The Carriage House: Garage and Guest Quarters Rolled into One

By HomeAdvisor

Updated October 20, 2016

Carriage house

Before automobiles were popular and garages became standard fare in American homes, there was the carriage house. Historically it was a structure set off from the main home on wealthier estates that included a place to park the family carriage and a stable to house the horses in. With the rise in popularity of automobiles, and the fact that cars didn’t need to be housed quite as far away as the horses for aromatic reasons, these structures dropped out of favor as garages rose in prominence. Lucky for today’s homeowners, however, the basic idea was not forgotten. And like so many traditional building styles, these homes are now enjoying a revival of sorts.

The Carriage House Revival

It’s not clear what brought carriage homes back into the consciousness of American homeowners, but more than likely it was the boom in popularity of multiple car garages towards the end of the 20th century. Bigger garages were better, and some people with high storage needs decided they could use more than one of them. These homeowners and their designers looked back to the old carriage homes for inspiration and the modern version was born. Carriage houses are presently built as a stand-alone structure with a ground floor entirely dedicated to garage and workshop space.

Great for Housing Cars, Workshops and The In-Laws!

Perhaps the biggest benefit of modern carriage homes, however, isn’t all the storage space below. That can be achieved with a simple single story garage, if need be. The innovation that makes these homes so distinct is the fact that living quarters, usually including a living room, bedroom, bath and kitchen, are built in on top of the garages. In one fell swoop you’ve got all the garage space you can dream of, a guest home for when friends and family come to visit, and all are housed in a very classy home design that matches the rest of the structures on your property.

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The Many Uses of a Carriage House

While most carriage homes are used as guest cottages and automobile storage, there are a host of other uses for these innovative structures as well. They are the perfect place to locate a home office since they are just removed enough to allow for some work to get done, and their bottom floors provide the perfect place for home workshops since loud power tools will no longer bother the rest of the family in the main house.

Not Just for the Wealthy

On a final note, don’t shun carriage houses as the domain of the wealthy. If you’re considering building a detached garage, workshop, or other structure separate from your home, why not go with a carriage house design? It might cost a little extra during the building phase, but even an average homeowner will find the extra living space a valuable addition. Talk to a general contractor about developing the best design for your needs and get your new construction project underway.

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