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A Historical Carriage House Is Transformed into a Rustic Bar and Loft

Architect Patrick Ahearn reimagines a centuries-old carriage house overlooking Mystic Lake in Winchester.


Photo by Greg Premru

After living in the city for 18 years, a Boston couple found themselves lured to the suburbs by a Winchester property with views of Mystic Lake. “[The land] felt like it could’ve been in the countryside of Vermont. You’d have no idea you’re a couple of commuter rail stops away from downtown Boston,” architect Patrick Ahearn says. The property’s 19th-century carriage house, however—a decrepit structure with three parking bays, crumbling walls, and an unfinished interior—was far less impressive.

Hired to redesign the historical space, Ahearn worked with Chelsea Company builders to reconfigure the carriage house as a two-car garage, complete with a bar area and a loft. Built in place of the original third bay, the cocktail-ready space features reclaimed-pine cabinetry and floors. The custom island with a live-edge redwood countertop serves as a gathering place, while a salvaged-soapstone sink and a hidden dishwasher ease the cleanup. Iron fixtures, such as the owners’ tractor-seat barstools, add an industrial touch. To maximize the lake views, Ahearn installed a sliding door that opens onto the new bluestone patio with a built-in Wolf grill for barbecuing.

The airy upstairs loft also provides water vistas, thanks to Pella French doors. White shiplap walls brighten the room, while the exposed beams and knotty-wood panels continue the “Vermont-came-to-Winchester” look, as Ahearn calls it. “[This project is] not pure history preservation: It’s more implied history,” the architect says. “The building takes on the character of what it was, but it lives the way people want to live today.”

Photo by Greg Premru

Photo by Greg Premru