Ever find yourself on a drive, spot a big ol’ farmhouse, and wonder what it would be like to make it your own? This was the case for a pair of empty-nesters who were aware of a vacant property not far from where they lived in the Rumford section of East Providence. Off a main street, close to a reservoir sat a charming white farmhouse built in 1860. The couple, who’d been searching for a historic renovation project, saw possibilities in the 1,200-square-foot dwelling and had the vision to make it into their “forever farmhouse.”
To begin, the couple hired Gail Hallock Architect and SR Fine Home Builders to collaborate on the project, two North Kingstown-based firms with solid reputations for attention to detail on old homes. “The challenge with a historic renovation project often lies in the retention, rehabilitation, and/or replication of original details and materials,” says Nick Vanasse, chief operating officer of SR Fine Home Builders. “Not only did we need to ensure the new addition matched the existing structure in detail, but since the house sat vacant for several years, it needed a lot of time and attention to be sure that it would last for years to come. Every portion needed to be repaired, rebuilt, or refreshed in some way.”
The renovation and addition that followed more than doubled the home’s square footage to 2,750 and resulted in space for a living room, an additional bedroom, a screen porch, and a finished basement that houses a home gym. “The homeowners wanted a family gathering space in their new home, designed around the fireplace – as would be seen in a traditional farmhouse – so we crafted the space with shiplap and a custom mantle featuring a Carrara marble fireplace surround,” says Vanasse.
The builders refer to the project as the Arts and Crafts Farmhouse, which is fitting since the home boasts details from both movements. Structural elements like the staircase with oak cross buck railings emphasize craftsmanship and beauty in utility, a hallmark of the Arts and Crafts movement, while shiplap (once simply used for sheathing) and architectural details like a porch and fireplace check the farmhouse boxes. Interior design choices echo these themes, like the trestle-style dining table by Lorimer Studios of Wickford, or bare windows that show their muntins. Of course, being nestled among tall trees, a rolling lawn, and surrounding stone walls gives a pastoral vibe that simply can’t be replicated.
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