Living with Style, The Newport Diary

Carriage and Gate Houses of Newport

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They are charming, they are quirky, they recall romantic days gone by. Newport’s carriage houses and gate houses were very relevant to another era’s lifestyle. Their presence, while sometimes overlooked or lost in the development around them, adds an important note to Newport’s neighborhoods. Stone block, weathered shingles, old brick, brownstone, white clapboard — they are made of sundry materials that most often reflect the residence on the property.

For the almost thirty years that I have lived here, I have been enchanted by these singular buildings. It occurred to me that you might be also. Many have received well loved and well studied restoration, all the while  maintaining the signature of their original functions (as in the above carriage house). And some have had tasteful additions, from dormer windows to enlarging the footprint of the original building. But you’ll notice (with few exceptions) that they all sport versions of a cupola!

Carriage houses differ from gate houses in their distance from the family’s residence; given the flies and smells associated with horses, their housing was intentionally removed to a good distance (i.e. the stables of The Breakers is six blocks away). Here is a representative selection that also function as homes to many of my friends.

Gate houses were like a sentry post, the introduction to an estate where visitors were required to have the gate opened by the gate keeper (who also lived in the” modest” building).

Hope you’ve enjoyed another set of architectural elements that distinguish our beloved town.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

11 thoughts on “Carriage and Gate Houses of Newport

  1. I live gorgeous gate houses they are mysterious you wonder “what does the main house look like?”

    1. And oftentimes in Newport, you can see the main houses. Yet another distinction in this special town.

  2. I am totally enchanted. There is something indescribably captivating about a gate however large or small. It is a kind of architectural handshake, and introduction to the main event only less imposing. The unspoken message is, “We are filthy rich”. I can deal with that. If it were not for them we would not have these wonders to behold.

    Thank you so much for sharing these pictures. I love every one of them.

    1. I love your observation that “gates are a kind of architectural handshake, introduction to the main event.” Well said, I’m going to reference that for one of my lectures. Thank you!

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