Mid-century designer Jens Risom's A-framed prefab family retreat, located on the northern portion of Block island, is bordered by a low stone wall, an aesthetic element that appears throughout the land.
The Risom plot, located on the northern portion of the island, is bordered by a low stone wall, an aesthetic element that appears throughout Block Island.
Inside the house, a relatively new Rais wood-burning stove is next to a Risom Rocker from Design Within Reach, a 2009 piece from the designer.
In the living and dining area, where mostly vintage Risom furnishings share space with a few new additions, the view facing north is framed by the wall of glass.
Originally, glass doors opened to the deck, but after years of gusty winds, it was decided that a side entrance, protected by a sliding steel door, would be the preferred entrance.
An original dining table and chairs are located in front of the no-frills kitchen, which is nearly exactly as it was when it was first installed. The shelves hold knickknacks and serving ware, nothing precious.
There is a small workstation on the upper level of the house.
The sofa is a prototype that never went into production—the base slides out and the two cushions become flat for sleeping. Today, one can buy Risom furniture from a variety of sources, including Knoll, Design Within Reach, and Ralph Pucci.
A portrait of the designer. “Architecture, to me, is the most beautiful of the arts. I always knew that I wanted to design, but only [if I could] create products over which I had total control.”
A low stone wall surrounds the perimeter, which Jens planted with trees in order to create a buffer between the house and the surrounding vista.
On the north-facing facade, it’s easy to discern where the original glass doors used to open directly to the deck. In spring of 2012, Block Island contractor John Spier replaced the entire wall of glass panels.
A bright-yellow “R” sign, from a truck that used to deliver furniture from Jens Risom Design, sets off the southern facade. When Jens designed the house, he stipulated that he wanted cedar shingles, not the asphalt ones that came with the original design from the catalog.
An orange chair and cream ottoman of Risom's design.