Back in Newport, Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty visits a house with special provenance.
It was about teatime when I went to Ayrault House in Newport, Rhode Island. And although it’s not Tiffany’s the architects are the same.
I like the work of these architects and so too did New York society in the early 1900s when the house was built. Cross and Cross weren’t just responsible for Tiffany’s but for many other notable Manhattan buildings. They were the design darlings of old New York. They gilded that architectural age. But for me the firm also showed an early and very commendable interest in architectural salvage.
The elements they re-cycled for Ayrault House came from the dismantled New York City home of Peter Stuyvesant. He was the fifth generation descendant of his namesake who served as the last Dutch Director General of New Netherland – renamed New York after the colony was provisionally ceded to the English in 1664.
This neo-Georgian style house in the comfortable Newport community of Kay Catherine bristles with Cross and Cross’s foresighted reclamation. This includes important doors, mantelpieces, the splendid front door portico, ornamental panels and the outstanding circular staircase that sits under an ingeniously constructed and beautiful skylight.
Amazing people built New York. Amazing people built Newport. And amazing people built this house. Under this roof some of them become irrevocably linked.
But even without all the history and the architectural detailing from another age, Ayrault House is still a remarkable, charming and elegant home in one of the most iconic cities in America. If you are buying in Newport this definitely is one for the short list.