Smith Owen House-79 Prospect St., Providence, RI

This 1861, Federal Style, brick and wood frame residence is located in the densely populated, historic district of Providence’s College Hill. The private home was purchased to be used as a residence, home office, and entertaining venue for university and fundraising functions.

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The initial project includes creation of an underground four-car garage, recreation area, and home office. Marrying together the restrictions of the site, the close screening of the neighbors and historic groups, and the client’s desire to preserve the integrity of the house and existing gardens, the solution to go underground provided a comfortable compromise. Ground water and waterproofing control, site drainage, sprinkler systems, and extensive landscaping and hardscaping occurred. The exterior received an extensive facelift including re-pointing, and fully integrated exterior ramp-ways to provide handicapped accessibility to the below grade office area. Interior renovations include relocated fireplaces, and new library with historically sympathetic mahogany casework. Mechanical and electrical systems were upgraded with air conditioning and above grade humidification. Below grade areas have separately zoned de-humidification and air conditioning.

A second project includes a sunroom addition carefully integrated with the existing structure. Traditional flat board and cornice detailing are in keeping with the period. Large custom mahogany and glass sliding doors open to established gardens. Raised panel doors, patterned hardwood floors and decorative plaster walls integrate the new addition with the existing historic structure.

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