Mansion owner brings yachting home

Nov 13, 2012 by Guest Writer

Designers have retrofitted the basement of a 125-year-old Newport mansion to look like a classic Edwardian-style yacht built at the end of the 19th century.

Over the past two-and-a-half years, Kirby Perkins Construction, Langan Design and Kim Kirby Interior Design used traditional boat-building materials to transform the 3,500-square-foot space into a salon, dining area, galley and bar, wine cellar, sauna, gym, two bathrooms and locker area.

The house was once owned by yachtsman Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, who defended the America’s Cup in 1930, 1933 and 1937. The space pays homage to him with three historically accurate models of the J-Class yachts with which he claimed his victories.

“The present owner didn’t want it to feel like you were in a basement, and because of this history and connection to the Vanderbilt family, I thought ‘why not make it feel like a traditional yacht interior,’ and that is what drove the project,” said Jerry Kirby, president of Kirby-Perkins Construction and an America’s Cup veteran. “With Vanderbilt being someone that raced in the America’s Cup and really knowing the history of the house, it was a really fun project that was true to the historic nature of the building and also true to the design of a classic superyacht.”

The transition begins on the snug stairs leading down from the house. The interior opens up into a lower foyer and then the main salon. Behind the salon is a galley with arched mahogany paneled partitions and teak bar tops. Behind the galley is a raised platform settee and dining table that seats up to 10.

Other features include a custom-made ship’s bell, a water-tight engine room door, a carved compass rose design on each of the solid mahogany doors, and authentic deck prisms throughout the space.

The only space without a yacht feel is the wine cellar, which was designed to replicate the classic wine cellars in Italy and France, with an arched stone ceiling, limestone flooring and a sink from an antique fountain, designer Kim Kirby said.

“We have definitely accomplished making this area fit, feel and look like a superyacht,” Kirby said. “You could take somebody down there blindfolded, and they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”


Related Articles

Phil Purcell is the man at the helm

Phil Purcell is the man at the helm

While he jests that he might have chosen truck driving or log-house building as alternative livelihoods, Purcell’s career in the yachting industry spans more than 30

The right to return: A Cuban-born captain’s journey

The right to return: A Cuban-born captain’s journey

UPDATES: Carnival Corp. issued a  statement April 22 that it worked out an agreement with Cuban officials to bypass the Cuban law that says Cuban-born visitors cannot  travel by sea

STCW code will enter full force soon, are you prepared?

As we quickly approach January 1, 2017, the Manila Amendments to the STCW Code will enter into full force by year’s end.  When it comes to licensing and certification,

Another quick antidote for troublesome condition onboard: overdoses

Another quick antidote for troublesome condition onboard: overdoses

This month’s topic is about a product that hits close to home for me. Although I personally have never required it, it is a life-saving medication yacht crew may

All Aboard Florida passenger train could double bridge closures

All Aboard Florida passenger train could double bridge closures

A study by All Aboard Florida that predicts how much the bridge over Ft. Lauderdale’s New River would be closed once its new high-speed passenger rail begins exceeds the

Fraser Yachts sells Sai Ram

Fraser Yachts has sold the 169-foot (52m) Benetti M/Y Sai Ram listed for $19.5 million, the 120-foot (36.6m) M/Y Charisma built by Danube Marine Consulting and listed for $3.15