below the cornice.

Gable: The upper portion of an end wall formed by the slope of a roof.

Gothic Sash : A window sash pattern composed of mullions that cross to form pointed arches.

Grille: A decorative, openwork grating, usually of iron, used to protect a window, door, or other opening.

Improvement: Any building, structure, place, work of art, or other object constituting a physical betterment of real property, or any part of such betterment.

Ionic: One of the five classical orders, characterized by capitals with spiral elements called “volutes,” a fasciated entablature, continuous frieze, dentils in its cornice, and by its elegant detailing.

Jigsaw Carving: Wooden ornament cut with a thin narrow saw blade.

Keystone: The central wedge-shaped member of a masonry arch; also used as a decorative element on arches in wood structures.

Leaded window: A window composed of small panes, usually diamond-shaped or rectangular, held in place by narrow strips of cast lead.

Lintel: A horizontal structural element over an opening which carries the weight of the wall above it.

Lunette: A crescent-shaped or semicircular area or opening on a wall surface.

Modillion: A projecting scroll-shaped bracket or simple horizontal block arranged in series under the soffit of a cornice.

Molding: A piece of trim that introduces varieties of outline or curved contours in edges or surfaces as on window jambs and heads. Moldings are generally divided into three categories: rectilinear, curved and composite-curved.

Mullion: A vertical primary framing member that separates paired or multiple windows within a single opening.

Newel: The main post at the foot of a stairway or stoop.

Oriel: A projecting bay window carried on corbels or brackets.

Pediment: 1. The triangular space forming the gable end of a roof above the horizontal cornice. 2. An ornamental gable, usually triangular, above a door or window.

Pier: 1. A column designed to support concentrated load. 2. A member, usually in the form of a thickened section, which forms an integral part of a wall; usually placed at intervals along the wall to provide lateral support or to take concentrated vertical loads. 3. A vertical supporting member or element (usually of brick, stone, or metal) placed at intervals along a wall, which typically separate each storefront opening from the adjacent storefront opening.

Pilaster: An engaged pier or pillar, often with capital and base.

Portico: A small porch composed of a roof supported by columns, often found in front of a doorway.

Quoin A structural form, usually of masonry, used at the corners of a building for the purpose of reinforcement, frequently imitated for decorative purposes.

Relief: Carved or molded ornament that projects from a flat surface.

Restoration: The process of returning, as nearly as possible, a building or any of its parts to its original form and condition.

Rosette: A round floral ornament, usually carved or painted.

Round arch: A semicircular arch.

Sidelight: A vertically framed area of fixed glass, often subdivided into panes, flanking a door.

Swag: A carved ornament in the form of a draped cloth or a festoon of fruit or flowers.

Terra cotta: Hard fired clay, either glazed or unglazed, molded into ornamental elements, wall cladding, and roof tiles.

Tracery: An ornamental configuration of curved mullions in a Gothic sash.

Trefoil: A three-lobed decorative form used in Gothic architecture

Volute: A carved spiral form in classical architecture; often used in pairs as in the capitals of Ionic columns.

Voussoir: A wedge-shaped component of an arch.

Wrought Iron: Iron that is worked by being forged or hammered.

Source: New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission website