Got hay?

Here we are, third carriage house on the right.  Sounds romantic, “We just bought a carriage house in Brooklyn.”  Conjures up images of a bygone era of parasols, and spats,  buggies and broughams.  Up a few blocks in Cobble Hill or Brooklyn Heights where the carriage houses are built of brick and quarried stone that may have been the case, but down by the Gowanus, carriage houses were built of more humble stuff – like green lumber – as if they knew the era of horse drawn transport wouldn’t live to see much more than the first few years of the next century.  Still, it’s managed to last into the first part of the century after that so it can’t be all bad.

We learned the home was once a carriage house from a friend who lives on the block who in turn was told by a ninety year-old resident nearby.  We  asked the seller about it who said excitedly, “Oh yes, it was!  And when we moved in (in 1972) the stable was still in the back but we took it down.”  And, if it were still there we could have ‘grandfathered’ in a small building out back for a studio or home office.  Ah well…

So gauging from the very basic construction of the building, it’s unlikely it ever housed a Park Phaeton.  More likely it was a market wagon of some kind or a hauling or trade vehicle and the horses out back were not likely very sleek.  Still, it’s a romantic idea and one that sparked our imaginations when we learned it.  And whatever it may not have in the way of structure above ground, it makes up for it in the sturdiness of the foundation – the foundation for our new home.


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