A Converted Firehouse Fit For an Artist Is Listed at $749K

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By Jenny Xie / Published by Dwell
Fifteen minutes from Providence, Rhode Island, a former firehouse is now a live/work space that supplies artistic freedom.

Leaving their old stomping grounds in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in search of more space and freedom to work, artist couple Jason Reed and Jean Blackburn leapt at the opportunity to convert an old firehouse into a single-family home with an enviable amount of studio space. In 2000, they purchased the Barrington Firehouse, built in 1931, and hired a contractor to carry out their design vision. The three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath residence boasts two floors of living space with an additional 1,900-square-foot basement—ideal for a creative workspace or an art gallery. "It was an odd thing that we were perfect for," says Reed. "It’s hard to find a space that offers that flexibility of having a home and an art studio—a real studio, where you can throw paint, torch copper, or have a kiln. There’s nothing you can’t do in the building in your work as an artist."

A Converted Firehouse Fit For an Artist Is Listed at $749K - Photo 1 of 8 - The first floor holds an integrated living room, dining room, and kitchen. When Reed and Blackburn bought the firehouse, the concrete floors were stained with oil from the firetrucks, so they laid stained white oak flooring. They also sandblasted the ceiling to its original concrete finish. A red Murano glass chandelier hangs over a vintage Danish dining table and Bernhardt Design Orbit Chairs. 

The first floor holds an integrated living room, dining room, and kitchen. When Reed and Blackburn bought the firehouse, the concrete floors were stained with oil from the firetrucks, so they laid stained white oak flooring. They also sandblasted the ceiling to its original concrete finish. A red Murano glass chandelier hangs over a vintage Danish dining table and Bernhardt Design Orbit Chairs. 

A Converted Firehouse Fit For an Artist Is Listed at $749K - Photo 2 of 8 - Reed designed the custom cabinets, which are made of lacewood and frosted glass. The kitchen also features a Bosch dishwasher and range hood, KitchenAid stove, and GE Profile refrigerator.

Reed designed the custom cabinets, which are made of lacewood and frosted glass. The kitchen also features a Bosch dishwasher and range hood, KitchenAid stove, and GE Profile refrigerator.

A Converted Firehouse Fit For an Artist Is Listed at $749K - Photo 3 of 8 - Label Kite Chairs by Karim Rashid flank either side of the living area. Clerestory windows let in additional light.

Label Kite Chairs by Karim Rashid flank either side of the living area. Clerestory windows let in additional light.

A Converted Firehouse Fit For an Artist Is Listed at $749K - Photo 4 of 8 - Towards the front of the house, where the original garage doors have been replaced by French doors and transom windows, is a multifunctional space with brick walls that currently functions as an office.

Towards the front of the house, where the original garage doors have been replaced by French doors and transom windows, is a multifunctional space with brick walls that currently functions as an office.

The home is a rarity that reminds Reed of the wealth of empty factory space found in Williamsburg when he first moved there in 1984, when it was a predominantly Polish and Italian neighborhood. While you have the benefit of the backyard and garden for spray painting, he describes, you can drag your work back into the Brooklyn-esque space of the studio, which features high ceilings, white walls, and polished concrete floors. The rest of the home pairs minimalist with industrial elements while referencing the building’s historic roots, as with the fireplace in old chief’s office. The town of Barrington itself offers a downtown area, acres of beach facing Narragansett Bay, and a 15-minute commute to the arts haven of Providence, Rhode Island.

A Converted Firehouse Fit For an Artist Is Listed at $749K - Photo 5 of 8 - Turning left after you enter, you find what was once the fire chief's office. Reed stripped the walls of its imitation wood paneling and revealed the fireplace, which used to warm the firefighter who stayed awake through the night shift.

Turning left after you enter, you find what was once the fire chief's office. Reed stripped the walls of its imitation wood paneling and revealed the fireplace, which used to warm the firefighter who stayed awake through the night shift.

A Converted Firehouse Fit For an Artist Is Listed at $749K - Photo 6 of 8 - The master bedroom connects to a walk-in closet and a smaller room that is plumbed to become an ensuite bathroom, though it's currently an office. "All the windows are facing south, so in the winter, when light is precious in the Northeast, it just pours in and warms the whole space up," says Reed.

The master bedroom connects to a walk-in closet and a smaller room that is plumbed to become an ensuite bathroom, though it's currently an office. "All the windows are facing south, so in the winter, when light is precious in the Northeast, it just pours in and warms the whole space up," says Reed.

A Converted Firehouse Fit For an Artist Is Listed at $749K - Photo 7 of 8 - The main bathroom features a Zuma bathtub (not pictured) and Hansgrohe bath and shower fixtures. The flooring is Crossville porcelain tile, and the mirror was designed by Reed.

The main bathroom features a Zuma bathtub (not pictured) and Hansgrohe bath and shower fixtures. The flooring is Crossville porcelain tile, and the mirror was designed by Reed.

A Converted Firehouse Fit For an Artist Is Listed at $749K - Photo 8 of 8 - The spacious backyard caters to families and artists-at-work alike. Reed keeps a colorful perennial garden with dozens of plant species, including a container garden that frames the front door.

The spacious backyard caters to families and artists-at-work alike. Reed keeps a colorful perennial garden with dozens of plant species, including a container garden that frames the front door.

Now on the market, the residence has been reduced from $799,000 to $749,000. For more information, visit the property website.