RECREATIONAL RETREAT

Street-side, the public experiences this Barrington property as an elegant 1930's home – demure, unassuming, reserved. But the residents – and architects – revel in its dual personality. The property’s serious façade dissipates into a beguiling suburban paradise where “fun” dictated every element of the 2014 renovation.  


The owners purchased the property with the vision of creating “amenities” for their children and friends. The collection of ancillary structures on site already included a cabin, a shed, garage, a pool house, a carriage house with a greenhouse, and a treehouse – each to be adapted to the client’s desire for outstanding entertainment spaces. 

The interior of the existing cabin shed its dark red cedar and was newly clad in golden fir, introducing a brighter, more welcoming space to host overnight visitors. Repurposed and expanded with only 370 square feet, this guesthouse received a bedroom and another bathroom for graceful temporary living. It also became the pivotal centerpiece of the property’s entertainment scheme with a stylish roof deck on the second story. From there, guests can now take an upper bridge to the new crow’s nest or descend a spiral staircase enclosed within a tower that was originally the eight-by-eight foot shed. 

At ground level, the expanded guesthouse - with a relaxing porch - connects to a covered breezeway that leads to every would-be athlete’s dream: a swank game room. An addition of only 98 square feet to the east makes this space feel luxurious. No one would guess this was once a dilapidated garage. The breezeway strategically connects, unifies and organizes several disparate structures, even as it doubles as a carport for recreational vehicles.   

The decrepit, moldy pool house bowed out, and a new trellis took its place above accenting hardscape for additional outdoor entertaining, but with open views to the many active recreation areas, including the in-ground pool and various playing fields and courts. The greenhouse off the carriage house – formerly used for storage – converted beautifully to a new pool cabana. The architects expertly fashioned a changing room, small kitchen, and benches and cubbies in the relatively small space to make the cabana useful and inviting. 

The treehouse received a professional makeover also, and now, with its spiral staircase, underscores the spirit of fun that the client desired. Overall, the architectural renovation has enhanced this country manor and transformed it into a celebration of family, friends and the best moments of life itself.

This recreational retreat won Bronze in RI Monthly’s Annual Awards competition in October 2017.