Home Tour: East Side of Providence

A uniquely Rhode Island architectural style is mindfully renovated for cozy living

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Home sweet home doesn’t get more Rhode Island than living in a historic lightning splitter house in a neighborhood called Hope Village. For newlyweds Bryan and Sascha Roberts, the buttercup yellow house built in 1917 – with a sharply angled gable built (according to local folklore) to ward off lightning strikes – is full of delightful quirks typical for old houses which, the Roberts have both embraced and slightly reconfigured to suit a busy life with their two cats and hosting gatherings of friends and family.

“We bought this home in the middle of COVID,” begins Sascha. “During that time, it was really hard to find a single-family home in our budget, but when we finally did, we knew it would need work and we had a lot of ideas to make our own.” The couple’s realtors Laura Afonso and Justin Russillo at Russillo Real Estate, showed them the potential the small property had. “They said that with time, patience, and hard work, this could become our dream home, and they were right,” adds Sascha.

Also helping in the process was Bryan’s father Gary of Gary Roberts Custom Building, who stopped working in people’s homes during COVID and was available to use his time and skills to renovate for his family, taking down walls, redoing plumbing, fixing sloping floors, sanding and finishing windows and door frames, redoing a bathroom, “and lots and lots of plastering and sanding funny textured walls, and more!” says Sascha with adoration.

With structural modifications behind them, including the just-remodeled kitchen (another Gary Roberts project), interiors of the affectionately nicknamed Gingerbread House reflect the sunny disposition of its owners. “Because our house is so fun and funky, we chose colors that also feel that way. We have a lot of mauve tones, yellows, browns, and other rich neutrals,” Sascha explains. “And because our house is over 100 years old, it has vintage vibes, but our own personal aesthetic has a lot of mid-century modern elements with fabric, texture, wood, and gold finishes.”

And the best part? “Our home just feels so cozy and uniquely us,” says Sascha. “Getting to renovate and put our mark on the layout was crucial, as was getting to really dive into a more funky style. We live off of Hope Street and all the neighboring homes are unique styles with fun colors and loads of history! Just like ours.”

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