In Rhode Island, along the bend of the Narragansett Bay, an artistic couple sought a freestanding studio that would allow them to practice their craft in a space close to, yet separate from, home. If that space also could accommodate guests, all the better.

Newport, R.I.–based Estes/Twombly Architects answered the call, designing a simple structure adjacent to the couple's turn-of-the-century Victorian home that blends contemporary and traditional. The studio's façade—with its locally milled, white-washed pine siding—offers a riff on the iconic farmhouse that both juxtaposes and complements the main residence's historic aesthetic. Soft, muted interiors emphasize the ceiling's dramatic vaults and highlight accents such as a wood-burning stove and exposed chimney.

The architects divided the outbuilding into two wings—one for the wife's painting studio, and one for house guests and the husband's music practice and recording. The painting studio is outfitted with north-facing clerestory windows for cross ventilation and privacy, while the music room (with an adjacent recording studio) doubles as a guest living room. A simple staircase leads to an upstairs sleeping loft for resting or lounging after a long day of artistry.

Project Credits

Entrant/Architect Estes/Twombly Architects
Builder Granville Builders
Size 700 square feet
Cost $160 per square foot

Note: An earlier version of this article misidentified the wood-burning stove. We regret the error.