It wasn’t the affluent neighbors up on the hill who prompted the face lift of this venerable boat house in Narragansett Bay. It was the fire marshal, citing the 70-year-old structure for inadequate egress. “We started adding stairs, and then the whole project evolved,” says architect Robert Lambert.

While they were at it, the design team recreated the roof geometry with vaulted timber framing to maximize panoramic harbor views. Then they refaced the building with cladding and white trim to match neighboring shingle-style homes and added Craftsman details such as rafter tails, curved brackets, and large overhangs.

The hard part, Lambert says, was that Case Construction had to work its magic during the winter, so as not to interfere with boating season. And the structure sits on piles out over the water, so much of the transformation had to be performed from above and ­below—via cranes extending 200 feet from the shore or prams shuttling back and forth underneath the dock. “It was brutal,” he says. “Especially a couple times when the whole harbor froze over.”

CATEGORY: Community recreation building or clubhouse
ENTRANT/ARCHITECT: Burgin Lambert Architects, Newport, R.I.
BUILDER: Case Construction, East Providence, R.I.