Concrete ‘castle’ turns heads in Little Compton

EastBayRI.com ·

Little Compton Building Official Bill Moore is quite aware that a West Main Road house going up across from Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard is drawing more attention than most new construction in town.

“Oh yeah — I get a call a day about it,” Mr. Moore said. “They want to know ‘What is it?’ ‘How tall is it?’ ‘Did you approve it?’ ”

It’s a house, Mr. Moore replies. Yes, he approved it. And no, it’s not too tall.

The source of all the curiosity is a concrete structure rising in a former farm field at one of the most visible locations in town. The two acre-site features sweeping views down to the Sakonnet River and beyond.

The building permit taken out by owners Domenic and Laurie Carcieri of Lincoln calls for a single family home standing 30 feet above average grade plus a two foot decorative wall up top. The septic system is for a four-bedroom house. Contractor for the project is Rhode Island Realty Management, a Cranston firm.

Mr. Moore said that the house really is 30 feet tall plus that railing. The rooftop may not be used as a deck, he said — that would be in violation of the town’s 30-foot height rule (which allows for an added railing or balustrade atop the 30 feet). It will have a walk-out basement with a first and second floor.

The other questions — comments really — are mostly about aesthetics.

“Do I like colonial cottage kinds of houses in a place like Little Compton? Certainly.” But the code doesn’t dictate style or taste. I don’t have control over that. “This is free country … people like different things” — that is their right. For that matter, there’ve been other houses built in town that haven’t met with universal praise, he said.

Mr. Moore added that nothing about the structure required him to seek Zoning Board permission before issuing a building permit.

Asked about their house, Mr. Carcieri, an attorney, said he’d really prefer not to comment, adding that he knows that the house is a topic of conversation.

He also declined to comment on whether the design is indeed by the famous Friedrich St. Florian Architects firm, headquartered in Providence and designer of the World War II Memorial as the Times was told by a resident.

He did say he hopes that, when it is finally complete, people will come to like it.

Some will take convincing.

In a letter to the Sakonnet Times, resident Barbara Passmore writes, “So unlike Little Compton is a dwelling nicknamed “The Castle” by locals that is popping up out of a former potato farm. One would hope they would want to blend with our landscape,” adding that this is not the only new house in town that “does not reflect ‘our New England.’”

“It is down a long driveway,” Mr. Moore said, “and will have spectacular views all around … It is different.”

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