"Nearside," located on Wickham Road at the entrance to Newport Neck, was constructed in 1901 as the carriage house for the estate "Felseck." The estate, built by William Blanding, of Providence, Rhode Island, was subsequently sold to John Astor Bristed a few years after construction was completed.
Sited near Ballard Park and protected conservation land, the rear of the property provides wonderful privacy for family gatherings, dining, and entertaining. The bluestone paver-terraces offer many sitting areas to accommodate guests and family in intimate areas, and the built-in Wolf grill provides for al fresco cooking on these occasions.
The structure itself originally accommodated the horses, carriages and associated tack on the first floor, and the second floor included large hay/straw storage areas along with bedrooms and living spaces for the footmen and servants. The third floor housed a larger copper water cistern, ventilation shafts, and additional storage.
The building's layout and architectural elements have been largely untouched since its original construction. In 2005, the estate (which comprised the main house and carriage house) was sub-divided and "Nearside" became a standalone property.
The architectural planning and design work that was approved by the Newport Historical and Zoning Commissions resulted in a comprehensive restoration process that began in 2005, with architect Ronald F. DiMauro, lead contractor Kirby-Perkins Construction, and landscaper designer Kevin Fox/Yardworks contributing their highly-regarded expertise, skill, and craftsmanship to the initiative. The project was concluded in late 2006, and the present owners took occupancy in January of 2007.
The exceptional condition of "Nearside" testifies to the level of dedication, love, and expense that the present owners invested in this property, and has resulted in a unique residence that honors and reflects its historical roots, while still providing the very best in modern conveniences and mechanical systems.
The immense scope of work included a complete renovation of the first floor, which extended to the exterior wall studs to allow for excavation of new sub floor materials and poured concrete flooring with radiant heat tubing; new steel structural supports, new chimneys, new concrete block wall footings, new stud walls, and all new mechanicals and plumbing/electrical. All exterior shingles were replaced along with new roofing and shingles, and all new windows and French doors were installed. The original beadboard was removed board-by-board, stored onsite, refurbished, and re-installed. All interior doors on the first floor are original to the main estate house, and were meticulously refinished prior to their installation. Original hardware and materials were refurbished and reinstalled wherever possible. The newly created kitchen boasts custom Wood Mode/Brookhaven cabinetry, granite countertops, handmade ceramic tile, a fireplace, a Sub-Zero wine refrigerator, a Sub-Zero icemaker, Sub-Zero paneled and drawer refrigerators, a Fisher-Paykel two-drawer dishwasher, two Wolf wall ovens, a Wolf convection/microwave oven, a Wolf gas cooktop, a Wolf warming drawer, a Miele cooktop vent system, and stainless Kohler undermount sinks. A separate pantry/catering kitchen enhances the main open kitchen/family room, along with a wet bar that includes a Sub-Zero wine refrigerator, and a Sub-Zero icemaker.
Custom made stairways accessing the second and third floors were added to the building, and new wall studs were constructed as needed in order to implement the updated second and third floor plans. New sub-flooring and supports were added to the third floor living and storage spaces as well.
All exterior walls were insulated with Icynene foam insulation, and all interior walls and floors were insulated with fiberglass sound insulation. In addition to the radiant heating for the entire first floor (including garages) and the master bathroom located on the second floor, seven heating and cooling zones were established and are supplied by Unico micro duct ventilation.
The derivation of "Nearside:" Nearside refers to the side of a horse from which it is always tacked and mounted (left side). It also refers to a particular shot in polo in which the rider reaches across their body to strike the ball along the left hand side of the pony. The house itself (like most carriage houses) is near the side of the road that it accesses.