Saturday, October 13, 2007

Transoms and fanlights

A friend of mine has a lovely home on the water in Maryland. My favorite room in the house is the guest room; it is painted a very pale, very soft sea glass green (Donald Kaufman paints). The colors in the room are so soothing. Above the bed is an antique transom from A. Tyner Antiques, a wonderful antique store here in Atlanta that specializes in Swedish antiques.

A. Tyner usually has a dozen antique transoms for sale, but for some reason they are not listed on the inventory of the website. These transoms are beautifully carved, and are often painted some sort of muted shade of Swedish blue or green. Sometimes they are antique white. You can see a fine example of one of their transoms in the picture below, on the right, leaning on top of the chest:
A transom is defined as a horizontal dividing bar of stone or wood above a window, or between a door and a window. It is usually rectangular shaped.

Buffalo, NY

In the 18th century, the style of transom that became increasingly popular was the fanlight. The fanlight enabled the size of the door to be reduced, but still allowed a source of light for the front hall.

London, England

London, England

Another lovely example from London's Chelsea area. This fanlight style transom is set on a rectangular pane. From londonconstant on flickr.

A fanlight from Charleston, SC. I took this picture because I loved the color of the door, but the fanlight is beautiful too!

This is from an Atlanta real estate listing. There is a neighborhood in Atlanta with very grand one level homes on 1-2 acre lots. Most of the original homes have doors with elaborate fan windows. Some people renovate the homes, but many of them are getting torn down in favor of larger homes.

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  1. I had transoms put in above the windows in my Family Room and Kitchen. They add so much character and let in more light. Beautiful post!

  2. I love homes with transoms. If I was remodeling I would definitely put them in. They really add great character. Even without remodeling just hanging antique ones above a door or window can add something to a room.

    Too bad they are tearing down the original homes in favor of larger new ones. I hope they are at least adding details like transoms and fanlights to the newer homes! Those details make such a difference. Great post, love the pictures!


  3. I never knew what they were called before, so thanks for such an informative post! It's so sad to hear that people are tearing down beautiful old historical homes in favor of large new ones...

  4. Well, to be fair, many people are renovating the homes, because the cost of the property is so high that it would be quite expensive to purchase one of these homes, then start from scratch and build. However, these homes are not really historic gems; they were very upscale 1950s/1960s ranch homes that have floor plans quite incompatible with 21st century family life.

  5. All those Swedish items are so stunning. I will take a transom or two, too!

  6. I saw so many beautiful doors and fanlights in Charleston this weekend. Since I was there for a wedding, I had very little time to explore, shop and take photos! I am glad you have some beautiful images to share.

  7. Transoms are so marvelous. Part of me craves the curve of the fan light... the other more classic side of me longs for the leaded glass rectangular transom. So very classic Roman :)

    Interesting post!

  8. Yes, I started out writing about transoms, but once I learned that fanlights are a form of transoms, I quickly got swept into the beauty of the fanlight! I love transoms above french doors, but love a good intricate fanlight above a front door.

  9. Well golly I have one and didn't know what it was. mine is just a solid glass.Always learn something new.

  10. Thanks! I never knew what these were! in the world of mass production of things & home, your post is inspiring me to add a transome to huge doors I have!

  11. Ooh, a great subject! I have three transoms in my house. VERY modest compared to the ones pictured here, but I really enjoy mine.

  12. You've got some great examples here. I've always love this wonderful architectural feature. I'm hoping to have a wonderful red door someday with a stunning transom. Ah....

  13. I didn't know what a transom was until a crossword clue of 'rectangular fanlight' stopped us in our tracks, and then I found your website and now I'd love to have a transom above my front door!

  14. Thanks for the beautiful post! I'm wild about doors/windows and you've collected some very lovely images -inspiring indeed!


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