Carriage homes were originally private stables built on the estates of wealthy families who owned their own horse and carriage. At one point, these homes stored houses and carriages on the ground floor with an apartment on the upper floor for a caretaker. Carriage houses were very popular throughout the Northeast and many examples of modern carriage homes are still found as many have been restored and turned into residential homes.
Today, carriage style homes in Spotsylvania, Louisa and Orange County, VA and converted carriage houses are a popular way to enjoy the charm of traditional Victorian design with modern amenities and features. If you love the look of oversized carriage doors, high ceilings, and open space, a custom carriage style home or traditional detached carriage house from Republic Home Builders may be the perfect choice for you.
Key Features of a Carriage House
A carriage house can be difficult to distinguish from a barn or even a typical guest home except for a few common characteristics. The following are key features of a classic carriage house, but a custom Lake Anna carriage house is likely to have a style of its very own.
- Tall, central doorway with smaller doors on the side. Horse carriages would have entered through very tall, wood doors in the center of the building. Small doors on either side were intended for human traffic. These large entries can become a garage entrance or even a boat entry in a renovated or custom carriage home.
- High ceilings. The ground floor typically has a high ceiling around 20 feet tall but the upper living area has a typical ceiling height. This gives a carriage home the same appeal as a loft with a wide, open space.
- Few windows. An original carriage house has very few windows on the sides or back of the building. When a home is built in the carriage house style, it usually does include large picture windows.
History of Carriage Homes
Carriage houses once served an important need for homeowners in the city and rural areas. These buildings were originally coach houses or private stables and used to provide a covered space for carriages and coaches. Many original carriage houses had space for maintenance equipment and accessories as well, sometimes even with space for horse stables.
Wealthy homeowners typically had elaborate carriage houses that imitated the architecture and style of the main house. These carriage houses had bay windows, stained glass, scrollwork eaves, and other elaborate details. Many carriage houses also featured an upper floor living area for household staff and caretakers for the coaches
and horses. These beautiful carriage houses were located near the street and accessed by a cobblestone path. Some carriage houses were very simple with a single room and an interior accessed through two massive doors that allowed the carriage to enter and exit. When the structure was simple, it was located in an area not easily visible from the street.
Many old carriage houses across the Northeast have been converted for other purposes. A carriage house can become a guest house, garage, or workshop with ease. Many have even been transformed into townhomes as single-family residences and even bars, restaurants, and shops. Most carriages houses seen today are updates on original structures or custom homes built in the style of a carriage house with living space in the carriage house on the second story or an adjacent building.
The Flexibility of Today’s Carriage House
Carriage houses have largely become disassociated with their original purpose as they take on new modern purposes. Custom built carriage style homes are a far cry from the detached stable of the past. Today, this beautiful home style can be a single-family home, boathouse, guest house, or even a combo live/work space. At Republic Home Builders, we can help you design an authentic carriage home that looks like an updated original or something completely modern — inspired by 18th century carriage house design yet built to your unique needs. A custom carriage house may be your primary residence in Louisa or it may be built as a detached building that complements your home. The following are some of the most popular uses for custom garages or residences built in the carriage house style.
- Guest suite. If you entertain often or have frequent overnight guests, a traditional detached carriage house can be designed as a guest house or in-law suite.
- Detached home office. A traditional carriage house can serve as the perfect home office with solitude and quiet away from household activity.
- Workout room. Detached carriage houses in Spotsylvania and Orange County, VA can serve as state-of-the-art private gyms, yoga studios, or hobby rooms.
- Combo work/live space. Another common use for a carriage home is creating a custom work/live space. If you build a traditional carriage house, the open bottom level can serve as a retail space, workshop, or studio. The upper level can be fashioned as a comfortable and spacious loft.
- Custom garage. A detached garage eliminates the effect of a garage-forward or garage-dominated facade that can detract from the appearance of your custom home. A detached garage also gives you more design options, including the ability to design a carriage style garage that complements the style of your home.
- Boathouse. In the Lake Anna area, a boathouse is one of the most popular uses for a carriage house. The carriage house can be built close to the water with traditional large carriage doors that make it easy to store your watercraft safely.
- Vacation home. If you’re planning to build a vacation home in the Louisa area, a carriage style home offers the perfect solution with a charming Victorian design, ground-floor garage and/or boat storage, and upper level living.