House of the Week: Mintwater Cottage in Portsmouth is a picturesque escape

House of the Week: Mintwater Cottage in Portsmouth is a picturesque escape

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The property on rural Glen Farm Road features a 3,106-square-foot main house, studio/barn, potting shed and stone walls that date back to when it was part of a sprawling estate owned by the Taylor family.

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The property on rural Glen Farm Road features stone walls and posts that date back to the years when it was part of a sprawling estate owned by the Taylor family.

Henry A. Taylor began acquiring property in Portsmouth in the mid-1800s for a country estate. His son, Moses Taylor, a New York financier, built the Glen Manor house in 1923.

Today, the property at 96 Glen Farm Rd. includes a much-expanded main house, a 3,106-square-foot, three-level home known as Mintwater Cottage. The former workshop is used as an art studio and storage barn. There is also a charming potting shed.

They are all set on a picturesque 2.3-acre parcel by the Mintwater Brook. The main house, which dates back to 1750, has four bedrooms, three full bathrooms and one half bathroom, original floors with 12-inch fir boards, four fireplaces, and exposed chestnut beams.

Allison and Stephen Walk said they bought 96 Glen Farm Rd. about 15 years ago, after attending a garden party there and asking the owner to let them know if he ever decided to sell. He decided to sell a few weeks later.

That previous owner was Washington Irving III, a descendant of Washington Irving, the 19th-century author of “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Irving expanded and renovated the cottage, and improvements have been continued by the Walks.

The Walks love to garden, and the property reflects their care. In addition to the floral gardens, there is a vegetable garden, surrounded by black wrought-iron fencing, next to the 488-square-foot heated art studio/barn. The grounds include daffodils, hydrangeas, azaleas, as well as specimen and fruit trees. Adirondack chairs were placed near the turn-of-the-century stone bridge that leads over the brook to a wooded area with a secret garden.

The main house features a spacious covered porch and an open deck; both overlook the grounds and the brook and provide ample room for outdoor entertaining. The front of the house is close to the quiet rural road, and there are fields across the street where horses from the Glen Farm Stables can often be found grazing.

Inside, the first floor includes a sunny living room with a vaulted, beamed ceiling and a fireplace. There is a cozy study with another fireplace and walls lined with built-in bookshelves. The kitchen is modern, and features granite counters and white cabinets.

The lower level has another beamed living space with a large, open hearth, the former bread oven. There is another private bedroom on this lower level, with an ensuite bathroom. Sliding glass doors along the bedroom wall provide ample views of the grounds and let the light in. There is also a mudroom near the back entrance, at the end of the driveway.