Narragansett, Rhode Island
Architect: Jon-Paul Couture, Couture Design Associates
Builder: Sweenor Builders
The Rebirth of a Seaside Treasure
Working on a historic New England home offers the exciting challenge of balancing today's conveniences with honoring the historical character of the property. It requires us to be creative and think critically, exercises we thoroughly enjoy. The restoration of Stone Lea, a classically appointed oceanfront estate, allowed us to rise to that challenge once again. Built in the late 1800s as a summer retreat for a Philadelphia family, this property was the perfect place for our clients to create a restful getaway for their blended family. As Philadelphia natives themselves, our clients wanted a home rooted in history that was equal parts Philadelphia tradition and the ease of a Maine summer house. Our goal was to honor the history of the home, restore as much of the glory of the original Mckim, Mead, & White design, and create a comfortable - yet inspiring - house for all ages to gather.
Complete with a newly added owner’s suite with a generous bath and walk-in closet, this project provides modern-day amenities while remaining true to the original spirit of the house. The client's vision blended seamlessly with the genius of the original architect and allowed us to restore the beautiful interior details that had been lost in previous restorations. Wherever we could, we replicated original details and subtleties such as radiused plaster corners when new walls were installed. It’s hard to tell old from new in this house, a lovely testament to the care taken by the entire design/build team, led by our client.
The end result is a classic home that honors the history of the past 100 years while being ready to stand strong for the next 100.
Lessons Learned from Stone Lea
•It takes a great amount of care and vigilance to create a space that evokes history while still providing the ease of modern convenience. For example when developing the principal bed-and-bath suite, we were tasked with transforming two smaller bedrooms into a ocean-facing, modern retreat for our clients. We carefully reworked the floor plan to provide a luxurious suite with plenty of modern amenities, that simultaneously evoked the nature of the original residence and design.
•The best work is done through collaboration. Our clients had a strong vision for this project, and it was an honor to work so closely with them throughout every step of the process. Combined with the craftsmanship of Jon-Paul Couture and Sweenor Builders we were able to build a team that was willing to work together and eager to create. The finished project is a testament to the value of collaboration and trust that is so needed when working on projects as uniquely special as Stone Lea.