House Lust: A Historic Newport Firehouse is on the Market

Affectionately known as the "Chutes and Ladders House," the stunning Hill District conversion was rebuilt, brick by brick, over three years.

Its vintage brass fireman’s pole pays homage to its early history as a fire station, but Redwoods Hose Station 8 in Newport — deemed the “Chutes and Ladders House” by its owners for its myriad inter-floor transit options — has all the comforts of home.

As it should: The property underwent a three-year, top-to-bottom renovation, which — surprise! — included a complete razing thanks to compromised structural mortar. Each brick was dismantled, according to a piece in Rhode Island Monthly in 2009, and the firehouse was put back together again.

Previous incarnations included a triplex and, before that, an upholstery shop. So the owners tapped Boston-based architect, David Hacin, to convert the large, airy structure into a homey three-floor single-family with a guest suite. Hacin paired green technologies and techniques — including a geothermal heating system with an 850-foot well, nine-foot windows for passive solar energy and sustainable wood species for flooring — with luxurious amenities including an elevator, a whole-house sound system, radiant floors and a high-tech security system.

It’s clear the owners — no strangers to unusual properties, from a renovated chicken coop to a bluff-side home modeled after a lighthouse — set out to do good by Hose Station 8. Their efforts were lauded, too, with a Doris Duke Historic Preservation Award in 2009. Now, a new generation of unique property lovers can bask in this near-zealous commitment to eco-friendly materials, style and historic preservation. Here’s your House Lust:

For more information on Redwoods Hose Station 8, contact Gustave White Sothebys’ Jessica Chase at 401-864-3596 or visit

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