Do you want to give a modern twist to your classic home? Then you don’t have to search much; the solution is the carriage house!

The carriage house, also called a cart shed or coach house, was regarded as a status symbol in England during the 18th century. Previously, elegant families rode in horse-drawn carriages through the magnificent rolling countryside. And at day’s end, the carriages, horses, and their drivers entered the carriage house.

So, let’s have a look at how carriage houses took a turn from classic to modern look!    

What is a Carriage House?

What is a Carriage House

Originally, this house (also known as a cart shed or a coach house) was designed to serve as an outbuilding and storage for horse-drawn carriages and their equipment, like a garage. It even had an upper floor for the coachman to take a rest.

Nowadays, the house is used as a garage, a small second home, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), tiny homes, home offices, guest houses, workshops, or studio spaces. They can even serve as a multi-purpose unit for both home and office work.   

The carriage house apartment is often called a single-family home built on a small piece of land. It resembles a condo or townhouse more and frequently lacks setback requirements, which prevent houses and other dwellings from being constructed too close to one another.

Do You Know How Carriage House Originated?

Do You Know How Carriage House Originated?

With the rise of the horse-drawn carriage in Great Britain, this house came into the picture. Back in the 1700s, the horse-drawn carriage was used by wealthy families as a status symbol, and this house was their property. 

This house came to the US during the mid-to-late 1800s. As the cities developed, these homes came to be used widely, especially in New York and England. Given the cost of carriages and the resources needed to engage a carriage driver, having this house on one’s property was often considered a sign of affluence.

By the 1900s, if a lofted living area was available, homeowners began converting carriage houses into garages, and the buildings increasingly became homes for staff members and house drivers.

These houses were frequently extravagant and typically imitated the architectural style of the bigger properties. For instance, the majority of these houses in New England matched the main house’s clapboard siding and low-pitched roofs. These houses with bay windows, stained glass, and even some elaborate scrollwork on the eaves were common features of Victorian-style residences. While the smaller town carriage houses had a simple structure with a single carriage room. 

What are the Key Characteristics of Carriage House

The following are the characteristics of this house –

1. Two-Story Building

Two-Story Building carriage house

Being two-story is the key characteristic. Due to the height of the building, there was more room for carriages and space for the carriage driver’s living quarters on the upper floor.

2. High Ceiling Rooms

High Ceiling Rooms carriage house

The carriage house is also famous for its high ceilings. These days, the high ceilings provide an open and spacious feel. This was required to accommodate a carriage and provide lofted space above the carriage and horses.

3. Open Floor Plan Concept 

Open Floor Plan Concept carriage house

The open floor plan allowed the carriage drivers to navigate the horse and carriage around the carriage house easily. Having walls makes the structure more rigid, so open plans make the structure attractive. 

4. Large Door

Large Door Carriage House

The large doors help to navigate the carriage and horses into the building. Having a tall, wide door offers enough space for the carriage to get inside. 

5. Loftier Living Space

Loftier Living Space Carriage House

These houses have large and loftier living rooms for the carriage men. Although the sleeping quarters are small, the living space was made large. This additional space makes the homeowner feel roomy.

6. Front-Facing Windows

Front-Facing Windows Carriage House

These houses were designed to have windows only on the front face of the house. This resulted in natural light not entering deeply into the rooms. Modern carriage houses have windows as per the user’s preference. 

7. Complementing the Neighboring Buildings

Complementing the Neighboring Buildings

Through the ages, these houses have been constructed to blend in with or enhance existing structures on the property. This ensured that this house looked like a miniature version of the main structure, with similar siding color, roof material, trim, and windows.

How Does Modern Carriage House Look?

Modern Carriage House Look

Jay Kallos, the Vice President of Architecture for Ashton Woods in Atlanta, says, “The carriage house has become somewhat disassociated with its original purpose as it’s taken on new and more useful purposes. The carriage house really gives homeowners the opportunity—architecturally or designwise—to have some fun ”

Today’s modern carriage house is designed to serve multiple functions. The carriage houses you see now are either modernized versions of the older buildings or brand-new dwellings constructed in the carriage house design. The carriage house can easily be converted into a work office, home gym, studio, or storage space.

What’s the Modern Day Use of Carriage Houses?

Modern Day Use of Carriage House

Lita Belcher, of Lita Belcher Interior Design in Knoxville, Tennessee, says, Carriage houses are always going to be a little special.”

Carriage homes have been renovated and altered over time by homeowners and developers to meet changing demands. And the appeal of the houses hasn’t wavered. These multi-story garages have developed into the ideal framework for second homes and garage apartments, which are referred to as accessory dwelling units. Some have been transformed into industrial workshops, art studios, and even clandestine clubs.

Value Addition

As the carriage house can serve as a workshop, garage, office space, guest suites, short-term rentals, etc., it can add significant value to your property. They can be sold as “premium” plots for a profit to the property owner.

Income Generation

Homeowners who own carriage houses may be able to supplement their income through long- or short-term rentals as well as by providing a more private lodging option for their visitors. When choosing whether this is the right course for you, keep in mind that while they might be useful in increasing income, they will also need maintenance and repair. 

How Can You Distinguish Between a Carriage Home and a Carriage House?

How Can You Distinguish Between a Carriage Home and a Carriage House

While dealing with this topic, you might be confused with the terms “carriage house” and “carriage home.” The words “house” and “home” are often used interchangeably, but a carriage house and a carriage home are entirely different structures. 

A carriage home is a single-family residence that sits on a lot that is not significantly larger than the structure itself, but a carriage house’s size is sufficient to house a horse-drawn carriage. In contrast to typical single-family homes, these residences have minimal or no setback requirements, which prevent houses from being erected too close to one another. 

“Generally, there is a small private patio that serves as the only outdoor living space,” Greg Smith of Palisades Home Improvements in Nanuet, NY, says.

the carriage house interior

The following points will help you better understand the difference between a carriage house and a carriage home:

1. Purpose 

A carriage house is a historic building that is designed for horse-drawn carriages, while carriage homes are homes designed for single, small families.

2. Attachment

The carriage house is designed to be freestanding, but carriage homes generally share a wall and landscaping with the neighboring carriage home.

3. Lot

A larger lot is used to build the carriage home as an outbuilding, generally surrounded by open space and behind a manor house. On the other hand, a smaller lot is used for carriage homes. Even the restrictions are quite relaxed in the case of carriage homes to be built as “zero lot line” buildings.  

4. Size

The carriage home is provided with a plethora of open space as it was meant to accommodate at least a horse-drawn carriage. Conversely, carriage homes are built on fewer square feet of land. 

We Can Help You Learn to Incorporate the Carriage House Design into Your House!

Learn to Incorporate the Carriage House Design into Your House

The first step to start building your dream carriage home is to hire a garage builder who will help you convert your existing detached garage into a carriage house. Plan a two-story building with high ceilings and an open floor plan if you want your carriage home to pay homage to the design’s past.

Adding a lofted staircase will be the cherry on top. Make sure the new building blends in with or enhances the exterior of your house with similar roofs, trims, and colors. Another design element distinctive of historical carriage homes is a statement door that is tall and wide and is positioned in the center of the front wall.

Since the original carriage house design is versatile but has become less popular as some homeowners simply opt to build their own. Plans for new developments are designed to resemble older-style houses. Even a prefabricated carriage home kit with a garage is available for purchase.

It’s Time to Build Your Carriage House! 

Build Your Carriage House

As Belcher said, “A carriage house, in and of itself, carries history. No matter what you decide to do with it, you always carry a little bit of what came before.” 

After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of the possibilities that a carriage house provides. But make sure to hire a professional to help you build this house.  If you have your mind made up on a carriage home, hire a top professional to help you identify the ideal house and guide you through the purchasing process. Of course, horses are not required.

carriage house apartments
carriage house apartments
what is a carriage house
what is a carriage house
what is a carriage house
what is a carriage house
what is a carriage house
what is a carriage house
what is a carriage house
carriage house apartments


1. What is a Carriage House?

This house is also known as a cart shed or coach house. It is like a farmhouse near a bigger home that was initially built to store the horse-drawn carriages and the coachman on the upper floor. 

2. What Does a Modern Carriage House Look Like?

A modern carriage house is often referred to as a detached garage structure. Its upper floor features a lofted living area. Large doors are provided in the houses for an open and spacious ambiance.   

3. How Much Does a Carriage House Cost?

The cost of this house varies mainly based on the land on which it has been built and its size. On average, its overall cost is between $180,000 and $220,000. Construction costs approximately $150-$250 per square foot, plus an additional $25 per square foot for finishes. 

4. Can I Own a Carriage House?

Yes, you can own this house. They are a type of Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADUs), that cannot be sold separately from the main residence as independent real estate, which also applies to most conventional carriage houses.

5. What Are the Characters of a Carriage House?

The following are the characters of the carriage house –
Huge Open Space – As the horse-drawn carriage was the initial theme for carriage houses, they have a large open living space on the first floor to adjust the carriage. 
 Living Quarters are Small – These houses include a small living area for the carriage man or driver on the second floor or above the main floor as a loft.
Freestanding – Traditional carriage houses were constructed as outbuildings on a property, entirely apart from the main residence and without any shared walls with other structures.

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