Question Details

Wayne, Home Buyer in Florida

what's different between a single family and a carriage house?

Asked by Wayne, Florida Sun Dec 23, 2007

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The name carriage house today may refer to a single family home, a commercial building, or an outbuilding on a property with a main house.

Original carriage houses were outbuildings that were built to house horse carriages. Sometimes the horses lived in the same structure. Sometimes the caretakers for the horses and carriages lived in an apartment on the second floor. Some carriage houses were modest, others were elaborate. That might depend upon if the owner had one modest carriage, or 3 elaborate carriages that needed storage.

When I first moved to the east coast, I rented an apartment on a sprawling estate in Greenwich, CT. It was one of the actual original barns from this very large estate, with the original wood plank floors still intact on the second floor. Some called this place a carriage house. I called it a barn. I lived there when I first moved to the east coast from California. The concept of carriage houses, as well as mature trees and homes on acreage were all quite fascinating to me. Now that I have been in real estate for 10 plus years (NJ and FL) , carriage houses remain fascinating, but are no longer foreign to me.

Many land parcels in the northeast were subdivided, causing the former carriage houses to now become the only structure on a newly created parcel. Many of these carriage homes were converted to single family homes, and some retain much of their old world charm. In MLS listings and property descriptions, one can occasionally read the house style defined as a carriage house. Many carriage houses are, indeed, single family homes today. A few former carriage houses became zoned for commercial use after subdivision, and may now be the location of a coffee shop or retail store.

Still, other carriage houses continue to co-exist alongside main houses, never to have yet been subdivided and set free to exist on their own. The uses vary. I am familiar with carriage houses being used as extra garages, guest houses, and business offices located on the same property with a main house.

2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 24, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
Since nobody has answered yet, I'll give you the answer for the Midwest (and I think it would apply for Florida), a single family home is a stand alone house that is designed as a home for one family. A Carriage House (or coach house) is the usually a home built over the "garage" (or where the carriage or coach was kept), and is often a 1 level apartment above the garage, many times finished very nicely. So you'll find the carriage house separate from, but on the same property as the main house.

Sometimes you will find that the garage has been taken over by the carriage house, and they are now occupying both floors of the building, and it is no longer used as a garage. I hope that's helpful
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 24, 2007
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in 60201
Carriage Home/Coach Home - These terms are interchangeable and a hint as to their configuration lies in the moniker. This housing type traditionally had three stories; two living levels above a ground floor space used to store carriages and coaches. Today, the ground floor space contains a single-level apartment unit while the top two levels typically comprise a townhome. Some carriage/coach home buildings have just two stories, accommodating only single-level designs. While the typical carriage/coach home building will consist of four to six units - two or three single level ground floor units and two or three townhomes -- in some cases there are more single-level ground floor apartments than townhomes, giving the building a unique architectural flair. Another unique aspect of this design is the ground level entry to the top level living quarters. In this regard, many carriage/coach homes include private elevators.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 5, 2014
In addition to the previous definitions, the description "carriage house" can also be found in new construction. Carriage houses are found in groups, just like townhouse communities. Carriage houses are one level-living and share a wall or walls. Groupings of two or four units are common. These homes are very popular in Western PA. You may be more familiar with the term "patio home".
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2007
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