the pool and
bluestone terrace were
key to the renovation
plan. Nate, 6, prepares
to plunge as his
and uncle watch.
Behind them, the
blends seamlessly with
the original bungalow.
Nate and his mother,
Dana (facing page),
take a break around the
island finished with
at occupying the beloved place, with perhaps only a few calendar days marked as times when one family member’s clan
overlaps with the next.
Not so with this two-story clapboard-and-shingle house on a
quiet street a few blocks from the shops and harbor of Jamestown,
design of a renovation that emphasizes numerous gathering
spots, indoors and out, while committing the minimum square
footage to bedroom space.
“The whole intent of this place was a beach cottage,
with as many areas as possible to be together and also wan-
der off on your own,” says architect Donald Powers, who
with his wife, Dana, and their 6-year-old son, Nate, form
one-third of the house’s ownership. Another third is owned
by Dana’s parents, Joanne and Arnold Kahn, while Dana’s
brother, Andrew Kahn, constitutes the final third.
They all went in on the purchase of a dilapidated 1910 bun-
galow in 2006 and made the renovation work by following a few
simple rules: Everyone was consulted on every decision, but the
final veto on structural matters belonged to Donald and the final
veto on interiors went to Joanne, an interior designer, and Dana.
The psychology of thirds made many options seem within
reach: “If you know you are splitting the cost of something three
ways, lots of things are affordable,” says Dana. But the overall
ethos of simple beach cottage held sway, guided by the under-
lying philosophy of the family architect.
Donald Powers Architects in Providence, the firm Donald
founded in 2000 and where he is principal and Dana is vice pres-
ident of operations, is known for designing communities where
small houses create close-knit neighborhoods. One such project,
Cottages on Greene in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, was rec-
ognized this year by the Congress for the New Urbanism for its
“walkability, sustainability, and exemplary design.”
The small-but-livable mantra as played out in Jamestown
FOR MANY FAMILIES, SHARING A SUMMER COTTAGE MEANS TAKING TURNS
architecture donald powers architects