2019 RHODY AWARD WINNERS
Restmere interior after
Historic Homeowner Award
Cheryl Hackett and John Grosvenor
Cheryl and John have restored Restmere in Middletown, an 1857 villa designed by architect Richard Upjohn as a summer retreat for Alexander Van Rensselaer.
What do the wealthy descendant of a 17th-century Dutch jewel merchant, an early-20th-century antiques dealer, and a famous American musician have in common? Restmere, an Italianate villa in Middletown. The 1857 home was designed by Richard Upjohn as a summer residence for Alexander Van Rensselaer, a “man of means and leisure.” Between 1909 and 1914, antiquarian Adolph Audrain owned the property, introducing Classical Revival architectural elements and French furnishings. During the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, several blues musicians stayed at Restmere, including Muddy Waters. Despite its storied past, Restmere had lost its spark when John Grosvenor and Cheryl Hackett purchased it in 2016. Exterior work included a full roof replacement and restoring all the historic wood windows. On the inside, plaster walls and water-damaged ceilings were repaired, wood floors were refinished, and outdated systems were replaced. Restmere is ready for a new chapter in its fabled story.