America’s carriage houses are among the most charming remnants of our architectural history, some dating back to colonial times.
Created to shelter horse-drawn carriages and tack, they often doubled as living quarters for grooms and coachmen. They could be simple and utilitarian, or as architecturally elaborate as the homes they supported. The historical sections of many cities boast a variety of examples.
Some city districts feature “mews,” rows of carriage houses with living spaces above. New York’s Brooklyn Heights, the City’s first suburb and the nation’s first designated historic district, has some of the most varied and beautiful.
Carriage houses dot New York’s Love Lane, also in Brooklyn. A place for romantic promenades in pre-colonial days, legend has it that the street takes its name from its popularity as a place for young men to linger with their dates before returning them, at the end of an evening, to the Brooklyn Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies.
Today, many of these structures have been repurposed as offices, workshops, guest houses, or as separate homes. Restaurants, tea rooms, galleries and other commercial concerns have also taken advantage of these ready-made mansions in miniature.
Artist Jim Dine bought this carriage house when it was a garage and plumbing supply shop in the 1990’s and restored it in 2009…
In a more bucolic setting, this one served as a studio for Thomas Hart Benton
The oversize entryways and open central spaces have made carriage houses a favorite for artist’s studios.
Although many of us may not have access to an actual carriage house, we can recreate much of their warmth and charm in our modern carriage houses—garages—through the addition of carriage doors.
Typically a set of two outward-swinging matched doors; carriage doors can also operate as sliding or even bi-fold units. Since carriage doors don’t roll upward like a standard garage door, it’s much more straightforward to incorporate elegant details such as frame and panel construction, multi-lite glass and obscure or stained glass windows.
An old-fashioned barn door
Carriage doors can be as large as they need to–here, a sliding door installation with hand forged custom hardware
The final touches to a carriage door installation complete the effect
Hardware, primarily utilitarian and unseen on conventional garage doors, can be the centerpiece of a carriage door installation. Hand-forged strap hinges and other decorative accents can turn a neighborhood garage into a personal architectural statement, and a testament to times gone by.
Since 1980, Wooden Window has been constructing and restoring fine and custom-made wooden doors and windows for residences and commercial buildings throughout California. Whether a homeowner or building pro, you’ll appreciate our decades of experience and unique mix of craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology.