Renovated Historic East Greenwich Home with Holiday Touches

A peek inside a stunning Hill & Harbor District house


Paul and Katie Vespia were living in Providence when they decided to head to the suburbs to start a family. The couple initially moved to East Greenwich, close to North Kingstown, and while that location was an ideal setting in many respects, the pair found themselves missing a city style of life. “Specifically, the walkability,” says Paul. “We began to reevaluate where we should live and started to look in the Hill & Harbor District of East Greenwich.”

While East Greenwich is indeed a town, in fact the eighth oldest in Rhode Island, it has a Main Street filled with restaurants, cafes, and all kinds of small businesses. The Vespias found just what they were looking for in a Cape Cod/Colonial built in 1870, still with many period details and hardwood floors, tucked in a quiet neighborhood just minutes by foot from downtown. “We chose the home we live in now as it was ideal for a family with small children and two parents working from home. Layout, yard, separate work space,” says Paul.

After renovating and selling a number of historic homes in the Hill & Harbor District, the Vespias purchased this home in July 2019 and began work a month later after going through the approval process with East Greenwich Historic District Commission to add a significant addition to the property. As the owner of Hill & Harbor Design+Build, a design-focused firm known for navigating the approval process in historic districts around the state, Paul had a strong sense of how to implement what they wanted for the home. “For us it’s more about working with the existing elements. Like with all of our clients’ projects, we strive to preserve characteristics of an existing home by highlighting the charm of the past while integrating modern enhancements that complement today’s lifestyle, making them feel seamless.”

Structural updates included opening up the first floor with an expansive kitchen and separate mudroom and kids’ playroom. “This helps us to keep the space clean, especially with all our children’s belongings,” says Katie. The master suite now has a relaxing sitting area, walk-in closet, and large bathroom courtesy of an addition to the garage. “We really wanted to play off the modern farmhouse idea. Our vision was to create something sleek and modern without feeling cold. I think we captured it perfectly,” Paul says.

When it comes to decor, both Paul and Katie describe their collective sensibilities as transitional. “It’s a mix of traditional and modern,” Paul explains. “A mainly neutral color palette and a mixture of material textures, with a hint of mid-century modern.” Katie adds, “Keeping the home neutral helps us to easily change the feel of the home or evolve our design. It’s warm and inviting.”


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