Sea-Fever Style: The House on the Rock

House on the rock Anyone who’s ever sailed out of Newport, RI or driven over the Newport Bridge will recognize the the house on the rock in the above photo.

On August 6, 2008, the NY TimesWho Lives There column by Penelope Green was titled The Old House and the Sea and profiled the appropriately named Clingstone and it’s current owner, architect Henry Wood.

Fireplace ping pong

Built in 1905 at the cost of $36,982.99, Clingstone was basically abandoned in 1941, and then purchased by Mr. Wood in 1961 for $3,500 in derelict condition. With 23 rooms and 10 bedrooms, life on the rock is not exactly luxury.

Today, solar panels heat the water, and a wind turbine on the roof generates electricity. Rainwater is collected in a 3,000-gallon cistern, then filtered, treated and pumped through the house for cleaning purposes. (Mr. Wood claims it is safe enough to drink, “but my children don’t trust me so we don’t,” he said.) After years of using an activated seawater system that draws in seawater, then treats and filters the waste before releasing it back into the ocean, Clingstone now has the latest generation of composting toilets.

kitchenDining room

 central hall

Bedroom

As a teenager sailing on the tall ship Tabor Boy and more recently during my time in Newport as executive director of the American Sail Training Association I’ve sailed by Clingstone and wondered what life was like on the rock. Now thanks to the NY Times I know and boy does it look like fun!

Photo credits Erik Jacobs for the New York Times (via BLDG blog)

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Peter A. Mello

Husband, father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

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