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The Phase I restoration at Rough Point has been awarded a 2023 AIA Honor and Design Citation from the American Institute of Architects, Rhode Island. The nomination for the award was submitted by the architects and NRF’s partners on the project, DBVW Architects. One of only two citations given for Historic Preservation, the award recognizes the first phase of a multi-year project to restore and rehabilitate Rough Point, ensuring its protection from the effects of increasingly frequent storms and severe weather events.


“NRF is thrilled to be recognized by AIA RI for our restoration efforts at Rough Point,” says Alyssa Lozupone, Director of Preservation at NRF. “The project’s success would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts of the design, management, and construction team led expertly by DBVW Architects. The timing of AIA RI’s award is energizing as we have just embarked on the next phase of Rough Point’s multi-year preservation plan.”


The initial preservation phase started with an overall assessment of the building envelope and known areas of water infiltration. The results of the assessment informed the complete replacement of the historic slate roof and copper gutter system as well as targeted masonry restoration. DBVW Architects are overseeing the multi-phase project, which will include the full restoration of Rough Point’s masonry, windows, and interior spaces.


“The restoration of Rough Point reflects the ongoing transformation of NRF itself into a more community-oriented organization,” says Frankie Vagnone, President of NRF and Director of Rough Point Museum. “The restoration efforts are opening up parts of the building that, up to this point, have remained inaccessible to the public. Ensuring the long-term sustainability of the museum building creates opportunities for us to utilize spaces for the community to engage with NRF’s work and the philanthropic legacy of Doris Duke. We are grateful to the Doris Duke Foundation for their continued guidance and support of NRF and the restoration of Rough Point Museum.”


The American Institute of Architects, RI’s annual Design Awards Program is committed to excellence in architecture and celebrates outstanding works of architecture, and the project teams and clients who work with them to create and enhance our built environment.


Newport, RI, October 6, 2023 – The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is announcing a new session of its pilot Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program, a hands-on training and experience-building course designed to expand the skillsets of experienced tradespeople and increase knowledge of preservation tradecraft in Newport. 


The course will be held from November 2023 to February 2024. Classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 to 7:30pm in Newport. The fee for the program is $250 which will cover instructor fees and materials, and graduates will receive a “Preservation Trades Specialist” certificate from NRF. More information about the program, fees, and application can be found on the NRF website at 


Building on the success of two previous cohorts held in November 2022 and April 2023, this course will further NRF’s goal of developing training programs by utilizing craft and historic sites all over Newport for participants to receive hands-on training in a range of preservation trade skills, as well as work side by side with NRF’s in-house crew of experienced tradespeople. 


The Fall 2023 session is being funded with contributions from the Doris Duke Foundation, and funding for future sessions has been secured with support from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and an individual donor.  


The Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program is designed to address the impending loss of expertise facing the preservation trade industry. Much of the existing preservation trade knowledge is held by craftspeople who are aging out of the workforce, and many new workers do not have access to specialized training required of historic preservation. One of the main aims of the program is to train experienced general construction workers in the specific skills required to work on historic structures; 54% of Newport properties are of a historic age and need to be maintained or restored using modified techniques that consider the original materials and methods of construction.  

“Newport has a high percentage of historic homes with an undersized workforce to keep those properties standing,” said Kris Turgeon, NRF’s Historic Trades Manager. “This course will allow NRF to continue training the local community with an eye toward preservation rather than replacement of buildings.” 

Participants in the program will gain a working knowledge of how to identify and approach repairs on historic buildings, and learn skills such as historic preservation fundamentals, traditional plastering, historic paints and finishes, and more. Graduates will also receive a “Preservation Trades Specialist” certificate from NRF, and expand their network of local contractors, preservation professionals, and other working craftspeople in Newport.  


“It has been so rewarding to see the participants learn and develop these crucial skills that are integral to the future of the preservation field, and to hear from participants how much experience they’ve gained through this program and will carry with them into the industry,” Kris Turgeon said. 

The NRF PTS program is run in collaboration with several national and international preservation organizations, including Rockwood Joinery, The Campaign for the Historic Trades, International Yacht Restoration School of Technology and Trade (IYRS), and local preservation contractors like Gnazzo Masonry, Kirby Perkins, and Crocker Architectural. These partnerships are fundamental to NRF’s goal of engaging community collaborators to generate effective change in the Newport community.  

NRF President Frankie Vagnone sat down with Newport This Week to discuss the opening of “GAMES, GAMBLERS & CARTOMANCERS: The New Cardsharps” at the Vernon House, the founding of NRF, and the future of the organization’s work in Newport.

Newport, RI— The annual Doris Duke Preservation Awards, a joint program of the Newport Restoration Foundation and the City of Newport, encourages excellence in historic preservation by recognizing exemplary preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation projects as well as education and advocacy initiatives that have taken place throughout Newport County. This year’s awards also seek to highlight innovative approaches to preservation, including new technologies, materials/products, excellence in practice, creative adaptive reuse, climate change adaptations, and similar progressive concepts.

Newport Restoration Foundation and the City are calling upon the local community to nominate innovative and best practice preservation projects completed within the last three years that have added value to the character of the community. The winners will be acknowledged at an awards event on Friday, September 8, 2023 (details of the event pending). Please see below for award criteria and how to submit a nomination. The deadline for nominations is July 17, 2023.


Award Criteria

  • Eligible recipients are individuals; non-profit or for-profit organizations; and federal, state, or local agencies.
  • A wide variety of nominations of varying project budgets are encouraged, from small buildings to large; major rehabilitations to minor restorations; landscapes or streetscapes; new technologies and materials; individual or company-level excellence in practice; and education or advocacy initiatives. Particular attention will be paid to projects that include the following criteria:
    • Adaptive reuse
    • Multi-family, affordable housing building adaptation
    • Resiliency and energy efficiency
    • Company, firm, or individual exemplifying preservation practice
    • New or emerging preservation technologies, materials, and/or products compliant in historic applications
  • All work related to the project or initiative must have been completed within the last three (3) years.
  • Nominations are welcome from Newport County (Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Jamestown, Tiverton, Little Compton).
  • Properties that are currently (or anticipated to be) listed for sale will not be considered.


Further information about how to nominate a project or individual can be found at or by emailing Margaret Back, NRF’s Preservation Associate, at

My internship project to catalog NRF’s property paint colors and formulas was born out of necessity. Over the years, the NRF crew had amassed an astounding depth of knowledge about the organization’s paints, but this knowledge had never been formally documented. The focus of my internship stemmed from the desire to capture this information before it was lost to time.  I was given the task of documenting 20 different exterior paints for more than 70 properties. 

This large undertaking began with the very important question, “Where do we begin?” Our answer was to start small by finding the colors at NRF’s two major paint suppliers, Humphrey’s Paint Center in Middletown and Adler’s Hardware in Providence. I was greeted at Humphrey’s Paint with a metal box of nearly 400 index cards, all of which held a piece of NRF’s paint color history. Our process began with photographing each index card, whether the information was for an exterior or interior color, and thus the archival and research process began. These index cards became the basis of the project and have answered many of the questions I set out to answer. The goal of accessing these index cards was to document the information on paint formulas and names and make them available for the paint crew to answer questions on a property’s exterior paint color through NRF’s in-house property management tool. 

When documenting the paints, I added categories to differentiate the three exterior paint colors for each property and the date the paint was last updated. I repeated this process with the paint information from NRF’s other paint supplier, Adler’s. Throughout this part of the project, I conducted several interviews with the paint crew to learn more about the history of the paint colors, their experiences working with Doris Duke, and the importance of their roles in the preservation of NRF’s historic properties. This project would have no foundation without the experiences of NRF’s paint crew. I learned so much about how the colors came to be, what colors were used throughout NRF’s existence, and the events and decisions that led to the colors we see at NRF properties today. 

In the next phase of the project, I am repeating the process to document the interior colors of the properties.  I am also interviewing retired members of the paint crew to learn more about their experiences with NRF’s paint colors. The paint collection can now be viewed on NRF’s website, as well as additional information on the colors used at each property.  If you see the crew working around town, ask them about the paint colors and explore the information we’ve uncovered so far. 

By Elizabeth Baza, Salve Regina University Intern 


The Newport Restoration Foundation and the City of Newport are seeking qualified consultants or architectural firms to develop graphics for the City’s Design Guidelines for Elevating Historic Buildings. Specifically, the consultant will produce Appendix A, a set of graphics to include photos, drawings, and/or architectural renderings of appropriate design concepts. The graphics may include, but are not limited to, delineating new and original details in building adaptations, foundation design within a historic context, and streetscape scale and building patterns. The ideal consultant is a preservation or planning professional with a background in architecture, or an architectural firm with a preservation focus.

Please review the RFP here to learn more about the project, consultant selection, and timeline.


The Newport community has historically been affected by significant flooding in low-lying areas in part due to its proximity to Narragansett Bay and some neighborhoods’ development upon filled-in marsh lands. However, flooding, hurricanes, and high tides in these coastal neighborhoods are only intensifying as a result of climate change. Many of these neighborhoods are included within the Newport Historic District and represent a significant collection of 18th- and 19th-century buildings, including National Historic Landmarks.

In 2016, NRF hosted the first Keeping History Above Water™ Conference to specifically discuss climate change and building adaptation in Newport’s historic coastal neighborhoods. Case studies from the conference informed strategies for building adaptation and resiliency in historic communities threatened by sea level rise. Since then, Newport’s Historic District Commission has concluded that the best policy for long-term preservation in these neighborhoods is to support voluntarily elevating structures.

In January 2020, the Newport Historic District Commission adopted the Design Guidelines for Elevating Historic Buildings. The guidelines apply towards all contributing and non-contributing buildings within the Newport Historic District—a collection of nearly 400 properties. The guidelines include four considerations to guide commission and applicant thinking in reviewing elevation projects for historic buildings:

Streetscapes and Context Consideration
Site Design Consideration
Foundation Design Consideration
Architecture and Preservation

The guidelines also include a definition section and three appendices:

Appendix A: Graphical Support to Building Elevation Design Concepts
Appendix B: Additional Flood Mitigation Options for the Homeowner
Appendix C: Landscape Best-Practices and Recommendations Related to Flood Mitigation and Building Elevation

When the guidelines were adopted, the Commission intended for the creation of appendices at a later date. Both NRF and the City felt graphic support for Appendix A was critical for applicants and commissioners to visualize proposed adaptations alongside the written guidelines. Visualizations will be an important tool for historic homeowners in Newport as well as serve as a model for other historic communities looking to articulate adaptation strategies.


The deadline for submission of proposals is August 19 by 5 p.m. A mandatory pre-proposal conference will be held for all interested applicants on August 5 at 10 a.m. via Zoom. Proposals must be submitted electronically as a single PDF document.

All questions may be directed to

Thank you for following along throughout Preservation Month as we shared updates on our preservation projects and the people who make them possible. One of our largest undertakings is the preservation of the William Vernon House. In this final video in our Behind the Walls series, we take a look back at all we have learned from the Historic Structure Report, and what remains ahead for this important part of Newport’s history.

With the support of the community and friends like you, we are able to continue our mission to preserve and protect Newport’s architectural heritage. Thank you again for caring about historic preservation.


There’s still time left to give to NRF this Preservation Month! Please consider making a gift today to support our preservation efforts. Make a one-time gift, or have greater impact by joining Restoration Partners, our monthly giving program.  Thank you for protecting historic resources in our community!

Historic homes require regular maintenance, and Rough Point Museum is no exception. Recent visitors will have seen exterior scaffolding and preservation contractors working diligently. The museum’s roof system is currently undergoing restoration to address water infiltration. With increases in storms and precipitation due to climate change, it’s more important than ever to protect this historic structure and plan for its future. NRF’s Director of Preservation, Alyssa Lozupone, describes the meticulous restoration process in our latest video.


You can help us maintain Rough Point Museum and the other historic homes in our collection by becoming a Restoration Partner. To learn more about our monthly giving program, click here.

Over the past year, NRF has explored ways in which we can have an impact in promoting the historic trades as a career path. Our talented Preservation Crew, several who have worked for NRF over 30 years, are an integral part of our organization and care for over 70 historic properties in and around Newport. Tradespeople (carpenters, masons, metal workers, etc.) play a critical role in ensuring historic properties are carefully and properly preserved. Unfortunately, the current generation of skilled craftspeople are aging out of the field. Fifty-five percent of all properties in Newport are considered historic, and are always in need of repair. Without trained tradespeople, historic properties owned by NRF and other organizations cannot be maintained.

The mission of the Historic Trades Initiative is to perpetuate and diversify the historic trades by creating strong connections with our community and sharing our expertise. The Initiative was developed through conversations with other preservation organizations, workforce training companies, and the local contractor community. Its focus is to raise awareness and offer training opportunities to create a robust workforce of people who specialize in the preservation trades. Working with national organizations including the National Park Service and Campaign for Historic Trades, as well as local contractors, NRF will launch several programs in 2022.

  • Tours through NRF properties and the carpentry mill for local tradespeople, vocational schools, and colleges to build awareness about our preservation initiatives.
  • Summer carpentry internships for students enrolled in related trades programs such as boat building and furniture making. Students will gain an understanding of how those skills are transferrable to the preservation field.
  • Upskill training program for individuals with basic carpentry or masonry skills who wish to specialize in preservation. Graduates will receive a certificate in the preservation trades from NRF.
  • Job shadowing for local residents who are interested in the trades but who do not have formal training. NRF will facilitate job shadowing with various local contractors.

We look forward to sharing updates as these programs get underway. For people with basic carpentry skills who are interested in learning more about historic trades, we invite you to consider applying for our 12-week paid summer internship. More details and application information are available here.

By Kris Turgeon, Trades Initiative Manager, Newport Restoration Foundation

Keeping programming at Prescott Farm free. Providing in-person and virtual learning opportunities. Preserving important historic buildings along the streetscapes of Newport.

These are just a few of the activities that our dedicated Restoration Partners support with their ongoing, monthly gifts. By joining Restoration Partners, your monthly contribution is immediately directed toward NRF’s ongoing work to preserve Newport’s architectural and cultural heritage.

Will you help us meet our goal of welcoming 20 new monthly donors?

In honor of Preservation Month this May, we invite you to become part of this community of individuals who care deeply about protecting historic resources in Newport.

There are many advantages to joining the program. Your monthly gift is fully tax-deductible and automatically charged to your credit card or bank account. Partners receive periodic benefits and invitations to private events. We send a year-end tax statement outlining your cumulative giving.

Please visit our website at to learn more about the program and to make your gift. Thank you for supporting NRF and for caring about preservation in Newport.


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