For the price of a wee apartment in Cambridge or Brookline, Massachusetts, you could have the Samuel Clarke Farm in Richmond, Rhode Island. For under $600,000, the farm offers a 1691 gambrel roof house, along with a substantial late 19th-century barn, on 40 mostly wooded acres. In addition there is a one-room schoolhouse, an outhouse, a stone blacksmith shop, and corncrib on six granite pilings that keeps grain away from varmints. Best of all, there is a family cemetery where you can be laid to rest after restoring this gorgeous property to what it once was.
Richmond (population less than 8,000), while mainly an agricultural community, is a half dozen miles from the Amtrak station at Kingston; the University of Rhode Island is two miles farther away. Newport and Providence are close as well. While Rhode Island lacks the cachet of Cape Cod and Maine, say, this is closer to Boston and New York. And with 40 acres you could raise goats, establish a tree farm, grow vegetables. Or you could fashion a career just maintaining the farm's miles of magnificent stone walls.
Most of all, let's hope for a sympathetic buyer who will maintain the house and keep the Clarke farm as an agricultural enterprise. Otherwise, the fate of this handsome ensemble may be yet another speculative and tragic development of ticky tack houses.
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Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.
Courtney Kasianowicz is associate editor of Design New England who scouts the area for new design, charming products, and local artisans both innovative and daring.
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Bruce Irving, Design New England's contributing editor for architecture & building, is a renovation specialist who will share his insights on design and construction.
Estelle Bond Guralnick, Design New England's style & interiors editor, will post about interior design and interior designers and her favorite finds.