With our participation in a number of Home Shows across BC, we have discovered the popularity of the small but mighty Carriage House. Historically, a “Carriage house” (also referred to as Coach house) was an outbuilding, literally for the storage of carriages. It was common for manors to include living space above for the on-call carriage staff. As lifestyles evolved, so too did the use of this versatile space. In modern versions of this structure, the space above is suitable as a hobby or business studio, guest suite, or a fully-equipped residence.
Many city planners are embracing the idea of densification – zoning for a secondary dwelling unit on existing properties to prevent urban sprawl. Zoning to allow these units also helps to prevent the building of illegal suites and ensures that these units are built to code. Vancouver has embraced the concept of “Eco-Density”. Laneway housing was approved in Vancouver in 2009 and a monitoring report was recently posted to their Eco-Density Initiative website. Many other communities are looking at densification strategies. Sooke and Nanaimo are two other communities which allow for the building of secondary dwelling units.
By definition, a Laneway house may be a single or multi-storey unit and does not necessarily include enclosed parking. Some incorporate a sleeping loft to increase useable space while maintaining a small foundation footprint.
If space and privacy allows, these units can be a wonderful mortgage-helper or a handy way to give older (or younger) family members some privacy in an in-law suite while still being able to keep an eye on one another without a full renovation of the main home. You may also find that building a carriage house is an ideal interim dwelling while you build your vacation or country home!
Have a chat with your city planning office to find out if Carriage Houses or Laneway houses are allowed or planned for in your area and what the allowed dimensions are. The Drummond House Plans modification team can easily customize any of the Carriage or Cottage House Plans to suit your specific needs or work with you to create a custom plan to compliment your existing home.