Joel and Jane Maguire spent two years aboard their 36-foot trawler following the coastline from New England to Alabama, searching for the perfect waterfront home site. A Soundings ad in 1998 led them to Prudence Island, Rhode Island, accessible only by private boat or ferry from Bristol, Rhode Island.
“We arrived on a 10 a.m. ferry, fell in love with the island and had a signed agreement to buy a lot before we left at 4 p.m.,” says Maguire, 77, who held many jobs until he retired in his 50s.
The couple hired a local architect and builder to construct their dream house on the West Passage. They named the three-bedroom, two-bath, shingle-style cottage Seriugam after the Cape Cod cottage where Maguire spent childhood summers. Now the Maguires want to downsize and move closer to their children and grandchildren. Their wooded lot with beach frontage nestles between conservation land and the ocean. It and their 4,000-square foot, two-story home with an indoor lap pool are on the market for $975,000.
“We have been incredibly happy here for 15 years,” Maguire says. “Prudence Island is a quiet [5.5-square mile] oasis in the middle of Narragansett Bay, halfway between Providence and Newport, an area of fabulous boating and history. Some 80 percent of the island is conservation land. About 80 people live here year-round, maybe 1,000 in summer.”
The Maguires’ home sits on high wooded land and has a broad west-facing front porch. Steps lead down to the ever-changing beach.
Three sets of French doors open from the porch and stone patio into the fir-floored great room, Maguire’s favorite space. The stone, propane-powered fireplace anchoring the south wall soars two stories to the beamed cathedral ceiling. Flanking cabinets conceal an elevating TV. The window seat in the bookcase-lined library nook overlooks wooded conservation land that surrounds the house.
“We use the [great room’s] big dining table for celebrations and usually eat in the kitchen’s breakfast nook by the bay window,” says Jane Maguire, 75, a psychotherapist. For her kitchen, she specified a pass-through to the dining area, a gas range with an Italian tile surround, a convection/microwave oven, a pantry and other amenities.
On the north end of the house, the master bedroom features a 16-foot beamed cathedral ceiling, his and hers closets, a sliding glass door to the front porch and access to a private rear deck.
The master bath, which has a jetted tub and shower with multiple heads, opens off the hall to the great room. The hall also accesses the bookcase-lined office, closets, workshop and an exercise room with a heated lap pool, electric sauna and glass doors to a rear porch with a hot tub.
Upstairs, the sky-lit family room at the head of the stairs has space for a pool table and a triangular window above the great room. Sliders open to the guest bedroom; it has a wall of waterfront windows.
“When the power goes out, we don’t even know it,” Maguire says. “With 900 gallons of propane for our range, fireplace and computer-controlled whole-house generator, we can live for weeks off the grid.”
Utilities include oil-fired three-zone radiant heat, a built-in vacuum and whole-house water filtration and purification systems. They have a well and a private septic system. Annual taxes are about $8,000.
April 2015 issue