Making an Entrance: Inside a Blackstone Blvd Abode

Grandeur meets modern life for this renovated Colonial


Blackstone Boulevard is arguably one of the most recognizable addresses in Providence. Just the name conjures images of stately homes, most built over a century ago. One such property is an elegant brick Colonial, circa 1900. However, through the years, the interiors and prized architectural features had lost their luster. So, even before closing, the home’s potential new owners hired Kelly Taylor Interior Design – now on Westminster Street – to start making plans for an extensive renovation.

“There was so much potential,” Taylor says. “The house has 10-foot coffered ceilings, period details, and wainscot, but vast open spaces and gracious rooms were dreary and lifeless.” She lists things like a grand stair covered with “a dingy runner and ghastly orange” handrail, walls painted drab colors, and wood flooring that had seen better days. “We touched virtually every surface in some way to bring the grandeur and elegance back to this home.”

Respecting the house’s history, original elements like wood floors and stairs were refinished to a forgiving dark stain, and balusters and handrails were treated to fresh coats of paint. “We painted every surface in the entire house – we even repainted and refinished the entire third floor,” Taylor says. New carpeting was added to the back staircase, wallpaper added to stair halls and the first-floor powder room, and to further brighten things up, all new light fixtures were installed. Taylor seems especially pleased with one project in particular: “Making that staircase grand again.”

Structural updates were made as well. On the main floor, the wall between the kitchen and dining room was removed and in came new cabinetry, appliances, counters, backsplash, lighting, and an island. To accommodate the busy family, Taylor created a mudroom area from the rear entrance. “Now everyone has a cubby and everything has its place,” she says.

“The master suite, which makes up half of the second floor, was longing for a push into the 21st century,” says Taylor, who completely reconfigured the layout. There’s now a new master closet and bathroom, and a convenient modern laundry room. “Creating a laundry room big enough to hang clothes and iron is a true luxury in a historic home anywhere!” The kids’ bathroom was also renovated from top to bottom.

Says Taylor, “Fear holds people back from making dynamic interior design decisions. It’s okay to mix modern with more traditional styles. Keep things interesting by mixing it up!”