What is a carriage house?
Carriage houses were originally built to be used to store horse-drawn carriages on the first floor and their care taker on the 2nd floor. The modern carriage house has taken on slightly modern character. Today carriage houses are usually two story structures with car storage on the first floor (garage area) and a full apartment on the 2nd floor (living area). Carriage houses are also called accessory dwelling units (ADU). The modern carriage house will have car storage, running water, plumbing, climate controlled spaces, kitchen space, bedrooms, a bathroom and a full laundry area.
This carriage house recently completed construction in 2019 in the Windsor Park neighborhood of Indianapolis. Windsor Park is one of downtown Indianapolis’s best kept secrets. Located a short bike ride from Downtown Indy and Mass Ave, Windsor Park has a mix of historic architecture and homes being rehabbed with a contemporary approach. For this project, our clients’ wanted to take advantage of their backyard and bring in a new garage and a full apartment above. The design-intent of this project was to replicate both the color palette and design of the main home.
Existing Site and HomE
Before we could move forward with construction of the new carriage home we had to first remove the old concrete foundation and pad.
Design and BUild Process
Winter 2019: Design began in early winter of 2019 and wrapped roughly 45 days later. We went through two different iterations with our client before landing on our final design, project budget, scope of work and material selection. Because it was winter time we waited until the Spring to begin construction. Our design/build process allowed our client to decide to move forward with construction as soon as we had a suitable design.
The final design of this carriage house included: 600 Sf Studio Apartment, a kitchenette (Stove Top Cooking Surface, Refrigerator, Full Sink, Over the Range Microwave, Full Bathroom, Full Laundry Area, Closet storage and 2 garage doors. One unique aspect of this 2 car garage/ apartment is that it is self sustaining. The garage area has a diving wall down the center to give the homeowner one side and the carriage house guest one side. The home owner is able to maintain their privacy while giving their guest complete autonomy. This carriage house can be used for short term guest like family visits or an air bnb stay. This space can also be used for long term rental as well.
Concerns of Property line and building location
We initially always recommend getting a property survey before adding any exterior improvements to a property. However in this case our client was pretty confident in their property boundaries. As we approached laying out the location for the new building one of the adjacent neighbors hinted at a concern of our client’s fence being over the property line by several feet. To prevent any costly mistakes and heartache we immediately recommended that our client get a boundary survey to confirm property boundaries. After having the survey completed our client’s fence was indeed over the property line. Based on the new boundary survey we were able to properly layout the new building within our client’s property lines.
The construction process
The first part of the build required Cliffs Construction to remove the remnants of an old garage that had been partially removed. There was also fencing and large concrete blocks that to be removed before any new construction could begin.
The next step in the process included digging out the footers and foundation of the carriage house. The footers and foundation is what supports the weight of the building. In Indiana it code to have the footer dug at 36” below the top of finish of grade.
After getting the foundation and footer installed the next step in the process involved getting a new water line and plumbing ran from the front of the house where the water main was located to the back of the property where our new carriage house was going in.
Cliffs Construction then started to frame the structure. Framing is often one of the most difficult parts of construction, but since we designed the structure we had intimate knowledge and knew where to pay close attention.
interior build out
After getting the structure built and siding on we were busy on the inside getting electrical wiring, plumbing and our heating/air conditioning system installed.
The final touches
Summer 2019: After several months of hard work we were finally ready to turnover the keys to our very happy client.
Dwight Cliff Jr. is the Managing Director for Cliff’s Construction, where he guides clients through the murky waters of both design and construction to finish with a project that they will love.