House Lust: J Schatz’s Gorgeous Live/Work Studio

The 5,120-square-foot ceramics studio and apartment, in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence, is on the market.

I can trace my first definitive pang of house lust back to December of 2016, when we featured Jim Schatz and Peter Souza’s stunning home and studio in Olneyville in our print At Home column. The custom tile work! The exposed brick! The natural light! The stoneware swing! The lifetime supply of ceramics! Oh, to be two motivated artists in love.

For the record: A place like this doesn’t just exist out there in the world, up for grabs any old time by any old Zillow stalker. This type of place — honed for its owners but universally coveted — only comes along when its godlike owner/designers decide to pass it on to the masses. Then, and only then, can some lucky buyer take credit for their years of creative work.

Today is that day. Schatz and Souza, partners in life and business, are selling the 5,120-square-foot home base of their ceramics operation, J Schatz, a 2016 Best of Rhode Island winner. (You can breathe; they plan to stay local.) The space also features a main apartment where Schatz and Souza live, plus three one-bedroom, one-bath suites that currently serve as the Dye House Lofts short-term rentals.

Of the decision to move, Souza tells me in a phone interview, “We felt like we needed to get back to more nature, to be honest.”

It makes sense: J Schatz ceramics — from punchy birdhouses to stunning tableware glazed in earth tones — are rooted in the natural world. Souza says many of Schatz’s early designs were conceptualized when he was living out in the woods. Now, the couple is looking to get back to the land on two or three acres with a barn for their ceramics studio. They considered the Berkshires but decided it was too far away from the community they love in Providence.

“In the last three years, we’ve met so many amazing people here. They’ve been so supportive and we want to stay close,” Souza says.

Parting, for Souza, is such sweet sorrow, considering the amount of work he and Schatz put into their Dike Street property. The L.A. transplants bought the former dye mill, which had been converted to an office space, in 2015 and immediately began renovations, from the HVAC system to new bathrooms, bedrooms and a kitchen with high-end appliances. A new roof — “which was a bear,” Souza says — was installed in May. A work/live buyer could just set up and get started, he adds; everything is done.

“This is like my baby,” Souza says. “This is a hard thing for me to leave. I just know it’s the right thing.”

Here’s your House Lust:

Souza, who worked in Boston real estate, is handling the sale of the property. For more information, call 954-789-7000 or email peter@jschatz.com.

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2016 Best of Rhode Island

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