This modest cottage started life as Ada Bethune's funeral parlor, complete with coffins stored below the front porch. The concept was to create an open plan living space for a couple where the husband was confined to a wheelchair. The plan radiates from a vertical core of on grade access, an elevator and a graceful stair. Enclosing the front porch with oversize windows facing Newport harbor allowed the living/dining room a wonderful view of the activity on the water.

A new fireplace becomes the interior focus and the kitchen floats at the rear with windows north to the Newport Bridge. Tall oak cabinets contain the necessary appliances and a display area for art objects on the back side can be appreciated upon entry and ascending the stair. A small addition on the back provides a back porch and access to the tiny protected courtyard.

Upstairs, the art studio occupies the front portion of the gable and offers another perspective of the harbor. A rolling ladder allows access to a tiny loft for reading. Special attention was paid to the master bath where a sliding shoji screen opens up the view from the tub to the water and a carved wood Japanese jewel box-like wall provides texture and interest. Details such as grab bars, wheel bumpers and roll below counters for handicapped access were artistically incorporated throughout the house.


Gale Goff, Project & Peter Twombly, Design, Estes/Twombly Architects, Newport, RI

Ted Croy, Croyworks, Newport, RI

Warren Jagger Photography, Providence, R