Newport Country Club
The restoration and rehabilitation plan for the club began with an understanding that it was essential to reinstate Warren’s original floor plan for the building. It was recognized that the original plan perfectly captured all of the important vistas from each room within the building and simultaneously flooded the building with light. Moreover, the clever Beaux-Arts layout provided wonderful axial views within the building itself. Although the original use was changed in several rooms within the structure, this understanding and appreciation of the original plan was used as a benchmark throughout the planning process. For example, Warren’s original plans for the building show a “Drawing Room” in the north wing of the building. This wing, like its counterpart in the south wing, has windows on three elevations and wonderful views of the surrounding golf course. When the club admitted women in the mid-twentieth century, the room was converted into the women’s locker room and remained that way until the restoration and rehabilitation work began. Since the large windows were not desired in the locker room, they were covered over, significantly reducing the amount of light in the building and destroying the lantern-like nature of its design. During the renovation work the women’s locker room was moved upstairs (where an empty apartment was situated) and the former “Drawing Room” was converted into the bar and lounge area. This allowed the patrons of the club to once again enjoy the vistas from the room and allowed the club to reinstate its original paneling and fireplace. The newfound privacy enjoyed by women using the second floor locker room was fully appreciated by those using that facility.
When the building was designed there were small and very wet cellars beneath each of the wings. These cellars were separated by a solid ledge beneath the center portion of the building. Additional space needs and the desire to create a central mechanical plant motivated the club to remove the ledge and create new and dry spaces beneath the entire building. These spaces now house mechanical rooms, offices, public toilets, a pro shop and golf bag storage for club members. Generally, the entire restoration and rehabilitation project included structural repairs, a complete exterior restoration, new building systems, new bathrooms and locker rooms, and a host of other specially designed fitments and features. Today’s members will testify that they now fully appreciate and enjoy Whitney Warren’s architectural achievement and feel a firmer connection to Newport’s illustrious past.