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What is a Carriage House in NYC?

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November 9, 2021
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New York City has always been known as a center for luxury and extravagance. Not only does it hold the distinction of being the most expensive city in the USA, moving to New York requires some pretty hefty savings.

Residences in New York are considered to be status symbols, so don’t be surprised to find that some of the top real estate firms in the country have headquarters in NYC. While brownstone homes are still considered to be the quintessential New York apartment, there is another type of home that you’ll find associated with wealthy New Yorkers: the carriage house.

What Is a Carriage House?

Back in the days when automobiles were not widely used yet, carriage houses, also commonly called coach houses, are infrastructures built by the wealthy separate from their main homes with the sole purpose of storing their horse-drawn carriages and other related equipment. Having a carriage house was considered to be the definition of being wealthy. Consider a carriage house to be the equivalent of today's "detached garage." Instead of keeping a car, it held the most advanced model of transportation available at the time.

Why would a building meant to house a four-legged animal would interest you in the 21st century where Maserati and other luxury cars are on your reach, you might ask? After all, horse-drawn carriages have been relegated as cutesy tourist attractions that you could find in places like Central Park, like that episode on How I Met Your Mother where Robin covers the oldest carriage driver in the city.

Simply put, it’s all about the available space! Carriage houses were often built with a big, central doorway to allow horse-drawn carriages to enter and exit the structure, as well as huge doors and high ceilings. Staff rooms were included in the construction of several carriage houses, particularly those for large estates. A lot of people still find this style of architecture as architecturally pleasing and have decided that it would be great to be converted into guest houses, flats, or separate automobile garages, thanks to their large carriage house garage doors. Some carriage homes are utilized as home offices or workshops, while others are merely used for storage. These buildings became very sought-after residential homes when real estate prices in NYC rose to unprecedented levels.

The History Behind Carriage Houses

Back in the 16th century and during the rise of the horse-drawn carriage in Great Britain, only the wealthiest could afford this type of transportation. The elite would build carriage houses to store the necessary equipment for their carriages. Carriage homes in the United States are typically from the mid-to-late 1800s. The roads got more established at this time, and carriages became more popular—they're more widespread in the upper northeast, New York City, and across New England. Today, even though horses-driven carriages are no longer a common sight on the streets of New York City, carriage houses are still prized by homeowners and real estate developers.

What Makes NYC Carriage Houses Special?

Carriage houses are among the architectural glories that spark pride in New Yorkers. Not only are they stunning, but they are also historical pieces most real estate investors would want in their portfolio. Carriage homes are now some of the most desirable and most sought-after real estate in New York, owing to its combining of the quaintness and elegance of the old city with the economic value that they present.

Since Carriage house designs were originally meant to accommodate a horse-drawn carriage, they often have an open living room on the first floor that is large enough to accommodate a carriage and has high ceilings. In modern floor designs, this open space is frequently reused as a main-level living room, a great room, a family room, or a one- or two-car garage (typically converted with electronic garage doors).

Most owners have also converted theirs into an effective workplace due to its large open space. The carriage house in Victorian architecture is likely to have a high roof, dormer windows, thin shingles, or crown molding. The carriage house in a Craftsman-style home will most likely have a low-pitched roof and columns. When you consider the history, architectural attractiveness, and the value of these homes, it’s not surprising to learn that carriage houses are some of the most prized commodities in the NYC real estate market.

Carriage Houses Vs. Townhouses

The structure of carriage homes differs from that of a normal brownstone or townhouse due to their original role. Normally, carriage houses consist of big archways in the middle where horses would come in and out, with smaller entrances at the sides. Depending on the extent of the modern renovations and restorations done, the massive archways are either employed as garage entrances today or have been converted into smaller living spaces.

The ground level of a carriage house normally has high ceilings (about 20 feet), while the higher floors, where the groomsmen or other servants may have lived, had lower ceilings. As a result, these structures have a comparable appeal to lofts. Carriage houses seldom have basements, are frequently devoid of windows on the side or rear of the structure, and were designed to span the full width of the lots they sit on. When it comes to prices, there is not much of a difference from New York City’s standalone houses.

Looking for a Carriage House in NYC?

There are many famous and spectacular carriage houses in New York City, particularly in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Some of which are on 22 Jane Street and 31 Pineapple Street. If you are looking for a chic exterior with a modern vibe yet a storied past, then carriage houses in 22 Jane Street are for you! Or if you are interested in six-stories carriage houses, you can visit Pineapple Street in Brooklyn Heights, the neighborhood where converted carriage houses are most prevalent. There are many other neighborhoods to investigate in New York City when you want to invest in a Carriage House. Some other examples are on 178 East 75th Street or 139 Bond Street, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

If you think that a carriage house is your dream home, connect with our virtual assistant Alex to look at available listings today.

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