Urban & Rural Reuse: 2 Classy Carriage House Conversions


What do a downtown carriage house and a countryside equivalent have in common? Both residential additions required a massive renovation – and each was addressed by the New York City-based OMAS, which managed to make both converted spaces feel fully a part of the home (something for which neither was initially designed).

In the urban heart of Manhattan, this early-1900s carriage house is not new to radical remodeling. Pealing back the rebuilt layers, the owners and architects uncovered brick, tile and slate walls originally used to divide horses from carriages.

Blackened steel, recycled sherry-cask wood and other vintage (and retro) industrial-style materials were introduced to bridge the gap between historic and modern materials.

Textured plaster and fresh-poured concrete were placed alongside sanded and refinished hardwood floors, blurring the lines between before and after.

Meanwhile, upstate in Narrowsburg, New York, another project is under construction – a farm-friendly carriage house being converted to a contemporary writing studio and guest house space attached to an already-renovated barn building.

Original mortise-and-tenon timber framing is exposed and celebrated in the remodel, while the exterior features a combination of reclaimed wood and stone mixed with modern steel, tin and polycarbonate to protect aging materials.

What is neat about both projects is the emphasis on adaptive tactics and adjustable strategies – a key part of any successful conversion is the response not only to site and context, but what is uncovered (and discovered) during the schematic design phase. After all, until one starts to see first hand what already exists, it is hard to model what can and should be designed to replace it. See more works by OMAS here, and special thanks to Carl and Brian for supplying details and images for this article.

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