One of the best things about living in Providence is that American history is fully manifest in its buildings. It’s not uncommon to walk by houses from the 18th century and it’s de rigueur to live in one that’s well over a hundred years old. You can still find the occasional carriage house and certain streets tell the story of horse and buggy rides in their tarred waves. So when we set out to find a space for Stewart House, character was essential.
We contacted Steele Realty which is women-owned and was situated in their own 19th century space on Hope Street. After meandering around town rejecting everything, our broker asked us to describe our perfect location – and the only response we had was, “We’re looking for a space just like yours.” Their office had been artfully restored by the group’s eponymous owner, Rita, and the building’s owner, Ken Sabbagh. They spent the better part of ten years reviving a century and a half-old space to its present glory, uncovering the old pine floors, repurposing support columns that could no longer support an industrial ceiling, and salvaging stained glass windows left on the street. If Providence – and the surrounding mill towns – believes in anything, it’s that personality evolves from decades of wear, tear, and love. Maybe you can guess where this is going. The Steele Group relocated and we were fortunate enough to move into a space that had been – like so much of Providence – loved back to life.
We had such a crystalline image of the aesthetic we were looking for that part of us feared we would never find something that aligned with the picture we envisioned. But we knew the minute we saw this circa 1885 space that we could pay homage to its history. If you’re local or visiting Providence, we hope that you’ll come visit our shop this spring. It’s not sprawling but it’s being filled with the things that we love and we always operate in reverence for the work that’s already been done. There are plenty of stories within these walls and new ones forming each day.