The carriage house floor plan became popular around the turn of the century when families began moving from rural areas to urban and suburban areas. A general misconception is that most families lived in what could be called a carriage house, but the truth is that only wealthy families, the upper 5 to 10 percent, could afford to own a home with a carriage house.
The carriage house floor plan was typically 500 to 700 square feet and approximately one and a half stories high. Most were designed to match the exterior decor of the main house and built to house the groomsman, the horses, buggy, hay and the livery. If you had been a groomsman one hundred years ago, this would be both the place you lived as well as the place where you conducted your business. Even though the horse and buggy no longer exist as they once did, a carriage house in good condition is very valuable.
A piece of real estate with a carriage house attached to it can bring a 10 to 15 percent increase in resale value. The idea of taking a carriage house floor plan and turning it into a habitable studio or apartment first became popular during the Depression as a way to create a rental income or house elderly relatives. Carriage houses today are generally used for either a home office or mother-in-law flat or apartment.
Carriage houses are defined as a subordinate structure that have one or more habitable story and must have existed before November 1956. They may be used only as residences. Renovation of an original carriage house floor plan is not cheap, but in most cases it’s less expensive than building from scratch. The main reason that renovation is expensive is due to the fact that zoning regulations tend to be fairly strict and frequently inflexible.
Bringing an original carriage house into code compliance can be costly. Some things to consider are plumbing, wiring, stairs, and foundations because the original carriage house was intended as an out building and did not get the same consideration as the main house. Currently the most popular solution is to build one from scratch with the average cost running approximately $35,000. Uses can extend beyond an apartment or mother-in-law apartment to such things as a home office, art studio or even a retail shop. The modern carriage house floor plan can offer an excellent solution for the need to add extra square footage to your property.