Cliffside Inn Earns 2014 Doris Duke Historic Preservation Award

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The Cliffside Inn earned the 2014 Doris Duke Preservation Award.  The Newport Restoration Foundation presented the award at Rough Point in Newport, RI on Friday, September 5, 2014.  To purchase tickets please visit www.newportrestoration.org

Cliffside was built in Newport, RI in 1876 in the Ochre Point-Cliffs Historic District. The large wood frame building was commissioned by Maryland Governor Thomas Swann as a summer cottage overlooking the historic Cliff Walk. In 1896 the house served as headquarters for St. George’s School. Cliffside was purchased in 1907 by Cotton Merchant Andrew Turner and his wife Adele, a prominent Philadelphia socialite and descendant of Jacob Shallus – the engrosser of the Constitution of the United States in 1787.  The Turner’s only child was Beatrice Turner, who would become a noted artist.  Beatrice was 18 in 1907 and summered at Cliffside until her death in 1948. The property was converted into a B&B in the 1980s.

The main building is a square 2 ½ storied wood clapboarded mansard roof edifice with Stick Style heavy timber columns and large wood brackets structuring a wraparound porch on the East and South elevations. The house has many repeated second floor bay windows and extensive cast iron cresting at the top of the mansard. There appeared to be remnants of a later Victorian addition that had an elaborate dormered tower over an ell constructed on the Northeast corner of the building.  The addition was removed in the early 20th Century and a new smaller ornamental tower was added in alignment with the East Elevation in the 1980s. 

Bill and Nancy Bagwill purchased the B&B in 2010 and commissioned NCA to transform the property into a boutique inn.  The design challenge was to replicate the inn’s original south wraparound porch, replace the roof and windows, and reconfigure the first floor to accommodate a new catering kitchen, reception area, and innkeeper’s office.  The project also entailed remodeling 12 guest suites with gas fireplaces and spa bathrooms.  The unimproved B&B had a circular drop-off that had dedicated the entire yard to vehicular traffic and parking.  NCA reorganized the parking into an efficient pull off from Cliff Avenue and reclaimed two-thirds of the yard for a new green space.  A formal perennial garden was added and features stone walls, walking paths and an outdoor fireplace. The new green space extends the outdoor entertaining area and forms a seamless connection between the main building and the adjoining mid-century innkeeper’s cottage. 

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