On the Market: A Cliffside House Overlooking Narragansett Bay
Known as the Barnacle, this Rhode Island home is a rare chance to own a historic summer house with its own private beach.
15 Dumpling Drive, Jamestown, RI
Size: 7,306 square feet
Bathrooms: 7 full
“The Barnacle” and its accompanying guest house “The Barnacle Lee” get their names from the crustaceans known for attaching themselves to the underside of boats, making them a sailor’s nuisance. The Barnacle in Jamestown, Rhode Island, on the other hand, is a sailor’s delight. This property recalls its namesake sea creature based on the way it clings to cliffside rocks offering dramatic views of Narragansett Bay. After you’ve visited, you won’t be able to hear the word “barnacle” without thinking of the twinkling lights of Newport, historic Clingstone, Fort Adams, and the rocky waves of the Atlantic visible from this property.
If this sounds like your ideal summer spot, you’re in luck: The Barnacle and the Barnacle Lee are on sale for the first time in decades, marking only the second time the property has changed hands. The compound was built in 1886 by architect Charles Bevins who designed many summer houses in the Dumplings neighborhood of Jamestown and developed the shingle-style home that is now a trademark of the area. The Barnacle was specifically constructed for Admiral T.O. Selfridge Jr., a Navy officer who came from a seafaring family, and the property’s main house and guest house sit on over two acres of land.
When Selfridge died, he left The Barnacle to the Laurie family. Erika Forsyth and William Laurie, who inherited the house from their father, said their grandmother was an avid sailor who developed a close relationship with Selfridge and his wife. Now the home has been in the Laurie family for three generations, all of whom are passionate about maintaining its original design—right down to the hallway full of old buoys Selfridge collected from the bay and hung in the house.
“It’s definitely stayed the same throughout the years,” Forsyth said. “It was our dad’s home, and he was very adamant we keep the legacy of Admiral Selfridge…We preserved the house as they would have.”
The siblings recall spending summers at The Dumpling where they enjoyed the “incredible views” of the harbor from the wraparound porch and the running path around the property which led to not one, but two beaches. The new owner of this house will get 1,000 feet of sandy beach to themselves, something Petra Laurie, Forsyth and William Laurie’s mother and the listing agent for the house, described as “an incredible opportunity.”
While the Lauries used the spot as a summer home, the Barnacle Lee is heated and new owners will have both a summer and winter house in a single stellar location. And it’s spacious, to: The Barnacle boasts 5,613 square feet of living space spread out among 20 rooms including a new eat-in kitchen, four bedrooms, and five full bathrooms. Save for some necessary updates, its new owners find it nearly the same as when the historic property was first built. The Laurie siblings hope it stays that way.
“We hope it’s preserved,” William Laurie said. “It’s such a unique property.”
For more information, contact Petra Laurie, Island Realty, islandrealtyri.com.
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