The Carriage House Is Blowing My Mind

The 1894 Cross House had a carriage house/barn on the adjacent south lot.

Circa-1920, the structure was sold off, and moved forward on the lot a bit; the north “barn” was severed, rotated, and became the east wing of the renovated structure.


The 1894 carriage house when I purchased the Cross House property in 2014.


And…soon after. The L-shaped porch was part of the circa-1920 conversion and it was in a state of total collapse. It had to be taken down.


With the porch gone, it was obvious that the turret had originally just “floated”. Which is what a turret does, of course.


The underbelly is finished with painted wood. And there is no evidence that there were any brackets under the turret.


In 2017, research proved that ALL the second-floor dormers were part of the circa-1920s conversion. Thus, ONLY the turret is from 1894. Which means…


…that my carriage house originally looked kinda sorta somewhat like this originally: a huge roof pierced by a turret. And under my turret it appears that there may have been a sliding barn door. (Mike found this image. Thanks, Mike!)


My carriage house/barn as built (the barn is to the right). In a previous post, I wrote about how there had been a porch in the NW corner (circled).


The NW corner today.


And this realization got me to thinking: what if I recreated the lost NW porch?

But what did it look like?


A block away sits the home of architect Charles Squires, who also designed the Cross House and its carriage house. What if I used his porch as inspiration?


To recreate my lost NW porch, I could build a stone base at the outside corner (matching the stone bases on the main porch of the Cross House), and top it with two columns (just as with the Cross House). Above the columns, I could recreate the shingled parapet wall as shown here, which would perfectly…


…tie into my existing second-floor shingles. Such a porch would then allow use of the door in the turret. (I have no idea if that door opening is 1894, or circa-1920.)


So, problem solved!

And I even have stone for the base!


This center base is not original. I will be removing it this year.


And this protrusion of stone between the two bases? Not original, and it will also be removed, allowing the two single column bases to stand alone again. I can’t wait!


Of course, the lost porch could have looked VERY different. But, without any photographic evidence, I have nothing to go on.

Or is this assumption incorrect?





This is the only image I have of the “barn” which was the north wing of the carriage house (I have no images of the latter).  I love the huge ventilator! Now, I also want you to…


…see this. That sure looks like a hipped roof over…something. Something like…


…this bay.


Well, this got me to thinking.

What Squires did with that bay, it seems, was to bring the angle of the roofline down over the bay.

And, the Sanborn map drawing showing the lost NW porch?


The “1” means 1-story. But what did the + mean. Well, Alex figured that out! Thanks, Alex! The + symbol means a wood shingled roof. 


OK. This tiny bit of information just blows me away. For, that means that the missing NW porch did not have a deck above, but rather it was a wood shingled roof.

In short, kinda like the bay…


…on the “barn”.


So, I now know two things:

  • There was 1-story porch in NW corner.
  • It had a wood shingled roof.

If you put these two together, this is a potential result:


And this is blowing my mind, man! By tucking the roof under the eaves, an awkward intersection with the dormer is avoided, and an even more awkward intersection with the main roof to the left.






  • I could build such a roofline.
  • The circa-1920 dormer could stay.
  • The turret door would go.
  • I could build a stone base in the outside corner…
  • …and top it with paired columns matching the big house.
  • The circa-1920 entry under the turret would be removed…
  • …and a new entry installed where the small north window is.
  • The small window would be relocated to under the turret.

Thus, the new porch would be the new entry.


And this would be the view every time one stepped out of the carriage house (image taken through dirty small north window). And one would also see the paired columns of the new porch, perfectly complementing the paired columns on the Cross House porte-cochère across the lawn.


This week, I did a post regretting how I have handled the carriage house, and expressed, too, my discomfort in letting the poor thing sit basically abandoned going on six years now.

But now? I am kinda glad I just stopped working on it for I have learned an incredible amount of information these past years, and can do a much better job at completing the main facade.




  1. Jonathan W on May 9, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    I cannot believe that the near perfect lineup wasn’t on purpose…It totally was.

    • Ross on May 9, 2019 at 11:24 pm

      Near perfect lineup?

  2. Rick S on May 9, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    Would the porch roof be about the same pitch as the porte-cochère roof? Might wall shingles and siding give clues.

    • Ross on May 9, 2019 at 11:29 pm

      The “barn” had a separate roof over its west-facing bay. The roof appears to have followed the pitch of the main roof.

      That was my cue for my “red” conjecture: a separate roof, following the pitch of the main roof.

      When I start to restore the facade of the carriage house (down the road), perhaps some physical evidence as to What Was may reveal itself.

  3. Kerri on May 10, 2019 at 12:12 am

    Wow, I never would have been able to figure that all out (I’m still a little confused)

    In the picture from 2014, it looks like there are three sections of the original railing from 1894. Does the amount of this railing match the foot print of a porch that would have been in the NW corner? I hope that makes sense.

    • Ross on May 10, 2019 at 12:17 am

      Hi, Kerri!

      Yes, it appears that in the 2014 image there are three sections of the original railings from 1894.

      But…where did they go? The 1894 porch was at ground level. Why would it have had railings?

      So, where were the railings from? Are they even from 1894?

      All very curious!

      • Kerri on May 10, 2019 at 4:51 pm

        Curious indeed!

        I think you said that the railing in question is an exact match to the railing which was on the back porch of the Cross House. Maybe there was a one-step porch in the NW corner with a door leading into the “barn” and the railing was more decorative than functional. Clearly, I’m no design expert, so that might be a crazy idea and would have looked really dumb!

  4. Clinton Franey on May 10, 2019 at 7:57 am

    I think you should leave the front entrance, but I’d put a sliding barn door on the exterior. While that is very Chip and Joanna Gains, I think it has a practical historical place here. You are making a hybrid of the conversion, so why not bring back a few of the agrarian features. I’d love to see that ventilator back on too!

    • Jakob on May 10, 2019 at 2:40 pm

      A carriage house door, but fixed, with a few sashes that could align with some sashes on the wall could look cool. Had the same thought for my place since my city now allows ADUs. But I think the carriage house is too tall now on its present foundation to make it look right.

  5. Tony Bianchini on May 10, 2019 at 8:09 am

    I cannot be TRULY happy until the carriage house is returned to it’s original location and configuration. I know, I know – $$$. When my ship comes in, this is high on my list.

    • Ross on May 10, 2019 at 9:10 am

      Tony, I’ve been very patient waiting for your ship to come in!

  6. Stewart McLean on May 10, 2019 at 9:20 am

    There must have been a door onto the porch and it is more likely that the framing for the door was filled in than removed. I so love to open walls to see what clues are inside, Don’t you?

  7. Stewart McLean on May 10, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Looking back yet again, is it possible that it was a covered entry for carriages? I can’t really tell from the picture, but it looks possible that the foundation in that area is an infill.

    • Ross on May 10, 2019 at 9:33 am

      The entire foundation is circa-1920.

      The visible parts of the foundation are molded concrete block.

      The parts which were covered by the porch are plain concrete block, which is what you are seeing.

    • Ross on May 10, 2019 at 9:35 am

      Morning, Stewart!

      It makes sense that the 1894 NW porch had a door into the carriage house. That door was, likely, where the large west window for the living room is now.

  8. Barb Sanford on May 10, 2019 at 11:22 am

    I love being able to see your thought processes evolving as you find more information about the Ross House and the carriage house. Such a lot for you to consider, and it’s always thoughtfully done.

    • Ross on May 12, 2019 at 9:11 am

      Thanks, Barb!

  9. Christopher Brandt on May 12, 2019 at 9:03 am

    If the turret did indeed float over a broad bay of a sliding barn door, I am not convinced that the main door would have been in that north wall of the porch leading into the carriage bay. Using your house, other Charles Squires houses you’ve posted about previously, and a couple of large 1890s perido carriage houses that I have seen up here in Rochester, I would argue that the main door would have likely been were the large window on the west wall is currenty. Squires didn’t seem to like hiding the entry doors to his structures. The doors if not right infront of the porch steps were still on the broad wall of the porch. The period carriage houses I have seen up here have a similar set up…large barn door carriage bay with hayloft above to one side with a single story side porch to the other side with a main door leading to the wing and not the carriage bay. The main door placement often coordinate with access to the staircase to the hayloft and the horse stalls, both of which were not in the carriage bay.

    Just some thoughts. And of course the materials of the building will led far mroe clues, once you get into it.

    • Ross on May 12, 2019 at 9:10 am

      Hi, Christopher!

      While there is some evidence that a sliding barn door was originally under the turret, there is zero evidence as to where any other entry doors were to the carriage house or barn. There is also zero evidence as to where the 1894 staircase was in the carriage house.

      My idea to relocate the entry door to the north wall of the NW corner is not based on historical precedent. It’s simply the obvious place for the entry if I create a new porch in the NW corner.

  10. Suella on May 12, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Ross, in the picture showing the barn, I keep studying the shadows cast across it from what I think has to be the rooflines of the carriage house. From the barn’s roofline at the right edge of the picture a shadow is cast at this angle / stopping below the eave of the barn and connected to another one at the same angle that starts to the left of the ventilator, below the eave coming down at that same angle / and cutting across the little window. Doesn’t there have to be some clues in the angle of those shadows and would it mean that the carriage house rooflines had to have those angles coming out the north side? Sorry…my wording probably makes this more confusing than it really is.

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