one man's island, Clingstone

When I first saw this stoically proud house, it hushed me into a quiet reverence and swelled my heart with emotion. This, I thought, is how a house is really to be built.We should expect nothing less of modern day home builders. This mere construction, has borne forth over a century of family and friends uniting and building memories. Commissioned at the turn of the century by J.S. Lovering Wharton, Clingstone was completed in 1905 at the tune of $38,982.00.
Clingston sits perched on its rocky outcropping in the Narraganaset bay of Rhode Island. The house with it's 4 stories and 23 rooms (10 of which are bedrooms) has a center hall design from which all rooms radiate.
the massive central hall today
Every room was designed with a window, offering each a different vantage point of the bay.
In 1961, the present owner, Henry Wood ( a Boston architect) bought the dear old house which had sat empty for over 2 decades, the price? a mere, $3,600.
a stair leads up to the roof top - caveats, posted.
As anyone who's had one understands, owning an old home means constant and consistent tlc. Mr. Wood holds an annual, Memorial Day clean-up where guests take part in tasks such as cleaning windows or refurbishing floors. The above floors were redone on one of these weekends by Wood's daughter in law (seen above )
A house should be able to withstand over a hundred years of New England weather, survive a battering sea and at the beginning of every Summer season, open it's doors wide like an old grand parent happy to have it's halls filled with laughter love and the warmth of family.
No matter where it's perched.
all photos, erik jacobs for the new york times.


Wow, what a great post. This house is amazing.
Interesting to think about what life there would really be like.... said…
Ohhh, I would love to live there. So interesting!
Mrs. Blandings said…
Amazing - like being anchored at sea. Oh, the memories those kids will have.
La Maison Fou said…
When we go to Canada the 1000 islands are similar to this set up. Each one is an island to iteslf. What a lovely way to spend the summer. Thanks!
Linda Merrill said…
What a pretty pot! just kidding!

What an amazing home. Love the name - Clingstone - clinging to the stone... I can't imagine too many homes today standing up to the New England winter that house puts up with. The salt must seep into everything!
Cole Design said…
This post is beautiful! I love the personality this house has. Seeing pictures like this makes me miss New England (I am going to school at Tulane in New Orleans). I can just imagine the sunsets. Thanks for this post!
Pigtown-Design said…
When I saw this in the NY Times, I just fell in love. We had a summerhouse in the northern kingdom in vermont until we were about 10-ish. no fresh water, no heat (and it gets coooold in vermont in summer) and long road to the nearest village. but it was magical, like this house!
I have always been immensely fond of this quirky house. And love the name!
alice said…
How cool!
I imagine it must be an unexpected sight!
DesignTies said…
This house, sitting on it's rock in the ocean, is simply stunning! I completely understand your reaction when you first saw it... quiet reflection and a little reverance. How could it have sat empty for over 20 years?! Thank you so much for sharing such a treasure!
Victoria @ DesignTies
Blue Muse said…
Best 3,600$ he ever spent! What a fabulous, fabulous place and post. So romantic and filled with great history -- I want it! =)
xo Isa
krista said…
is it strange that this house kind of frightens me?
Mélanie said…
What an amazing house . It is a fabulous place. thanks for sharing
liz jaff said…
This house is achingly beautiful. Wistful is not a word that usually comes to mind when looking at architecture. Thank you so much for the images and the daydreams which follow looking at them.

[ 3 d b l u r ] said…
Folly-like structures of this vernacular confirm the vitality on the part of grand tradition and how important a role historic houses play in the arc of architecture. Classically-boned cribs give a natural embrace to their inhabitants. One can imagine the heady experience the house provoked: automatically, we want to fantasize about what a day in the life of Clingstone entailed.

I found most whimsical... the caveat signum at the stair leading to the roof...
What an amazing home! I wonder what special things they have done to it to make it stand up to the constant assault from the sea and salt air. Glad someone bought it and is taking care of it. :-)Interesting post!
Anonymous said…
Wow. That's about all I can say is "wow". I've never seen anything like it!

Tricia - Avolli
Anonymous said…
This house has amazed me each summer that I have traveled to the Newport area. I have been lucky enough to sail near this home and always wondered what it was like inside. Thank you for sharing!
DIY Claire said…
Unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it.
LindsB said…
What a beautiful house! It must have been constructed quite well if it has lasted this long in the harsh New England weather- then again with upkeep anything can stand the test of time. Its nice to know such a loving family is taking care of such great care of it.
Angela P. said…
My favorite photo of all was the wall of ping pong paddles. Not only was the composition fabulous, but what the photo represented was even more wonderful: lazy days with friends and family spent in friendly--and competitive--games of ping pong. If that wouldn't make for a fun summer, I don't know what would!
Why can't I find a bargain like that? Must be tough to take the dog out at night.
LOVE THIS! thanks for sharing :) my favorite picture was the 'no entry after 3 drinks or 86 years'! it's perfect.

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