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O+E Breathes New Life Into Deteriorating Carriage House

Just five minutes from downtown Indianapolis is a special place known as Historic Herron-Morton. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, Herron-Morton is an urban neighborhood rich in history, known for the architectural grandeur of its stately homes, tree-lined streets and quaint neighborhood charm.

It’s also home to Tinner Park, one of Onyx+East’s most prided communities. Featuring 59 townhomes and 10 live-work homes, the development is even home to the Onyx+East headquarters. But one standout gem garners special attention—the restored 1900s carriage house, on the corner of 19th and New Jersey streets, which is now a single-family home that’s truly like no other.

Carriage houses, also called a coach houses, are outbuildings that originated in Great Britain in the 1700s. They appeared in the United States in the early 19th Century. Back then, they were viewed as a status symbol because homeowners could use them to store wagons, buggies and horses, which were expensive to own. Sometimes, they even housed the coachman on the upper floor.

In modern times, carriage houses are sometimes repurposed into creative single-family homes with ample open living space that, in years past, housed the large carriages. The Tinner Park carriage house is a one-off design—uniquely designed using the original structure to create a 2,600 square-foot home with three bedrooms, a a guest suite and a second-floor loft that overlooks the open-concept floor plan below.

But the real showstopper is the expansive rooftop terrace penthouse—complete with a second kitchen, fire place and accordion-style doors that create a full indoor/outdoor rooftop experience.

The block in the heart of Herron-Morton, where Tinner Park West and the carriage house is located, struggled for decades. The carriage house was rapidly deteriorating. By partnering with the Herron-Morton Place Association, Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission (IHPC) and Rottman-Collier Architects, Onyx+East honored the home’s historic aesthetic and brought it back to life.

The original carriage house is one of the oldest buildings in the neighborhood, recognized by IHPC as a historic structure. Restoration began on the two-story building in summer 2021. When development began, it was physically attached to a dilapidated warehouse, but with care and expertise, the original structure was retained.

Part of Onyx+East’s mission is to transform communities while preserving the history of the neighborhoods in which it builds. Preserving the original carriage house was important to the history of the Herron-Morton neighborhood, having been neglected so long.

“We looked at what it was 100 years ago and what it will be 100 years from now,” said David Leazenby, SVP of Acquisitions and Development at Onyx+East. “We asked, ‘What is the legacy that we will leave?’ We know we have done our job when we come in with an idea, make an impact and leave the community better than we found it.”

In 2022, the Indy Chamber honored Tinner Park with the Monumental Award for excellence real estate development. The carriage house restoration was a main piece of the award which celebrates the work of companies across the region to strengthen Indy’s placemaking, economic development and talent strategy.