One of my most favorite roof designs is the Gambrel roof. It typically refers to a sloped roof with two angles, very common in barns. The word derives from the Medieval Latin word Gamba which literally means ‘Horses Hock’ or ‘Horses Leg’. One can see this double angle influence in the roof slope.
When you research this design, it was first introduced to the Europeans when they first encountered the deign in Indonesia. the double sloped design often had a window at the end to allow the smoke from cooking fires to more easily escape the house. The design was brought to America through the colonialists, and it has become a popular traditional design all over the U.S.
The type of roof allows for the upper floors to remain roomy, including the attic, as well as allow water to flow off the roof. Many variations of the Gambrel roof have been designed over the year, including this one pictured here in Nashville, Michigan which has the addition of a additional smaller roof edge to repel rain water and snow.
To me the design is classic, and can conjure up so many memories of WWII era movies and other periods. The rood design is also commonly associated with barns, as it allows the added space in the loft for hay. It is perhaps the roomiest style of design in two story home designs. There are many of these style homes throughout Battle Creek, Michigan. It is part of Americana.