The original concept for a carriage house (or coach house) was to have a secure, designated structure on your property to store carts and horses. Similar to how we use garages to store our cars today. In this pre-automobile era, property owners would care for their horse drawn carriages and grooms within carriage houses/coach houses. In these days gone by, the structures were a sign of wealth and status. Coach houses were meticulously designed to match the aesthetic of the main house, almost as if it were a mini home.
The landscape of Illinois suburbs make for picturesque scenes. With beautiful, spacious backyards there’s great opportunity to create or renovate an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). Chances are as an Illinois resident, you’ve probably heard of or seen a coach house in the North Shore. They are often referred to under other names such as:
- Backyard cottage
- Carriage house
- Coach house
- Garden cottage
- Granny flat
- Home within a home
- In-law suite
- Junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU)
- Multigenerational house
- Secondary suite
- Rear house
Over the years, the use of these ADU’s have evolved just like the people who use them. Carriage houses are a beautiful, historic piece of Midwest architecture. Over time these structures have become buildings homeowners use for storage – unsure of what to do with this space.
“While the days of the horse and buggy are far behind us, relics of that bygone age remain to this day in the form of carriage houses. Originally built to house horse-drawn carriages, many of these sturdy, surprisingly ornate structures have been thoughtfully adapted for use as residences.” Bob Villa
Why are ADU’s making a comeback?
“Coach Houses have once again started to soar in popularity due to their space saving design, with more and more new builds being constructed in this style.” My New Desk
Many carriage houses have been converted to guest houses or apartments, or into detached car garages. Some carriage houses are used as home offices or workshops, or simply for general storage purposes. There are so many different uses for these types of smaller houses. Whether you are building a coach house from scratch or remodeling, understating the creative possibilities can help you create a blueprint for the design and layout.
Not only do they offer functionality, these architectural structures are beautiful! Design your coach house to match your main house. There are two styles of carriage homes that stand out: classic and modern. Their reason for trending is due to the abundance of another at-home experience they offer. Discover which style of coach house is right for you with our Pinterest board!
“ADU’s provide homeowners with a unique way to make money on their investment. They are also appealing to non-nuclear, multi-generational families and caregivers.” Homeownership Matters
There are many ways to utilize a coach house…
ADU’s can be attached to your home or separate from the main house. The fact that it’s a structure separate from the whole family gives it unique benefits. Within these coach houses, you can make a remote working space, movie viewing room, craft rooms, private guest rooms, staff housing, or even a study room for children learning remotely. With so many possibilities for this additional space, the benefits are endless! Consider this an extension of your dream home.
Visiting loved ones: In our current social environment, physically being around friends and family requires safe transitioning. If your loved ones are coming to visit or flying in from out of state, they need a couple days to self-quarantine safely. Most people are opting to stay in hotels for a few days before interacting with their loved ones. Avoid sending your loved ones to hotels where they could possibly be exposed to more germs by having a safe, controlled environment on your property. Imagine the peace of mind you will have knowing the people you care about have everything they need and are not far away.
Staff quarters: Traditionally, coach houses were used as staff housing. In this modern era, they have been revamped for the comfort of all. Create a safe place for staff (such as the nanny or housekeepers) to stay overnight or freshen up before entering the house. A coach house gives your staff a specific area to keep their personal belongings. This space offers them the opportunity to feel at ease and comfortable even at work. If you have an elderly loved one who needs overnight or weekends care, they will be happy having their caregivers nearby in case of an emergency.
Self-quarantining and family security: In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one is exposed to a contagious illness, the option to quarantine at home safely is now possible. A coach house gives you the security of still being on your property without the risk of spreading germs within the main house to everyone else. Additionally, this space can be used to stylistically camouflage a luxury safe room, storing hunting rifles, heirlooms, and other special valuables. Safe rooms have gained major popularity in the past few years. Intricate placement of these custom built rooms underneath structures on your property gives your family added security. Explore the benefits of a safe room on our blog!
Generate extra income: Bring in a new stream of income by having a property to rent. Typically when investing in real estate, the property rented out is not near where the owner lives. This can make taking care of your tenants and property challenging. But, if the rental unit is nearby you can maintain and manage it with ease from the comfort of your home.
Junior ADU: This term describes your coach house as a place that young adult children, such as recent college graduates, reside. As stated above, this space is ideal for renting out as it’s a mini version of your main home. This could be a wonderful opportunity for your child to grasp all the responsibility of becoming an adult while living on their own. Allow your young adult children a chance to learn, budgeting and build their independence from the safety of your property. This may also be a great option for private space when a child comes home to visit from college or has friends over.
More benefits of a carriage house…
A coach house is more than a mini home, it can be a place of luxury and comfort! These beautiful structures can be romantic and private. Consider designing them to be a place away from home – while at home.
Privacy for guests: When guests are using this area, give them the gift of privacy. Create an atmosphere that allows them to feel at home. Design the rooms to be full of natural light and homey. Add windows that highlight all the marvelous elements of your property. Get started on creating the perfect guest experience by checking out our Houzz luxury coach house ideabook!
A space to retreat: Your coach house can be themed and designed as a place focused on your relaxation. After months of sheltering in place, we all understand the importance of not wanting to feel confined. By creating this peaceful oasis on your property, you’re giving yourself the perfect tiny getaway location! Maybe add art supplies, comfortable recliners, or a large bathroom with spa day supplies for the perfect place to unwind.
Have fun with creating this space: Another plus about having a coach house is, it can be a design dress rehearsal for your main house. Majority of carriage houses are designed to visually be an extension of the main house. That’s why sometimes when referring to coach houses, some will call it the home within a home, secondary suite or even mini house. With this miniature version of your home, you can test out daring colors and dramatic design trends, but on a smaller scale to make sure you like it before taking it to the next level! Make this the space you test out adventurous new ideas. Want more creative design inspiration? Read about 2021’s design trends here!
If you already own a carriage house, your primary focus will be to renovate it and add on to the structure! To properly utilize some of the amazing benefits we previously described, you may want to remodel adding a kitchen, bathroom, or simply expanding by knocking some walls down. Thus you will require the skillful direction of custom home builder Tom Len and his expert interior designers.
If your property doesn’t currently have an ADU and you’re interested in this concept, the Tom Len Custom Homes is ready to help you customize the perfect coach house for your family! With our team’s design expertise and reputable eye for luxury style, you’re sure to find a location on your property that ties both structures together seamlessly.
Tom Len Custom Homes proudly serves the following areas in Chicago’s North Shore: Northfield, Glenview, Glencoe, Deerfield, Wilmette, Winnetka, Highland Park, and Riverwoods.