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In the News: A Fiery Fix-Up

The New York Times' Light and Space Where Fire Alarms Once Rang visits the Providence, Rhode Island home of artist couple Wendy Edwards and Jerry Mischak, which was originally built in 1931 as a firehouse. The couple, who were living in a mid-19th-century house on Brown University's campus and also renting two separate spaces for their studios, wanted to find a place where they could both live and work. When Mischak saw a sign for a new firehouse going up in East Providence, he stopped into the old headquarters, and spoke to the firemen about the digs.
A year later, they'd paid $185,000 for "a hazardous wreck," complete with "lead-base paint and asbestos." An architect helped them to transform the space, removing the fire poles, unearthing gorgeous steel beams, raising the ceilings, creating an open dining and living area, and making two artist studios. Some architectural details were salvaged as evidence of the structure's origins, like French doors, subway tiles, and fire pole openings. But in essence, the building was renewed, instilled with the kind of light and space that only artists could see in a perilous, old structure — the same kind of vision that has transformed ancient cathedrals and chapels and frat-boy dwellings into modern homes.
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