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The original eyebrow windows were built during Medieval times in order to add light in otherwise dark thatched-roof cottages. These little windows curved slightly above the roof line just as an eyebrow curves over an eye. They were brought back into popular usage again during the late 1800s, because Victorian homes had dark upper stories which needed both light and ventilation. They also added points of interest to long, unbroken expanses of roof on the huge houses. These unique windows continue to be used in various types of architecture today, although not necessarily in the traditional way.

A traditional eyebrow window is a small oval or a piece of a circle in shape. Although manufacturers do make standard half-round windows, most eyebrow windows need to be specially constructed. That means that they won't be inexpensive to build. In carpentry, anything that isn't straight is going to cost more. Experts say that a standard-sized window can cost as much as $10,000 or as much as all the rest of the windows in your house combined. Special interior construction also adds to the price. Cost is probably the biggest reason why you don't see more of these windows in residential homes.

Another part of having an eyebrow window that is more difficult and time-consuming is roofing it. Naturally anything that changes the line of a roof requires more roofing attention than just slapping on another row of shingles. There are a couple of different ways to roof your eyebrow window, both of which take more time and expertise. The most common method is to cover the roof over the window with mallable copper and treat it completely separately from the rest of the roof. Another way is to continue the roofing material being used on the rest of the roof up and over the eyebrow. This involves a lot of geometric calculations and definitely requires a professional's touch.

Eyebrow windows are most commonly seen on Craftsman bungalows that were built during the 1920s and '30s. At this point in time, the windows usually weren't made to open, but they were used for light and to add a little extra detail to the roofline. Many of the eyebrows incorporated into today's housing designs are made to be more functional. Some are larger with windows that open and close. Others are added to the top of square windows in the walls instead of the roof which gives more interest to the window.

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