Visiting Starboard House, Newport, Rhode Island

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Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty gets a flavor of Newport summer living.

So this is what living in Newport is all about. Starboard House is a summer cottage built at a time and in a place that was the height of Gilded Age fashion.  And what a cottage!

Surrounded by nearly 2 acres of gardens, which feature some of the celebrated specimen trees that help make Newport a citywide arboretum, Starboard House is one of Newport’s earlier stone built homes.  It rather has the look and feel of a fine European villa on the Cote d’Azure or beside Lake Como.

It was built for a member of Newport’s summer colony in 1860 and past owners include Edward Ogden of New Orleans, William F. Weld of Boston and Forsyth Wickes. Wickes housed his priceless collection of French furniture, paintings and decorative objects here, and later donated them to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts that built a whole new wing to display them.

Of course I loved the reception rooms with their fine proportions and lofty ceilings, and the sensational black and white tiled hall with sweeping staircase.  But then I adored the kitchen too.  Here is a vast old Vulcan stove – de rigueur years ago.  It is a wonderful, warm, great black slumbering pet of a thing.  It reminds us that although antique it will produce an omelette just as well as any new-fangled cooker, but it looks far more magnificent.  Move into Starboard House and it will soon become an important part of your family.

On paper the rooms go on and on, but inside this is a more intimate palace.  It has now been fully updated to an impressive degree and stands ready to welcome the summer influx.  It will then thrive at doing what it was designed to do best – providing stylish living to stylish people in a very stylish town.

By Nick Churton

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