Complete home renovation and addition in Bristol, RI.

The client a professional automotive photographer purchased this home for one reason, spectacular views of Mount Hope Bay. As a world traveler, he had very forward thinking ideas about the look he wanted for his home.

This was a very challenging house to renovate because the previous owner's had done so many additions. The sum of these renovations created  an incoherent set of spaces that were poorly organized. The owner requested a well defined entry, a new exterior look and an open plan organization at ground level to maximize the views.

The original house had three front entries on the same side. The back of the house had an enclosed porch that blocked most of the water views. The house exterior had a brick veneer for the first floor and texture 1-11 wood siding on the second floor painted olive green. That's normally the siding you put on a yard shed. The family room interior space had dark wood paneling with even darker ceramic tiles, like a time capsule of the 1970's.


As unpleasant as that may sound, there was a lot of potential for this house to become a home for the 21st century. The need for proportions, scale and composition matters on any good design and this house had none. To incorporate a New England building element that would provide an elegant solution a two foot wide eight foot tall stonewall starts outside establishing the entry. Then it  continuous on the inside as part of the kitchen and exits the house forming the patio area. Instead of showing the water views right away, visitors have to discover the views. A cantilevered canopy floats over the stonewall marking a narrow point of entry. Once you are under the canopy you change directions to enter the house. The moment you enter the foyer you see the stonewall again and must change direction one more time. Now at this point the water views open up in front of you in dramatic fashion completing the process of discovery. Finally, we needed a vertical anchor and an oversize chimney was built to break up the massing of the house.


Since the original brick veneer and siding were in good water tight condition,  we develop a new skin instead. A rain screen wall system was the obvious choice. Several materials studies were discussed with the client and under his request we settled on the use of CorTen steel and fiber cement boards.(CorTen steel is purposely designed to develop a very thin film of rust on the surface without corroding the entire metal sheet)  This created a unique color palette combination of rusted steel, antique gray painted cement board, copper patina details and the stonewall. The client and myself like to think that is a striking visual combination.


Completed in 2014.