I love turrets on houses. Probably because I love castles.
I like the exterior look of them as well as the small nook-style rooms they create inside. Turret rooms in castles, palaces, older homes and even those built in newly built houses today are fun – a small office, reading nook, small kids play room, etc.
This was a super fun article and photo collection to put together.
A turret is a small tower on top of a tower or attached to a side or corner of a building. They may be round, square, hexagon and octagon … anything that results in a narrow tower-like structure attached to or part of the main structure.
Turrets had a very practical purpose for castle and fortress defense. They served as watch out towers as well as elevated positions to defend attackers during medieval times.
Over time, castles became less and less important as a defense structure. In its place, rulers, nobility and wealthy people built palaces. Palaces took on many castle architectural elements including turrets. However, palace turrets served an aesthetic purpose only.
Turrets in houses today
Because the romanticism of medieval architecture is strong, turrets live on in today’s architecture. They were particularly popular with Victorian houses (many examples below). However, even new-build houses today include turrets for appearance sake… many would qualify those houses as McMansions.
As you’ll see below, turrets in houses aren’t as prominent or as towering as they were when built into castles or even chateaus. In some cases they’re pretty subtle, but there are examples where they really do form a distinct tower on the corner of the house.
If you like the idea of a turret on your house, here’s an amazing photo collection of all kinds of houses with all types of turrets.
Here’s a red and white Victorian style house with a turret balcony on one side of the house. Notice how the upper part of the turret is open to the outdoors, kind of like a gazebo instead of enclosed as part of the home’s interior.
Round with Cone Roof
Center Square Turret
Here’s an example where the turret is in the center of the house. The bottom is the front entry and the tower rises above the main house.
Large Victorian house with 3-story enclosed turret off the front porch.
Casa Loma Turrets
The following 3 photos feature Casa Loma, a castle residence built in Toronto, Canada in 1914 by Sir Henry Pellatt, a financier. I had the good fortune to tour this house when visiting Toronto. It is a palace on par with any in Europe.
As you can see, this house has many turrets of all sizes and shapes on all sides.
Front facade of Casa Loma showcasing a massive tower above the front door.
Side view of Casa Loma with a massive center round turret feature towering above the main structure.
Rear view of Casa Loma including a massive tower with turret rising up in one corner. You can see multiple smaller turrets all over this structure.
San Francisco Victorian
San Francisco is famous for its Victorian homes, many of which have a turret. Here’s an example of a fairly modest home with a turret.
House in Alamo Square, San Francisco with turret. Notice the arched windows on both levels of the turret.
Turret with Balcony
Here’s a close-up of a turret that has a decorative balcony wrapping around the upper part of the structure.
Old victorian house called the “Pink Lady” built in 1889 in Eureka, California.
Sprawling Victorian mansion
Sprawling mansion with turret above the solarium with cone roof rising above the rest of the home. This turret is best viewed from the rear of the home.
McMansion with Turret
Here’s a classic example of a McMansion with a turret built into the main structure of the home adjacent to the front door. It rises up as high as the rest of the house but is distinguishable because of its separate cone roof.
Turret Through Roof
This is a fascinating turret. Notice how the house has a rounded corner and then the turret is built on top of the roof. I think it’s a nice technique. This house is in San Francisco.
Large Turret Porch
The Settlemier House Built around 1892 in Woodburn, Oregon has a turret structure built onto the roof. It’s large and the rounded parts of the home include a rounded porch.
Skinny Brick Turret
Here’s an old Victorian home with a narrow brick turret. The lower part of the turret includes and exterior curved porch.M
New Mansion with Small Turret
This new mansion has a rounded turret structure built as the foyer of the home.
Mackinac Island Victorian Mansions with Turrets
A row of mansions on Mackinac Island. Notice how almost all of them have a turret as part of the design.
Green Victorian Farmhouse
Green Victorian farmhouse with turreted bay window on corner of the home.
Here’s an example of what I call a pocket turret where it’s a partial turret on the second floor poking out from the rest of the home.
McMansion Turret Foyer
White McMansion with huge center turret structure that’s the front door and foyer.
Shingle-Sided Round Turret
Victorian style home with a round turret on corner above large porch with shingle siding.
Revival Tudor with Octagon Turret
I love this Revival Tudor home with Octagon turret in the front where the front door is placed. Notice the tall, narrow arched window built into the turret above the front door.
Large Red Brick Mansion with Turret
Another old Chicago mansino with corner turret built off to the side of the porch.
Push-Through Roof Turret
Here’s another example of the turret built on top of the roof but appears to be one structure from the rounded corner of the house below.
Modern Suburban Castle
White suburban house built like a castle structure with a turret built in the center where the front door is located.
Round Porch and Turret
Here’s an example of the lower part of the home being rounded corner with porch that rises up to a third story turret.
Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts: The Corbin Norton House (Peter Norton, Norton Utilities/Symantec), totally destroyed by fire in 2001, is pictured here fully restored to its original Queen Anne style residence which was completed in 2004. The towering red-roofed cone turret is a stand-out feature of this incredible example of Queen Anne architecture.
Spanish Style House with Turret
Here’s a white stucco red tile roof Spanish style home built in L-shape with turret built into the center like a hinge.
Eastern Style Turret
Two elaborate Victorian houses in Alamo Square in San Francisco. Notice the blue house on the right with its Eastern inspired turret.
Octagon Turret with Dormers
Here’s a 3 story octagon shaped turret with tiny dormers built into the roof. This corner turret is also where the front door is located.
Towering Square Turret
The Carson mansion, a large Victorian house of American Queen Anne style architecture in Eureka, California. This is an example where the turret is incredibly tall compared to the rest of the house. It’s also a square turret which is not as popular as round turrets.
Stone Turret in Contemporary Mansion
Contemporary mansion with stone round turret built into the main structure. It forms the rounded staircase inside the house. Interestingly it doesn’t have many windows which is unusual for a turret.
Turret with pointed dome roof
Victorian style house with turret in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada with pointed dome roof.
Square Turret with Round Lookout Ship Windows
The center-located square turret on this house has tiny round look out windows built into the steeply sloped roof with crows nest built on top.
Powerful large round turret is the showcase feature on this old Victorian home. The turret includes full wrap-around porch on the bottom.
The Turret Add-On
I don’t care for this turret at all. It looks like it was added on to the house after the fact.
Fancy Decagon Turret with Arched Windows
Here’s a turret like structure that would be a decagon if not built into the home. Each of the 5 exposed sides includes a tall arched window.
Here’s a turret structure that’s actually an upper porch. The turret structure is delineated by spindles and then the cone roof.
A run-of-the-mill suburban house with round turret built for the front door entry. You can see from the outside that the staircase is built inside with the lowering cascading windows.
Stone McMansion Turret
Here’s a McMansion with large stone turret at the front door.
Spanish Mansion with Windowless Turret
White Spanish style mansion with large windowless turret built into the main structure of the house (as opposed to being built on the side or corner where most turrets are built).
The landmark Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC, Canada. Now that’s a turret. It towers above the rest of the home and includes a walk-around balcony acting as a watch tower. This is a stunning home built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir.
Here’s a newly built mansion where the turret forms the structure where the winding staircase is located inside for great effect.