The Cupola

A year ago, I had the idea of adding a cupola to the garage, the least attractive  building on the property. Adding a cupola, punctuated by a wind vane, would significantly improve its appearance.
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A farm needs a wind vane

When we first moved in, our little farm consisted of three plain buildings and some fencing.  That was significantly more than the armpit-deep weeds that covered the landscape when we purchased the lot.  We’ve made improvements since then, but something has been missing.  Well, there is always something missing or in need of change.  In this case though, it’s a cupola with a wind vane.  Go to any farm…on the barn or at least one building you will find a wind vane perched on a cupola.

Long ago, even houses featured a cupola.  It was an effective way to vent the hot air out of the building.  A fine example is the cupola on top of the manor house at Mount Vernon, VA.  The glass panes can be opened to vent the house.  The wind vane – in the shape of a dove carrying an olive branch – was custom ordered by George Washington.  The General was obviously making a statement by placing a bird of peace on top of his house (added after the Revolutionary War).

I ‘ve imagined various designs, but couldn’t quite figure out how to create the curvature in the roof.  A recent internet search, however, yielded a how-to guide published in 1999.  The guide includes a technique for making the “witches hat” roof.  It was so simple.

As for it’s placement, the cupola will go on the building that is most in need of embellishment.  The garage couldn’t be more plain.  It’s a box with some holes in one side.  Soon it will have a cupola to lend it a little agrarian charm.