On The Rocks

published in: Interiors By Costas Voyatzis, 16 September 2008

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© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times

Thanks to Mr.Erik Jacobs permission,  the photographer of Clingstone, an unusual, 103-year-old mansion in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay, yatzer shares his beautiful photos followed by the text as it was found at The New York Times

Clingstone, an unusual, 103-year-old mansion in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay, survives through the love and hard work of family and friends.


© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times

Henry Wood, the owner, runs the house like a camp: all skilled workers welcome. The Jamestown Boatyard hauls the family's boats and floating dock and stores them each winter in return for a week's use of the house in the summer.


© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times

Mr. Wood, a 79-year-old Boston architect, bought the house with his ex-wife Joan in 1961 for $3,600. It had been empty for two decades.


© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times

Clingstone had been built by a distant cousin, J.S. Lovering Wharton. Mr. Wharton worked with an artist, William Trost Richards, to create a house of picture windows with 23 rooms on three stories radiating off a vast central hall.


© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times

The total cost of the construction, which was completed in 1905, was $36,982.99.


© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times


An early sketch of the house. Mr. Wood is as proud as any parent of his house, and keeps a fat scrapbook of photographs and newspaper clippings that document its best moments. Many of the historic photos he has were provided by the company that insured the house for its original owners.



© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times


The Newport Bridge is visible from the windows of the Ping-Pong room, to the left of the fireplace.



© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times


The house is maintained by an ingenious method: the Clingstone work weekend. Held every year around Memorial Day, it brings 70 or so friends and Clingstone lovers together to tackle jobs like washing all 65 of the windows. Anne Tait, who is married to Mr. Wood's son Dan, refinished the kitchen floor on one of her first work weekends.



© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times


There are 10 bedrooms at Clingstone, all with indecently beautiful views.



© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times


The dining room table seats 14. Refinishing the chairs is a task on the list for a future work weekend.


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© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times


A sign by the ladder that leads to the roof reads: No entry after three drinks or 86 years of age. "It used to say 80 but we had a guy on a work weekend who was 84, so I changed it," said Mr. Wood, ever the realist. It would have been a shame to curtail the activities of a willing volunteer.


© Erik Jacobs for The New York Times

sources:

The New York Times , Eric Jacobs

  • friend
    olivia | 2008-09-17 06:31:38

    I have never seen a house so beautiful and so welcoming. Some how this house has made my day. Where do I sign up for the work weekend?!

  • friend
    Jessica | 2008-09-25 13:54:57

    Seeing this house takes you in a different world altogether. There is no pollution, no corruption or no population and makes you feel so close to nature.

  • friend
    Cathy | 2008-10-10 20:03:20

    do ever rent out your house? I am sooo impressed!

  • friend
    MEGAN | 2008-10-10 20:45:44

    My father was married on Clingstone when I was a little girl and the atmosphere of that place has always stuck with me. We stayed in the house for about a week and as close as it was to our home I always recall it as if it were part of an epic voyage.

  • friend
    Mike | 2008-10-11 00:28:41

    This house would be amazing to sleep in with a thunder storm, maybe scary and ya it beautiful

  • friend
    Milena | 2008-10-11 01:16:04

    Wow, what a place. Simply gorgeous. Would give so much to have it be mine.

  • friend
    Allan | 2008-10-11 08:16:15

    The views would invite a sense of peace, even in a storm. Wonderful accomplishment.

  • friend
    Steven | 2008-10-11 08:24:05

    Deep yard it is.

  • friend
    Miguel de Luis | 2008-10-11 13:36:51

    As an amateur writer I can tell you my ideal job would be to take care of that home :)

  • friend
    Paul | 2008-10-11 13:44:53

    Wish I was there.

  • friend
    Robert Goodwin | 2008-10-11 16:34:45

    Beautiful place ! But my first thought was what kind of potable water system does the place have and what type of sewer waste disposal system?

  • friend
    Jurgen Alan | 2008-10-11 18:03:07

    now that is really cool !!

  • friend
    Josie brown | 2008-10-11 19:51:49

    how lovwly i have never seen anything so gorgeous.how i envy them the peace and calm.it really lifted me up.

  • friend
    Kait | 2008-10-12 18:52:47

    This reminds me of a beautiful weekend I spent in a rented fire-lookout. If you love this place, check and see if your state allows you to rent lookouts in remote areas. I know Oregon does! They're certainly not so luxurious, but I'd say ours had equally beautiful views.

  • friend
    tim mitchell | 2008-10-28 13:54:19

    just needs a floating mod abstract sculpture (red) to make it really pop. Tim zmitchel@bellsouth.net

  • friend
    Pieyter | 2008-11-01 07:11:05

    Freakin awesome

  • friend
    Michael Barrick | 2008-11-13 06:42:01

    @Robert Goodwin From the NYT article on the house: "Power in those days [the early days of the restoration] came from a balky portable generator for the tools, and lighting from boxes and boxes of candle β€œseconds” bought by Mr. Wood. Drinking water was brought over from Jamestown, as it still is. Toilets flushed directly into the sea. "Today, solar panels heat the water, and a wind turbine on the roof generates electricity. Rainwater is collected in a 3,000-gallon cistern, then filtered, treated and pumped through the house for cleaning purposes. (Mr. Wood claims it is safe enough to drink, β€œbut my children don’t trust me so we don’t,” he said.) After years of using an activated seawater system that draws in seawater, then treats and filters the waste before releasing it back into the ocean, Clingstone now has the latest generation of composting toilets."

  • friend
    ksng | 2008-11-13 22:28:10

    wonderful

  • friend
    mlp | 2008-11-16 17:19:09

    Beautiful location...unfortunately the architecture is pedestrian - a missed opportunity.

  • friend
    lois | 2009-01-14 01:54:05

    UNBELIEVABLE BUT SO BEAUTIFUL!!

  • friend
    Nia | 2009-03-28 15:34:05

    What a wonderful familial/lifelong projectthe care/maintenance (smp?) and enjoyment of a big house in the middle of nowhere. :)

  • friend
    Bill McDonough | 2009-06-16 06:40:12

    I have seen this house from the veranda of President Dwight Eisenhowers Summer White House at Fort Adams in Newport,RI and had always wondered about the history of the house. The view of Narragansett Bay from "Ikes" Place is spectacular and "Clingstone" always draws admirable requests for more information...thanks for so many answers...

  • friend
    farbod | 2009-07-29 10:27:02

    It's becoming more common for architects and designer to use commercial products in residential. They are so many creative possibilities. I know of companies for example like Hexocon that uses so many different applications of aluminum and glass to add to interior or exterior of a commercial or residential building such as the windows and doors, the sunroom, shower enclosures from all glass and such.

  • friend
    Cindy Lewis | 2012-04-11 15:24:19

    In 1980, one of the last years the America's Cup was held in the waters off Newport, RI a group of us rented Clingstone for 10 days. We all lived in Newport and knew it would be a great spot to watch the parades of boats coming and going and we had a grand time , it was a truly memorable experience to be out there. These photos show a more finished place, it was still pretty rough at that time but a wonderful house and I feel blessed to have spent some time there.

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