Barns & Carriage Houses KPT Barns and Carriage Houses KPTThe barns and carriage houses are a noticeable and beautiful feature of New England. We’ve done several road trips through Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusettes on our way to Maine. Through all those states, one of my favorite features is the gorgeous barns and carriage houses. But there is a very noteworthy aspect of many of these historical outbuildings, including the ones in the Kennebunkport (KPT) area…

This noteworthy feature is on the famed White Barn Inn, in Kennebunk, ME… White Barn Inn attached barn

Have you noticed what it is I’m referring to yet?

If you’re from New England, you probably haven’t noticed it so much, because you’re probably so used to it…

But if you’re from, say the Midwest, like me, you may know what I’m referring to… white barn

Because in the Midwest, (at least not in Wisconsin or Minnesota) I’ve never noticed a single example of this… what? This, where the barn is attached to house. It’s totally attached, with some sort of an ell, and I think in most cases the connecting ells are historical, not a recent addition.

I’d love to know the history of this. white barn with tan doors

Was it because the barns were close to the house due to a lack of wide spread land, like in Wisconsin, and just got connected to the house in a generation or two of the barn being built? white house and barn

Or is it more closely related to the European settlers that were more familar with the outbuildings not being as far ‘out’ but more ‘extended’ from the house, as they were in Europe, thus built this way on purpose? new glassed addition

Perhaps, it’s because in Wisconsin, we built our barns way out in the pasture to make room for all the cattle to graze. Where as the barns in New England weren’t ‘dairy barns’, but housed just the personal family’s cow and horses. board and batten sided barn

I would chance it to think it’s probably a mixture of all these ideas of the history of our country as the settlers moved west. 2nd Empire style carriage house

Even this 2nd Empire style house features a carriage house in the same style. (now this carriage house may be a newer addition, I’m not sure, but either way, it totally fits in with the other houses on this street in Kennebunk that are historically attached barns and carriage houses. carriage house

This carriage house isn’t attached, but it is so wonderfully maintained that I wanted to include it in this post featuring barns and carriage houses. yellow house with tan trim

This house and carriage house are both historical and beautifully maintained. Love the subtle pale yellow and tan color scheme.

and look at this one: red barn with arched design ellIt’s a very old house and barn with cute arched design detail on the connecting ell.


My all time favorite?

Here… yellow house and barn

This house and barn are in Arundel, (part of KPT) and does have a pasture with horses. It’s a beautiful view with the white fence outlining the rolling green pastures, the huge tall trees lining the edge of the property from the road. And then this gorgeous early American house with a huge wrap around porch and attached barn, both sporting the warm buttercream golden yellow painted siding with white trim.

There are so, so, so many more examples of fantastic barns and carriage houses I could show you, and maybe I will still do another post featuring some more, because I love them so.

But I am curious…

If you know anymore about the history of the connected barns of New England, please share!! And if you know of any examples of attached barns in the Midwest, share that too!



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Reader Interactions


  1. Mary P says

    I think our New England houses and carriage houses were connected because of the harsh winter weather so that they could take care of the animals, etc. without plowing through the snow.

  2. jj says

    Though I no longer live in New England, I grew up there. Part of a very long line of NEers. And I too always love a good carriage house and barn. I do remember reading one time why the barns were attached, but I’m afraid that memory left my head a while back. I want to say it had something to do with the protection of the animals. The farmer was close by in case of emergency, they needed him, etc. I hope you find out and write about the answer. And yes, more posts like this please! Love to see the beautiful architecture of carriage houses and barns like these. Thanks!

  3. brenda says

    i cannot cite anything in particular as a reference but it had always been my understanding that the barn was built first and as the persons prospered out of living in the barn and built their home and it was most likely practically created as an extension,PRACTICAL being the primary theme

  4. Donnamae says

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the Midwest either. You should check out the blog…For the Love of a House….Joan and her hubby have one of those homes…and they’ve restored it. It’s fantastic! She gives a lot of history about the home…some of your questions may get answered. Have a great day! 😉

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