He’s an executive today, but the
owner of this house got to know
Block Island when he worked
there summers as a teenager
and later as a college student.
He once lived year-round on the
island, doing construction work
for Tiny Sprague, a carpenter
who refused to use power tools.
“Tiny taught me more about life
and common sense than any
college I attended, and his son,
Joe, taught me the value of hard
work.” Thus, he knew the
island’s people and respected
their building traditions. When
he came to build his own house,
he wanted to use only local
workers. While the contractor,
Bay Street Construction, is
based off-island in Westerly,
Rhode Island, all the
subcontractors were from Block
Island. “When we started
building, it was only natural to
ask Joe and his son, Abel, to
pour our foundations and the
floors for the house and barn.
Abel laid the stone walls around
the house.” And the owner
himself worked with the crew to
frame the master bedroom.
“Kind of full circle,” he says.
When the living room’s Nana Wall doors are folded back,
the large porch and the interior space become one. The
windows, also by Nana Wall, above the kitchen counter fold
away, too, and the wide sill becomes an outdoor counter
In the off-season, the fireplace and a wood stove in
the living area make the place cozy no matter how blustery the weather. But the house is at its best on a summer
day, when the walls seemingly dissolve. North Light, one of
still a working landscape. In its balance of countryside and
leisure, Jeremiah Eck’s house has captured the essence of
a Block Island summer.