Remodeler/designer: Platt Builders, Groton, Mass.
Project goals: Build a separate carriage house to protect vehicles from harsh New England winters.
Challenges: The ideal spot for the carriage house was along the edge of the existing driveway, which slopes up while the side yard slopes down. The remodeler had to build into the side of a hill. Given the wetlands setbacks, the location of the well, and the existing sports court, the structure had to be compact, which meant a single garage door and front-to-back parking for two vehicles. It also had to meet building codes regarding the storage of vehicles on a non-combustible surface, and the new structure had to fit in with the main house.
Solutions: To add a third parking spot, a bay was created underneath the main floor with access from the side. The front foundation wall was dug 4 feet deep to minimize the over-dig. The foundation was stepped down to accommodate the side walls and stepped down again so that it is 4 feet below the lower-bay garage door. A slot was poured for a set of stairs from the upper to the lower level. The wood-floor framing upstairs was dropped and a fiberglass-reinforced thin slab poured to serve as a ceiling for the lower bay.
Board-and-batten siding painted the same color as the house provides both connection and separation. Strong vertical shadow lines give the building some rustic stature and complement the stone veneer on the front wall. The gable roof is adorned with two dormers that match the main house and a cupola that adheres to the ridgeline ratio. Concrete pavers create an undulating apron that meets the sloped driveway and the level garage slab.
What the judges said: “Adding a structure of this size without it becoming an overbearing element on the site is no easy feat. This project is incredibly tasteful and well executed. The complexity is expertly hidden.”