On the Market: A Hip Renovated Artist’s Loft in Providence
This loft was in complete disrepair when its current owner came across it, but you wouldn't be able to tell looking at it today.
8 Aurora St., Providence, RI
Size: 2,100 square feet
John Risica is a bit of a loft connoisseur. The Providence-based realtor runs a website called welovelofts.com, dedicated to buyers on the market who want to find one of these open, unconventional spaces to work or play. Risica loves the style himself, which is why his goal when purchasing 8 Aurora Street five years ago was to renovate the commercial loft into a residential one that could also serve as a workspace. Using his past renovation experience, he and his wife teamed up to tackle the space, essentially replacing nearly everything in it and updating it with salvaged materials and original art. The result: A complete one-of-a-kind space that loft lovers will go gaga over.
Risica and his wife purchased this property on the West Side of Providence as part of a bundle with four other spaces in need of renovations. Eventually, the couple sold off the other properties until they were just left with Aurora Street, where they focused their efforts. The space has a storied past: It was originally built as a Lithuanian Church in 1908, and then used as a warehouse space for Quill Pen company for many years. But then the space fell into disrepair, becoming completely uninhabitable.
“When we first bought it looked like a scene out of True Detective,” Risica said. “It was like a scene out of a horror movie, it really was.”
But the space was steeped in as much potential as it is history. Through the power of updated amenities and features, the couple transformed it into a loft where any crafter could live and work. The updated single-family home now has 2,100 square feet of living space and 1,900 square feet of basement workshop space, as well as a two-car garage. Risica and his wife installed new windows, a new roof, new siding/insulation, and an updated HVAC system. They put down bamboo flooring and renovated the kitchen and bathroom. Many of the materials they used were salvaged, giving an eclectic feel to the place that was further emphasized by the artwork they added, which was from clients Risica sold lofts to previously. They updated the zoning as well, so the owners can legally work and live in the space.
“Every single bit is new,” he says. “It’s really like nothing many people have seen.”
And he’s right: The loft home functions as an artistically crafted space where you can work and play in style. The main level is an open space with a soaring tiled ceiling. Within this, you’ll find a living room, dining area, and kitchen. The cavernous main level offers opportunities to carve out little nooks like a reading space or breakfast bar. Tucked behind a half wall of the cook’s kitchen is the first of two bedroom suites, this one with an alcove that can be used as a closet space/dressing area.
The second bedroom suite is upstairs. A balcony setup opens this space up to the goings on of the main floor, but sliding doors allow for privacy if needed. This suite comes with its own bathroom, with tall, curved ceilings and an extra-large shower with two shower heads.
If you’re still unsure about this unit, the most glowing endorsement comes from Risica himself: He and his wife have been living in the space since they renovated it. They’re only leaving now to downsize to a condo in the East Side of Providence, but the parting comes at a sorrowful cost.
“It’s been a labor of love,” he says. “We’ve gone through several iterations of renovation to get it to the stage it is now. We feel there’s nothing like this anywhere in Providence or Boston, for that matter. It’s not for everyone, but I’m pretty sure someone will fall in love with it when they see it.”
For more information, contact The John Risica Team, William Raveis Chapman Enstone, raveis.com.
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