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The same day the firemen walked out of the old Barrington firehouse in Rhode Island for the last time, a contractor arrived to turn the 1931 building into a home.
The new owners, artists and Brooklyn transplants Jason Reed and Jean Blackburn, bought the property from the town of Barrington.
They wanted a space where they could live and work on their art without disturbing neighbors. The three-story structure is built like a fortress, in part because fire trucks used to park where the living room is.
"That means if you're on the bottom studio floor pounding music and firing up your bandsaw at 2 in the morning, no one is going to try to evict you," Reed said. Needless to say, these artists are not just the paintbrush.
Their remodel maintained the authentic flavor of the firehouse, which is now on the market for $749,000. When Reed and Blackburn bought the building, the chief's office had a dropped ceiling, fluorescent lights, and a sign on the door reading "Chief's Office." They returned the room to its former glory, with the original crown moldings and a fireplace.
The 3,400-square-foot home also has the feel of a New York loft, with exposed cement and steel beams supporting the high ceiling above an open living room, dining room and kitchen.
Sunlight pours through tall windows there and through French doors and transom windows that fill the space from which fire trucks used to emerge.
The location is a bonus — just 900 feet from a bike trail and a short walk to Starbucks and other retailers, including a bookstore, a hardware store and a large food market.
One element that's conspicuously missing from the three-bedroom, two-bath home is the fire pole. "The firemen asked me for it when we first moved in," Reed explained. A nearby firehouse needed a pole, and didn't have the money to buy one.
The listing agent is Bonni Koppelman of Residential Properties Ltd.
Photos by Liz Bodell of Residential Properties Ltd.