Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Sunday, March 8, 2009

W.G. Low House, Bristol RI

Here's a good look at one of my favorite shingle style houses, unfortunately now demolished.
I would love to build a copy of this in the San Juan Islands, the
huge porch is the best. Another cool feature is that in order to use all the space
in the huge gable, McKim, Mead and White laid out the interior with multiple
staggered floors roughly on half stories. I have been meaning to render this house
in Google SketchUp. If I can find a scaled drawing maybe I will do that this week.


  1. Hi Dave,
    I just found your web site as I was searching for more information and photos of the W G Low House in Bristol. I grew up in RI and lived in Newport, West Barrington, and North Kingstown... I would travel through Bristol on my way to Newport to visit my Grandparents and saw this house as a young boy. Even then it made a lasting impression on me. As I understand it, it wasn't actually demolished, it burned in the the 50s or 60s. I have been unable to find out if it was arson or accident. I never went by the property after it burned, but I understand it was raised and another home was built on the site. By the way I grew up to be an Architect… Imagine that…!

    Fast forward 50 years, I now live in the Pacific NW and I too have this fantasy (which will not go away) of recreating this house maybe full size or at least as model… physical or digital. I have a set of floor plans no dimensions.

    I have written to the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission to see what informaion they might have.., but alas no reply.., yet anyway.

    All my Best,

  2. I wonder if anyone, such as Dave or architect Peter living in the Pacific NW, can help me. I am trying to find out what the interior of the Low house looked like. I am particularly interested in the relationship between the dining room, hall, living room and game room. I would like to know if there are any similarities with McK,M&W's Newcombe House (see Scully, Shingle Style, 1971, fig 121). I am also looking for Japanese-style detailing in the frieze above the picture rail, the ceiling and the floor. Please reply to

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      A couple of years late on your request but I just found a site that has interior photos of the house here is the address: Enjoy!


  3. Well, your reply to didn't come across, a long time ago I did see a few pictures in a book on Shingle Style or M, M & W. There were only handful and of poor quality, primarily of the stairway and center hall. As I recall, the interior was mostly traditional New England colonial style. I believe Columbia Univ has the Archives of M,M&W, but they were not particularly enthusiastic about inquiries and at the time it had not been digitized. Good luck, let me know if you find anything.

  4. Thanks, Dave. I will try Columbia Univ. Sorry about my address. It must have been censored!