Outside the Box

Growing up on her family’s farm in Tiverton, Amanda Fasano has long had a connection to the land. Ferolbink Farms, an expansive potato farm that extends from near the center of the peninsula …


Growing up on her family’s farm in Tiverton, Amanda Fasano has long had a connection to the land. Ferolbink Farms, an expansive potato farm that extends from near the center of the peninsula down to the banks of the Sakonnet River and Fogland Marsh, dates back to 1870. Today, Ferolbink is one of the state’s largest potato farms that also grows some smaller crops with its rich soil and rustic charm. So when Amanda and her husband Rob were told a neighboring property that bordered the farm on three sides was coming on the market, they knew exactly where they wanted to make their home — but not without some modern upgrades.

The cottage’s original owners built the home in 1956, and had long been friends with their Ferolbink neighbors. It was in the same family until Rob and Amanda bought the charmer, and the couple considers themselves lucky to take the home into the future. “It was an old cottage that was kept nice but it had no character,” says Rob. “It had wood paneling and it was outdated... We bought it knowing we’d have to do some work to it to make it livable for us.”

They considered razing the property entirely after they purchased it in October 2010, but after researching the costs involved with such a project, they reconsidered their options. “We saw the ad for Sixteen on Center in a local magazine,” explains Rob. After inviting the Tiverton- based design/build firm to their fixer-upper to discuss the possibilities, they knew they had met the right person to execute their vision while bringing in fresh ideas and architectural interest. “As soon as Shawn [Harris] stepped into the house, it was all him. We all hit it off and we got a good feeling right away,” tells Rob. “He wanted the job. He said this was exactly what he wanted to do.” At the time, Rob explains, the bulk of Sixteen on Center’s building portfolio was made up of renovations and additions, and though the Fasano home was technically a renovation, it was virtually a new construction with intentions to only keep just the original foundation and some walls intact. But the couple had every faith in Shawn and moved forward with plans for a two bedroom, two full bath home that was energy efficient, comfortable and original. When construction commenced in May 2011, the couple moved down the street into Amanda’s parents’ home where they could come by the build site daily and be on hand to make decisions on everything from repurposing space to finishes and lighting fixtures. “I was able to really be involved with the whole process,” says Rob, who alongside his father, painted the entire interior, saving what he estimates to be nearly $10,000. The colors they chose were mainly neutral-based, creating a cohesive balance throughout. His father also helped design the state of the art heating system, as that is his field of expertise.

By the time the couple opened the door to their functionally brand new home in January 2012, they were thrilled with the smart design and contemporary aesthetic that was simply an idea on paper a year prior. Because of code issues, they decided to build up instead of out. “The only way you can tell the house was ‘existing’ is in the basement,” explains Rob. “Basically, the house is like 90% new.” The couple also ran the design by the family who sold them the home, who was excited about its new chapter.

An open floor plan allows for the living room, dining space and kitchen to flow seamlessly. While most homeowners name the kitchen as one of the most important spaces when redesigning or building a home, for Rob, a professional chef, it was arguably the most critical. Dark wood cabinetry with modern fixtures, sleek black granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a top-grade cooking range create a warm and inviting kitchen where the chef can comfortably work his magic. A custom crafted wood butcher block completes the space. A nod to the home’s past, a limited amount of beech wood flooring was salvaged from the original home and repurposed in the couple’s guest bedroom. “It adds some character to the room,” adds Rob.

Ample windows allow natural light to pour in while offering picturesque views of their two surrounding acres, including an area of protected land. Just two blocks from the beach, they enjoy water views from the upstairs master bedroom.

The exterior of the home toasts New England tradition with cedar shingles and lattice work, but with sharp, angular lines, there’s a impression. “The house has a lot of funky angles to it,” says Rob. “It doesn’t have a name to its style because the roof lines and angles are very unique.” It’s peculiar, yes; but pretentious, no. Though contemporary, the home is compact. “We didn’t want a big monstrosity that stuck out,” explains Rob. “We wanted small but intelligently designed space we could really use properly and outdoor space we could utilize.”

While the couple is over the moon with the outcome, they still feel they are only halfway there. The Fasanos are looking to expand their landscaping outside and make some furniture upgrades inside, but all in due time. “We’re very happy with it and proud of what we have done so far, but to me and Amanda, there’s so much more we could do... We’re still playing around with it.”