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Wheel of Fortune

A mix of pattern and color fill a potter’s historic Wickford home with panache

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If you’re a fan of functional pottery, chances are good that you know the name Spring. For many years, potter Harry Spring and his wife Elizabeth – an astrologer, author, and Jungian psychotherapist – had retail spaces for Harry’s wares around Newport before deciding to sell from their own property in North Kingstown. However, frequent passes through Wickford had them wondering about village life and contemplating a move.

A house along Brown Street caught the couple’s attention – a Cape Cod build in 1833 with an enclosed porch that could be used as a retail space and a detached garage perfect for a studio. The cottage was out of their price range, but the Springs kept tabs on it over the years. While on vacation in California, they saw that it had gone into foreclosure and was for sale through a bank at a price they could now afford. “The website listed a ‘click here to buy now,’ so we clicked the button and began the process of buying the property even though we had never been in the home!” says Harry.

Built by Benoni Bates, part of the committee that built St. Paul’s Church in Wickford, Harry explains that the center chimney was removed as the Victorian period gained popularity and two chimneys, several feet apart, were installed, one in each living room. “The house is broken up into a lot of small rooms, and it gets difficult to locate one another even though we know we’re both home.” To overcome this communication gap, the Springs cut a 2x4 foot opening in the hallway wall and installed a piece of stained glass.

As they had planned, the narrow porch is their pottery store with the back entrance leading to the garage occupied by Harry’s studio. Inside the home, the couple’s adoration for classic furnishings and eclectic pieces is on display. Says Harry, “We love oriental rugs and stained glass. Our son-in-law Shane Roche made us a fireplace mantel for the dining room to match the old one in the living room.” Shutters are used throughout the home and lend an easy charm even when paired with toile window treatments.