The house at 40 Division Street, Newport, RI was built in two stages: 1720 and 1740. During the 1960’s when the home was converted to apartments, several important features had been removed. Throughout the design process, the architect and client agreed to return each room to its original size and use, in so far as possible, and to remove as little if any of the original fabric.
As part of the renovation the “keeping room," now the kitchen, was remodeled to take advantage of the large open space, making it more compatible with the feel of a spacious 18th century house. The third floor area would regain its 18th century functionality, with two bedrooms, a sitting room and an added bathroom. The three missing dormer windows would also be returned (from 19th century photographs they were known to exist), if not four.
The removal of the first floor bath allowed for the installation of a replica of the once-existing colonial south side door with transom, ideal for egress and access to the driveway. The driveway and the garden locations were switched for various safety, structural and aesthetic reasons. Spaces were eliminated, inserted, or updated to accommodate contemporary needs.
The original structural members were also to remain and restored as necessary. An example is the kitchen “summer” beam. When the trim was removed, the majority of the beam was found to have rotted. Through careful restoration, wood was matched (species and age) and epoxyed into the rotted area of the original beam (see photos) for a structurally sound member. Similarly the stone basement walls, which had bowed from centuries of earth pressure, were carefully disassembled and rebuilt. The home was brought up to code, and a radiator system that was renovated re-using the existing radiators and high-velocity, central air conditioning carried it into the 21st century.
40 Division Street
Scott Watson Associates
Sandra Liotes Lighting Design
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