Carriage House


Architectural, Residential


St. Paul, MN

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Completed 2008

Team: Shelter, Harem Construction

Accolades: 2012 Garden Award, 2008 Residential Design and Build Excellence Award for Detached Structure

Challenge: Design an authentic Victorian carriage house in a zoning district that doesn’t allow them. And by the way, it should accommodate two cars, several bikes, indoor/outdoor banquets, poker games, exercise equipment, tap dancing, a steamer trunk inspired color-changing bar, a bathroom, reading nook, seasonal storage, and a deck.

Response: Excavate and regrade the site to allow for a two story structure, within zoning laws, and create multi-use spaces on each floor.

Design: To maintain authenticity, the form and detail closely follow the existing home. Archival sleuthing uncovered photos of the former carriage house that was destroyed by arson in the 1980s which influenced the exterior detail and introduced the idea of the hay loft, which serves as the reading nook. The structure itself is entirely hand framed, sheathed and finished using turn-of-the-century building methods. Finish flooring, stair treads, and countertops use recycled wood from buildings of the same era. The spiral stair, storage, bathroom, and banquet tables are built in to the peripheries, keeping the main and second floors as open and flexible as possible.

Result: The first floor functions as garage, bike storage and indoor/ outdoor entertainment space with serving tables that fold into the walls. The second floor is truly a multi-use space, which functions as a media/ guest room, dance studio/exercise room and bar/poker parlor, with bathroom and seasonal storage tucked into knee wall spaces.