Just a stone’s throw away from the ocean, the house was designed and built by Willard Kent, a prominent Rhode Island architect, as his personal home in 1898. It is a large Shingle-Style home with a massive cross-gambrel roof giving it its name – the Four Gables. The “Gables” was largely conceived and built in the early Arts and Crafts style. This included well-considered, functional built-in seating and cabinetry in Douglas Fir.
Over the years, the Gables has changed hands quite a few times and recently was used as both a bed and breakfast and as a vacation rental prior to being purchased by Dave and Elizabeth Adams in 2016. The Adamses attended URI years ago prior to starting their family and careers. Now grandparents and soon-to-be retirees, they looked back to coastal Rhode Island for a family home with a history of its own. They were not specifically looking for the responsibilities that they inherited with the Four Gables, but they took them on with a passion and enthusiasm that has made our work, and the relationship we have with them, a high point for everyone at Picus.
The sun, wind and time had their way, and the exterior of the house was tired. Picus Woodwrights restored the exterior details to what we feel is a close rendering of the original siding, millwork and windows. Much of our work was restorative. When we could reuse original materials, we did and when we could not, they were reproduced. We re-sided the house with Red Cedar shingles. The house has a curved bay and areas where the side walls flare out. To maintain those details, we steam-bent the shingles on site. Most of the exterior trim was either restored or reproduced.
The interior presented several challenges. It had been chopped up a bit over the years and needed a new kitchen, updated plumbing and electrical wiring. We also added a dumbwaiter to move food between a basement freezer and the kitchen.
While our primary focus was on returning the house to its original state, we did make a few creative changes. We designed a custom stained-glass window to an exterior door. We also renovated a later “fishing shed” that was transported from Galilee, a nearby fishing village.