Erin and Asher Schofield first bought a home in Warren on bustling Water Street when they were expecting their first child. It was seven years ago, and instantly, says the couple, the tight-knit coastal community welcomed the young family. They quickly became regulars on one of one of Warren’s most beloved attractions, the East Bay Bike Path, making the scenic walk part of their routine. A cozy home along the path had caught their eye and easily became their favorite. “Our dream house,” is the way Erin wistfully recalls it. “We would take walks on the bike path and say, ‘Boy, those people know how to live.’” With a rolling green lawn, large deck, water views and picture perfect pear tree, it was east to see why the home resonated.
“So one day, Asher said, ‘Let’s take a walk on the bike path. I’ll pick up some beer and we’ll see if that house is for sale.’ It was a total joke,” laughs Erin. But what they saw when they approached was anything but a joke. “The real estate agent was literally pounding the sign in the ground. I looked at Asher all wide-eyed and was like, ‘This is not at all what we should do, but I think it’s a sign.”
“It’s totally how it went down,” Asher confirms. “It was like, ‘You’re kidding me!’” The two scrambled to pursue the adorable abode in Warren’s North End. Despite its wall-to-wall pseudo-shaggy carpet and mint green kitchen, the couple was eager to make the house their own. The homeowners were parents of an architecture student at Roger Williams University in Bristol who was getting ready to graduate, making them motivated sellers. “They had just so many parties in it. It was a total wreck — tons of empty beer cans,” Asher laughs (while admitting an errant beer can still appears in a nook or cranny from time to time). But it was nothing the two couldn’t handle with a clear vision and some old fashioned elbow grease.
“Next thing we knew, it was ours,” says Erin. “We really got lucky,” adds Asher. Six years and two more daughters later, the Schofields have fallen even more in love with their approximately 1000 sq. ft. home built in 1934. Renovations came over time, with the priority being opening up the view of the cove from the kitchen, which had just one paltry window. “It was definitely in rough shape and we had our work cut out for us,” says Asher. “We have a growing family, too. Our needs change every single year. This past year, Erin designed a room to be a laundry room slash changing table room.” The space represents the smart use of practical, multifunctional space throughout the home. They’ve also opened up the stairwell, added an outdoor shower, and renovated the second floor bathroom near the master bedroom. Most projects were executed by carpenter John Nelson of Little Compton.
“I love houses with history, and this has some real character to it,” says Erin. “I feel like — and my mom was the same way—I can make any place a home. I really love and enjoy doing that, and watching it evolve.” With a keen eye for color and texture, Erin has chosen subtle tones for the walls throughout to let color and texture take center stage. “It’s like a blank canvas where you can mix everything together,” she explains. Her passion for vibrant textiles, fabrics, linens, rugs, furniture and accessories is evident. “Erin is really the person that’s amazing at designing spaces,” compliments Asher.
Their shared passion for art only adds to the home’s unique aesthetic throughout. “We have so much artwork that means so much to us,” says Erin. “We happen to have a lot of friends that are artists and it makes us feel so lucky. Several of the pieces are from friends, others are from places we’ve traveled. I watch HGTV and it literally hurts me when they send people out to buy art at places like Homegoods,” she laughs. “Art is what gives a home its soul.” One recent addition to their collection is a poster promoting a show by Providence-based indie-folk band The Low Anthem. But their favorite pieces are a trio of paintings Asher had commissioned for Erin by artist, children’s book illustrator and friend Jen Corace, a RISD alumnae who calls Providence home. Each distinct piece commemorates the birth of their daughters: Flavia; now seven, Hazel; four, and baby Sofenne; a little over eight months. Their names and birthdates are interwoven into each piece and the couple notes the artwork is a treasure their children will have forever.
In the warmer months, the family spends a lot of time on the large deck with family and friends. It’s a place they have made treasured memories, says Asher. Flavia and Hazel have been known to take their easels out on the lawn on a sunny summer day to create their next masterpieces. Inside, Erin says one of her favorite places is the dining room, not only because the family share meals there, but it’s a neat and orderly space where she can unwind when she has some downtime (which isn’t often). “I need that - if it weren’t for that, it’d be chaos,” she says, laughing.
As the owner of the wildly popular shop Frog & Toad on Hope Street on Providence’s East Side, Asher has a demanding schedule, but one of his favorite places to unwind is in the kitchen, where he dishes up culinary creations for the family. “On Saturday and Sunday mornings, he gets up and starts cooking right away,” tells Erin. “Cooking for my kids and my wife is wonderful for me,” he adds. It’s just one more creative way that the Schofields’ are making a home.