Postscripts: This ‘tattered previous girl of a home’ on Block Island is a Queen Anne stunner | Visitor Columns


She is an Island Queen with a reasonably unladylike identify: The Capt. Amazon Littlefield Home.

Inbuilt 1888-89 on Block Island, this grand Queen Anne overlooks meadows and fields and is adorned in yellow clapboard and wavy shingles skirted by a wraparound porch alongside Corn Neck Street reverse Clay Head Path resulting in a secluded seashore within the northern tier of the island.

Two-lane Corn Neck Street is a central island artery.

This isn’t an commercial, although the place is for lease. I do know this as a result of my household and I as soon as rented it for a pleasant week.

I additionally will fess as much as realizing the Stonington architect, Dan Costa, who co-owns the place and performed an integral position starting twenty years in the past in restoring and creating what stands there right now.

Somewhat, this can be a piece about why the Amazon Littlefield Home, all the time a cease on Block Island historic properties excursions, is prized as a lot for the interiors as the outside, however because the outdoors is what most individuals see, let’s take a look.

The New York Occasions, in a 2006 story about Costa and his companions, Susan Sellers and Michael Rock, founders of the graphic design agency 2×4 in New York’s SoHo, described what they took on this manner: “… a tattered previous girl of a home on an overgrown plot of land, most lately a bee farm and way back the residence of Amazon Littlefield, a fishing captain out of Greenport, on Lengthy Island, whose household line is as established on Block Island as its prehistoric bluffs.”

A research of historic architectural sources on Block Island says this, a bit technically:

“A staggered-cruciform-plan, 2 and ½ half story dwelling with wraparound entrance porch, bay home windows and a jerkinhead end-gable roof. … Custom maintains that Littlefield and his spouse, Marintha, noticed an analogous home whereas touring in New York. Its design, harking back to these present in late Nineteenth-century sample books, clear breaks with conventional island vernacular kind.”

Michael Rock defined a bit extra a few Queen Anne design within the Victorian period.

“The Amazon Littlefield was in-built 1888, inserting it within the appropriate time for the Queen Anne Revival,” he wrote in an electronic mail, “which is usually thought to come back to America in New York across the 1870s. … The time period is utilized fairly loosely and there aren’t any actual exhausting and quick guidelines however the home does exhibit a couple of of the everyday options:

“Asymmetry, exaggerated eaves, dominant gable in entrance, wraparound porch on the entrance, diversely patterned shingles, bay home windows, picket roof.

“Nevertheless, Queen Anne homes usually had towers and second-story porches, and infrequently had extra elaborate ‘gingerbreading’ that aren’t current (in all probability attributable to the truth that BI was fairly a modest place again then). The actually attention-grabbing innovation of the home is that indisputable fact that the cruciform plan permits all of the bedrooms to have cross air flow, so it nearly by no means will get sizzling.”

Costa, who grew up in Windfall and spent a part of his childhood in Rio de Janeiro and Trinidad, is a graduate of Brown College and the Harvard Graduate College of Design. He primarily designs summer season properties, together with tasks on Cape Cod, Block Island and Bald Head Island in North Carolina, and is a member of the Block Island Historic Society board of administrators.

The Amazon Littlefield Home, in truth, is featured amongst 25 summer season properties within the Northeast in a 360-page guide of pictures and essays referred to as “Summer time to Summer time: Homes by the Sea” by Jennifer Ash Rudick and photographer Tria Giovan and revealed a yr in the past by Vendome Press.

Rock and Sellers discovered the home after a search, maybe twenty years in the past, for a spot much like the one by which Rock grew up, “a rambling, welcoming previous shingle-style home in Warwick, R.I., on Narragansett Bay,” wrote The Occasions.

The inside was a catastrophe.

“Mr. Costa was used to designing summer season homes for purchasers, however a wooden flooring slathering in beeswax offered a special sort of problem,” mentioned The Occasions. “So did a Fifties kitchen with rusty steel cupboards and a yard with a midden — that’s, a household dump — that yielded footwear, an iron range, every thing in truth however a drearily mid-Twentieth century kitchen sink.”

Underdaunted, the companions set about reconfiguring, redesigning and reoutfitting with home equipment and cupboards in tune with the home’s character. They purchased a Nineteen Forties range, restored an previous pantry with 1940ish glassware and utensils. All through the home is an array of strange knickknacks and curios in addition to artwork.

“For Mr. Costa,” wrote The Occasions, “a part of the pleasure was working towards sort. ‘The humorous factor is, the home is Victorian, however we stayed away from Victorian motifs,’ he mentioned. ‘Most of what we did is appropriate with an previous home, however it’s quite simple.’”

As Jennifer Ash Rudick wrote in her guide, “On an island, the place practicality is paramount, nearly every thing they sourced had been interval supplies from salvage yards. Furnishings was likewise scavenged from numerous household properties in Rhode Island, Bucks County and Maine.”

The home options the Masonic solar and moon symbols carved into the height in addition to a transformed attic that’s now a sleeping loft for kids.

The home, astride a grassy lane resulting in the historic Sheffield Cemetery, is separated from Corn Neck Street by a tall hedge and surrounded by perennial gardens, bushes and lawns. The stone patio on the again is a pure for cooking, drinks, dinner and sunsets.

Once more, this isn’t an commercial. The place is a spot aside, and it’s an island treasure.

Steven Slosberg lives in Stonington and was a longtime reporter and columnist. He could also be reached at maayan72@aol.com.



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