The real estate listing began with “Much admired 1875 Mansard Empire home” – and continued citing coveted features like a large carriage house garage, high ceilings, period moldings, and details including a covered brick veranda, patios, a stunning dining room, and more. Yet, this home in East Greenwich’s Hill and Harbor area sat on the market for some time. Says current homeowner Sherri Tracey of the property in which she happily resides with her husband Doug and their two older kids, “Many people I know looked at it and even considered purchasing it. I think it was overwhelming for some because it needed a lot of work and would be a huge project.”
In a wise move, the Traceys’ realtor Jodie Neville suggested they reach out to Paul Vespia from Hill and Harbor Design+Build (HHDB) to get an idea of the amount of work ahead. “After talking to HHDB and getting a budget range as well as some ideas to change the layout of the house, we submitted an offer, still a little unsure about what we were getting ourselves into,” says Doug. The day of the closing, HHDB began demolition work.
Ambitious structural plans included transforming a series of rooms into an open floor plan on the main level, which meant removing “a staircase to nowhere” and knocking down the walls of two bedrooms to create an expansive space where kitchen, pantry, TV room, and dining rooms all flow. With so much house to decorate and to keep things cohesive, the couple turned to HHDB’s interior designer. Says Sherri, “With their help I was able to use different colors throughout the house that transition seamlessly from one room to the next. Most of these colors I would’ve never picked myself, but we love every single color in every room.”
Six months after moving in, Sherri still beams when talking about her home. “We were able to have a brand new house but keep the charm of an 1875 historic home all in 14 weeks from start to finish of construction. My tip would be if you are looking for something new – whether it be a new home or new kitchen – is to listen to the professionals. We love that we took a chance with HHDB’s vision of this house and it turned out even better than we imagined.” With a smile, Sherri adds, “I can’t wait until this pandemic is over so I can finally have a party!”