Serving up this steaming pile of
Celebrity Gossip
Gay Politics
Gay News
and Pointless Bitchery
Since 1995

Hello and thank you for being a DL contributor. We are changing the login scheme for contributors for simpler login and to better support using multiple devices. Please click here to update your account with a username and password.

Hello. Some features on this site require registration. Please click here to register for free.

Hello and thank you for registering. Please complete the process by verifying your email address. If you can't find the email you can resend it here.

Hello. Some features on this site require a subscription. Please click here to get full access and no ads for $1.99 or less per month.

Tasteful friends: Hilltop, an artist's summer place in Newport, designed by Richard Morris Hunt, 1870, $3M

A big, rambling Richardsonian Romanesque style summer house (by the man himself) of 7900 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 partial baths, on 3 acres.

Commissioned fro Theodore W. Phinney and the childhood home of Newport artist Richard Grosvenor. For me it's the perfect Newport house, a sprawling, eccentric and sometimes exotic pile full of unusual spaces and rich detailing. Aside from the furnishings I would change very little. It's a perfect house to fill with friends over the summer and occupy for as much of the year as reasonable then escape to somewhere warmer in the dead of winter and back in the spring, moving from room to room to catch a breeze or the sun, picking over the books in the reception hall fitted out as a library, or moving out to the porches and lawn.

There are two kitchens on two floors, the one shown was done without a great deal of expense or care, the light fixtures are cheap, there's no pool, there's no ocean access (but a pond an ocean view), there's nothing state-of-the-art about the place unless you turn back the clock to 1870.

I would fill the place with oriental rugs and endless sofas and chairs, antiques and modern furniture, old and new art, and not give a lot of thought it. Why compete with such architecture? The fact that it's a summer place gives license not to treat it deadly seriously, both in interior decoration and fussing over kitchens and bathrooms and renovations. Keep the roof tight and the windows in good order, replace systems where necessary or cost effective, and leave the place mostly alone. There's no need for a flashy 3-year restoration where everything is taken apart and put back together again shiny bright like a new penny and looking wrong for it all.

If you have the kind of friends who will be offended not to have a salt water pool and acres of marble shower fit for a Russian oligarch or a tech billionaire, let them stay home. It's not that kind of house. It is though the kind of house I would want to be invited back to.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 705/05/2021

GORGEOUS!!! Beautiful hardwoods, and when it comes to real estate porn nothing excites me like fantastic use of hardwoods!!!

My only criticism is some ugly window treatments, and the fact that it doesn't feel like a summer house at all. In fact, it seems like the ideal place to go around singing "Another Winter in a Summer Town".

by Anonymousreply 105/04/2021

Richardsonian does not refer to Richard Morris Hunt. It refers to Henry Hobson Richardson.

by Anonymousreply 205/04/2021

Seems way underpriced... but that's a perspective from someone in coastal CA. East coasters... is this is a bad neighborhood or...??

Most of the architectural details are lovely. It's got an odd floorplan, but I think that's something that recommends it.

by Anonymousreply 305/04/2021

I think the tower to the left is an addition. The house would look better without it. I loooove the hardwood beams on the roof. That's very trendy now, but it's usually paired with ugly ass shiplap. Thankfully not here. The oblong window is to die for. They don't make houses like this anymore.

by Anonymousreply 405/04/2021

I love the house as a whole, and would take the downstairs as is without changing anything but the kitchen and bathrooms. The bedrooms obviously need some appropriate furnishings, but why did they glass in the loggia? I agree with R1, this house has clearly been winterized, and I'd take out that glass first thing.

I might add a pool in the back yard too -- there's certainly room.

by Anonymousreply 505/04/2021

[quote]Seems way underpriced... but that's a perspective from someone in coastal CA. East coasters... is this is a bad neighborhood or...??

R4: Roughly similar grand houses are currently for sale from around $5 to $19M, the range has to do with style, location, size, and condition. The preference everywhere now it seems is for turn-key properties, recently and exhaustively renovated, every system replaced in full, everything "updated," every finish "upgraded," and cleaned up in a sort of generic taste.

This 1870 house, however, is more eccentric/specific in its architecture and style, it's not fitted out in brand new furniture or antique French polished to look like reproductions, its a bit of a frumpy family house that took on its appearance over many years. Their furniture is old is and frumpy rather than antique (the few exceptions are of no value); they had a big house to furnish and filled it with with quantity rather than quality in mind — a welcome change from many houses that are expensively but terribly furnished, this one is honestly about the house itself and not about showing off their inner interior designer.

Many houses in Newport are more about the architecture than furnishings, a legacy of its summer cottage heydays when the houses were used for about eight weeks for the summer social season. Even more expensively fitted out places like this $10M Peabody & Stearns Architects' example from the same street but at the better end on Cliff Walk. — for all its polish and adherence to a more current taste for spare furnishings and a simpler (white) aesthetic, there's practically in the way of furniture that might break the $1000 mark at auction.

There's a big price leap when a house is newly renovated, everything tidy and perfect and move-in ready. Most people would see the RM Hunt house as a money pit, and Pandora's box, and buyers for years now want any hint of patina and age scrubbed away or at least made to look new again and probably paint white (or grey.) The idea of a big gorgeous house for family summers among frumpy old furniture left in place because it would cost more to move than it is worth, and odds and ends of old lawn games and family detritus... that's gone, replaced with a taste for shiny perfection and whatever Ann Sacks tiles and Farrow & Ball paint and the Aga stove of the moment. Domestic architecture has turned inside out from showing off the kitchens and media rooms and toilets, and leaving the drawing rooms and dining rooms and libraries as trophy spaces.

The end of Ruggles Avenue where the 1870 house is is, like a lot of Newport, mixed: across the street are modest 1960s split-levels and other houses of a very different character. Big properties like this one got carved away, street frontage sold off, the eccentric styles fell quickly out of fashion and were hard sells for many many decades; you see evidence in some form of this at most any turn on a street in Newport though this is definitely the best house on a weak block. There was more taste for this style of house in the 1970s-1990s even than there is today, so it remains a harder sell than something in a more popular neoclassical or colonial revival or something Mansardy but not too very (being Newport.)

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 605/05/2021

This house has been brought up before in another "Tasteful Friends". I absolutely love it's warm and exciting interior along with it's grand, old family compound exterior. The updates are tasteful and compliment the house's craftsmanship.

by Anonymousreply 705/05/2021
Need more help? Click Here.

Yes indeed, we too use "cookies." Take a look at our privacy/terms or if you just want to see the damn site without all this bureaucratic nonsense, click ACCEPT. Otherwise, you'll just have to find some other site for your pointless bitchery needs.


Become a contributor - post when you want with no ads!