College Hill Historic Renovation

This 6,500 s.f. Federal Style home built in 1814 on College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, just steps away from the Brown University campus, required a complete overhaul after years of general neglect. A master suite was created including new double vanities, whirlpool tub, walk-in closet and sitting room incorporating an existing fireplace.

All bathrooms were renovated and air conditioning was installed throughout the home requiring 5 different systems due to the complexity of the layout of the home. The kitchen was also completely renovated replacing a 1990’s renovation.

The two parlors are wallpapered with original wallpaper commissioned by the first owner of the home, Eliza Ward, daughter of Joseph Brown, an architect and one of the founding brothers of Brown University. The wallpaper was supplied by a French company in Paris, Dufour et Leroy, and depicts the Incan Revolution in one parlor and the Bosphorus River in the other. Additionally, a scene of Maine was painted over the mantel in the Turkish parlor (Bosphorus River). A local restorationist and RISD alum, Robert Dodge, was on site for six months working on the restoration of this very delicate wallpaper.

Around 1893, Marsden Perry, a very prominent industrialist involved in railway, utility companies, and banking in Providence, purchased the house and made substantial modifications and enhancements including changing the entry from the second floor to the first floor, so that he could build a library which would house his Shakespeare collection (now part of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.), building out a spectacular butler’s pantry and a fabulous hand painted tile bathroom depicting sea nymphs and angry dolphins with young children riding on their backs. The library has been renovated to include a gas burning fireplace (the fireplace was there, but did not function) and new monorail track lighting to highlight the gallery style art utilizing the existing picture rail. The Marsden Perry bathroom needed an update after an unfortunate 1950’s renovation and this was accomplished after painstaking and careful efforts to preserve the original wall tile. All new plumbing fixtures, electrical, new shower enclosure and floor tile with in-floor heating were installed.

There is also an English style garden courtyard which was re-landscaped. It is accessible from the dining room and kitchen and is virtually another room to the house.

With the present renovations, this house is ready to support the lifestyle of more College Hill residents for the next 200 years.


Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Design: 2013
Construction: 2013- 2014
Design Principal: Ann Clark
Project Team: Marcus Powell, Sarah Baranowski
General Contractors: Ann Clark, Jenkins Construction, Manny Pedriera Construction
Landscape Design: Chad Johnson, C Johnson Landscape Co.
Interior Design: Ann Clark
Wallpaper Restoration: Bob Dodge
Photography: Tom Arena Fine Art Photos




Doorway to Dining Room
Dining Room
Breakfast Room
Butler’s Pantry
Master Bedroom
Master Bathroom
Large Bathroom
Spare Bathroom