Carriage houses were quite common in the United States around the turn of the century. These houses are easily identified, as they are free standing units that have storage for vehicles below or at ground level and living quarters above. Whether this is a housing type that you would appreciate for yourself it is difficult to deny that these carriage houses have a distinctive beauty when kept in good condition.
The Historical Significance of Carriage Houses
One of the things I remember most about living in New Orleans were that beautiful carriage houses with wrought iron balconies and bright colors that lined many of the streets. Of course, this was pre-Katrina New Orleans and I honestly have no idea how many of them survived.
My sincere hope is that many of them will be preserved, restored, or renovated according to need in order to save these important historical indicators of this citys rich and vibrant history. While most of the Lakefront community where these homes were most predominant was destroyed and/or seriously damaged by the floodwaters of Katrina, the hope is that more will be built in their place.
These carriage houses represent to me a city that was designed to deal with the constant threat of rising water. These homes were most often built well before the levy system became so heavily relied upon in order to protect the people of New Orleans from the threat of flood.
By having most of the possessions in the home that were of value to the family money and possessions could be saved should the waters rise. In recent years, the levy system prevented the quickly rising water from encroaching on property and people began building ground level homes more and more often.
Why Build this Style of Housing?
Of course, carriage houses were not limited to New Orleans, but they do always seem to remind me of the south. If you have taken it upon yourself to restore one or more carriage houses or even build a new one as an investment property, I applaud your good taste and wish you the best in this particular endeavor.
Carriage houses are a good idea anywhere that is prone to flooding. Many people in coastal communities that have been plagued by hurricanes over the course of the last three hurricane seasons are opting to build carriage houses instead of ground level housing.
In fact, in certain regions of the Mississippi Gulf Coast (and quite possibly other coastal communities), homes are required to be rebuilt so many feet above the ground in hopes of preventing such massive and widespread loss of life and property in the case of future storms with the scope of these monster hurricanes we have seen the last few hurricane seasons. In order to comply and to save space on their property, many homeowners have decided to build carriage houses for the replacement homes.
While carriage houses are often useful and purposeful, they are also quite practical. They are often recommended for those downsizing from larger homes, married couples just starting out, or young professionals who are single and do not require a massive amount of space.
Despite this, these can be quite accommodating for the entire family if you wish to bring kids into the mix and live a rather Bohemian and exotic lifestyle. Regardless of your personal style or your family needs, there is probably a design for a carriage house that might be appealing to you and your needs.