What is a Carriage House and What Makes It Special in NYC?

By: ROS Team

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New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the United States and the World. If you are thinking of moving to New York City, keep in mind the cost of living here is somewhat higher than in most other cities.

Despite the expense that comes with living in New York City, there are more budget-friendly living options available. Sprinkled among the city’s elegant and modern skyrise apartment buildings is another type of home that many affluent New Yorkers have gravitated toward, and that is the carriage house.

Let’s explore more about these homes and their growing popularity in NYC.

Carriage House Meaning, and What is it Used For?

In 16th century America, wealthy persons built carriage houses to store their horse-drawn carriages and other related equipment. The houses were separate from the primary property.

From the mid-to-late 1800s, New York City’s infrastructure, including its roads, was developing at a lightning pace, which drove the demand for carriages. As a result, carriage houses began popping up next to houses throughout the city.

Carriage House meaning
Image Source: media.architecturaldigest.com

Historic Carriage House Plans

So, why would anyone want a carriage house today since horse-drawn carriages are long gone? One of the primary draws of having a carriage house is its available space. Carriage houses have extended doorways with huge doors and very high ceilings. After all, they were built to accommodate horse-drawn carriages. Additionally, some carriage houses included extra space that was used as a room for carriage drivers.

These features are still considered architecturally pleasing, especially in NYC where space is a hot commodity. Carriage houses in NYC are now used as home offices, private storage spaces, and automobile garages. Given the extra storage space, carriage houses in NYC have gained more popularity as real estate prices in the city continue to soar to unprecedented levels.

 

Carriage Houses in New York City

Where Can You Find Carriage Houses in New York City?

Carriage houses can be found in the West Village and the Upper East Side in Manhattan, Clinton Hill in Brooklyn, and Cobble Hill. You can also contact brokers at NY Rent Own Sell to find one.

If you are looking for some historic carriage house masterpieces, start in Brooklyn and Manhattan. There are some spectacular carriage houses located at 31 Pineapple Street and 22 Jane Street. The carriage houses located on Jane Street are ideal if you are looking for something with a chic exterior and a modern vibe. You’ll find a six-story carriage house on Pineapple Street in Brooklyn Heights.

If you are interested in investing your money in carriage houses, there are others located in New York City; you’ll just have to do some research to find them. There are a few good carriage houses located at 139 Bond Street in Brooklyn and 178 East 75th Street in Boerum Hill.

What is a Carriage House Apartment?

NYC carriage houses have evolved to be more than just a storage space. Today, carriage houses have been converted into apartments, guest quarters, restaurants, bars, and retail shops. Some carriage houses have been converted into art galleries, offices spaces, museums, and tea rooms.

Carriage House Apartment

You can Find Two Different Types of Carriage Houses Nowadays:

  • Carriage houses that have been renovated and transformed into barn-style garages with apartments above; and
  • Carriage houses that mimic the original building design.

 

There is a higher demand for carriage houses among retirees who want to live in a free-standing home but cannot afford to buy another new home.

Additionally, carriage houses can be multi-storied structures located behind the primary property. They are traditionally two stories and mirror the architectural style of the residence. Both the carriage house and the primary residence architecturally complement each other. For example, if the primary house is built in a Victorian style, the carriage house will also have Victorian-style features, such as dormer windows, a steep roof, and scrolled detail near the eaves.

Features of a New York Carriage House

  • Interior Characteristics

The interior of most New York carriage houses consists of high, loft-like ceilings. Some ceilings are as high as 20 feet. In addition, some carriage houses also include small living spaces on the upper floors.

Since carriage houses are built deep, they usually do not let in much natural light, but the inside space makes up for it.

  • Size

Carriage houses that were built in cities had a very optimal design and were not as big as the rural carriage houses. They usually only had space for one carriage and essential equipment. There was no living space for carriage drivers on the upper floor.

In contrast to urban carriage houses, rural carriage houses were larger, and they were often more elaborate. They had room for more than one carriage along with all the related equipment. Wealthier owners usually also had stables for the horses in or near the carriage house, and they also had large second story living areas for house staff and carriage drivers.

What Makes NYC Carriage Houses Special?

Carriage houses in New York City are elegant and attract tourists due to their historic architectural building style. They combine both things that consist of the elegance and the quaintness of the old city. They are also in great demand in NYC real estate markets because of their elegance and versatility.

The lower portion of the house is often used as the main-level living room, family room, great room, or as a garage. Most homeowners have also converted their carriage houses into workplaces due to the ample space they provide.

NYC Carriage Houses Special
Image Source: roussellsgarden.com

What is the Difference Between a Carriage House and a Townhouse?

Carriage houses and townhouses historically served different purposes. Carriage houses were built with big archways to let horses and carriages in and out. They also had a small side entrance for inhabitants to enter and exit.

The second floor did not have high ceilings but still provided adequate living space. In addition, carriage houses don’t have basements. On the other hand, townhouses are a style of multi-floor homes. It also shares one or more walls with adjacent properties. Modern townhouses have a more uniform look. Pricewise, there is not much difference in the prices of a New York City carriage house or a townhouse.

Is a Carriage House For You?

While you might be enticed by the idea of buying a carriage house in NYC, buying an older home can come with unique challenges. Before buying carriage houses in NYC, you should hire a professional home inspector to thoroughly inspect the roof, sewer lines, foundations, plumbing, and any other major system. You should also understand that older homes can demand many expensive repairs. Similarly, modernizing a carriage house could require a lot of money and a lot of work.

Having said all that, many homebuyers are undeterred by older homes and carriage houses because they love their uniqueness and charm. So, if you are interested in buying a carriage house in NYC, you should consult with a real estate agent and factor in the renovation/repair costs.

Final Words

Carriage houses are valuable additions to your real estate portfolio, both in the city and in the suburbs. You can rent them out to generate passive income as well.