The Dome Home // 2003

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to stay at one of the most unique Airbnb’s in New England, the Dome Home in idyllic Kennebunkport, Maine! The house itself was hand-built in 2003 by trained architect and sculptor Daphne Pulsifer with her husband Daniel Bates, on 43-acres of forest just miles from the iconic Maine beaches. Inside, the house features numerous custom touches designed and built by the original owners, including light fixtures, floor tiling, hand-built oak doors, wall tiling, woodwork — much of it claimed from the property itself. The Dome Home is completely sustainable with solar panels providing all the power needed, making the property completely off-the-grid. The original owners sold the property in 2022 to the new owners who have lovingly updated the spaces, keeping the charm and unique qualities of the Dome. If you are ever in Kennebunkport and are looking for a unique, off-the-grid stay with all of the amenities of modern living, definitely check out the Dome!

Richard E. Edwards House // 1981

The Colonial era has had a grip on New England residential design since the 1700s, with each subsequent “revival” showcasing the character-defining features in bold new ways. With this house on College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, the architect, Friedrich St. Florian, blended traditional Colonial Revival residential design with the flair and quirkiness that comes with the Post-Modern style, popular in the 1980s. The house is five bays wide at the facade with a central projecting bay at the entrance. Post-Modernism takes architectural precedence and turns it on its head, with quirky takes on features and larger proportions. The Edwards House exhibits decorative stone lintels, a Classically inspired entry with pilasters, and a very large cupola at the roof. What do you think of this house? I feel it works well for the neighborhood as it is contextual to the surrounding Colonial-era and Colonial Revival style residences while clearly being of the late 20th century.

Henry Samuel Sprague House // 1902

Colonial Revival houses just exude New England charm! This house in Providence’s East Side/College Hill neighborhood was built at the turn of the 20th century in 1902 for Henry Samuel Sprague, a Providence grain dealer, for $15,000. Mr. Sprague clearly did well for himself financially as he could afford a house lot on one of the city’s most beloved streets, Prospect Street. The large mansion has many architectural details which stand out including contrasting brick and shingle on the first and second floors, a massive projecting portico covering a prominent entry, bold fluted pilasters at the center bay, and three pedimented dormers at the slate roof. Inside, this old house has some amazing woodwork and details too!

Henry Thatcher Fowler House // 1903

Henry Thatcher Fowler (1867-1948) was born in Fishkill, New York, on March 4, 1867. He graduated from Yale in 1890 and received his Ph.D., also at Yale, in 1896. After stints teaching at Yale, Norwich Academy, and Knox College, Professor Fowler came to Brown and was hired as Professor of Biblical Literature and History; he was chairman of that department until 1932. Soon after arriving to Providence to accept his professorship at Brown, Henry and wife, Harriett, hired the local architectural firm of Martin & Hall to design a new home for them a few blocks away from his work. The house blends Tudor and Shingle styles with the ogee entrance at the porch, flared shingled overhangs on each floor, and a prominent gable facing the street.

Sarah and John Tillinghast House // 1904

This stately yellow brick Colonial Revival sits on the edge of the College Hill neighborhood of Providence, and I couldn’t help but to take a few photos! This residence was completed in 1904 for Sarah and John Tillinghast in the later years of John’s life (he died less than two years of moving into this home). The house exhibits a large semi-circular portico with balustrade above, the portico is flanked and surmounted by Palladian windows with elliptical reveals. The house was recently proposed to serve as a suboxone clinic, but that was shut down by neighbors. It appears to be divided into residential units now.

Oliver Walker House // c.1809

The Oliver Walker House in Kennebunkport Village is one of the better examples that shows how overlapping architectural styles can work really well on an old house (when done right)! The original house was constructed around 1809 for Oliver Walker (1788-1851), a sea captain who later accepted the call and became a deacon for the South Congregational Church in Kennebunkport. Walker died in 1851 and the Federal style property was inherited by his only surviving child, daughter Susan, who had married Portland native, Captain John Lowell Little. Under their ownership, the traditionally designed Federal house was modernized with fashionable Italianate style modifications of the decorative brackets and an enclosed round arched window in the side gable. A later Colonial Revival projecting vestibule adds to the complex, yet pleasing design. I have a feeling the interiors of this house are just as spectacular as the exterior.

Asa Hutchins House // 1795

The village of Kennebunkport in Maine is a well-preserved enclave of Federal period houses built at the heyday of shipbuilding and maritime trade in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Many sea captains and shipbuilders erected stately homes in the village, with high-quality design and woodworking inside and out. This Federal period home was built for Asa Hutchins (1769-1860) a blacksmith who was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and settled in Kennebunkport in the late 1700s. The house exhibits a central chimney a feature more common in Colonial-era homes, with a five bay facade and projecting entrance.

Robert Palmer Jr. House // 1907

Robert Palmer Jr. (1856-1914) was born in Groton, Connecticut as the son of Robert Sr., a prominent businessman and Deacon in Noank’s seaside village (his house was featured previously). Robert Sr. established the Palmer shipyard, which became the largest business enterprise in Noank. Jr. would later join his father’s business and did well for himself financially, eventually marrying and building this Neo-Classical mansion on Church Street in town. The company, under Sr. and Jr.’s leadership, built many seafaring vessels that were internationally renowned until the company closed in 1914 after the death of Robert Jr. This house is unique in town for the monumental two-story portico, Palladian windows at the first floor, and a projecting entry vestibule.

Moses Latham House // c.1845

Noank is a charming seaside village within the town of Groton that is centered on a peninsula at the mouth of the Mystic River where it spills out into the Long Island Sound. Historically, the area was known as Nauyang (meaning “point of land”) and was a summer camping ground of the Pequot people, but they were driven out in 1655 following the Pequot War. White settlement was slow here until the mid-19th century, when the shipbuilding and fishing economy took off here. As a result, houses, stores, churches and industries were built, and an entire village was formed. Most extant homes here were constructed starting in the 1840s as the village (and nearby Mystic) saw economic growth from the maritime trades. This house, the Moses Latham House, was constructed for Mr. Latham in about 1845. The house is Greek Revival in style with flush-board siding, a fan light in the gable which reads as a pediment, and a simple portico supported by fluted Doric columns.

Woods-Gerry House // 1860

There are always those houses that just stop you in your tracks… For my last post (for the time being) on Providence, I wanted to share this significant property, known as the Woods-Gerry House, perched atop College Hill. Owner Marshall Woods, who married into the Brown family and was active in the affairs of Brown University. Locally he was also involved on the building committee for St. Stephen’s Church where he was a factor in selecting renowned architect Richard Upjohn to design the church. He must have liked Upjohn so much (or got a good deal) that he hired Richard Upjohn to design his new home on Prospect Street. The exterior of the three-story brick building stands out amongst the other Italianate mansions built in the same decade nearby, but is elevated design-wise with a bowed centerpiece on its east elevation with the handsome new front entrance renovated in 1931 by then-owner, Senator Peter Gerry, who was a great-grandson of Elbridge Gerry, the fifth Vice President of the United States (who had given his name to the term gerrymandering). Today, this significant building is owned by the Rhode Island School of Design and houses the Woods Gerry Gallery. The grounds are also very well designed.