The three story 22-room home that now serves as our office was originally built in 1911 by Dr. John Champlin, a prominent and highly regarded physician in Westerly and throughout the State of Rhode Island. The Champlin family has been identified with the history of Rhode Island and can trace their roots back eight generations to the emigrant ancestor, Jeffrey Champlin, who was born in 1621 and lived in Newport.
In addition to being a highly esteemed member of the Rhode Island medical community, Dr. Champlin was an astute business man. He was a director of the Washington Trust Company, a trustee of the Westerly Savings Bank and Director of the Smith Granite Company. One of his greatest business achievements was the organization of the Westerly Automatic Telephone Company, which was incorporated in 1902. He was President and Manager. A recent “Bricks and Murals” portrait at the corner of High Street and Railroad Avenue honors this achievement.
When Mal and Martha first saw the building in 2001, it had fallen into disrepair and was being used by the owner as a tenement house. Mal describes that first visit as him thinking, “Oh my goodness, what a mess.” Martha, a talented interior designer remembers thinking, “Oh my goodness. What a beautiful building. What an opportunity.”
The Makins rolled up their sleeves and, under Martha’s guiding hand, spent well over a year following the Rhode Island Historic Preservation guidelines to bring back the original beauty of Dr. Champlin’s home and office. Mal and Martha proudly display the award they received from the Rhode Island Historic Preservation Society for the painstaking restoration of the building. Martha is particularly proud of the fact that all of the work was done by local craftsmen and contractors. The beautiful building was not just renovated. It was restored.
When clients visit for the first time, they often ask for the “tour” and we are thrilled to oblige. Our hope is that the unique wood trimmings, the hardwood floors, the stunning inlays, the fireplaces, the dormer windows and so many other elegant examples of a time gone by will represent the total client experience that we hope to provide. There is a tradition and a strength that our building represents. There is an honesty. There is a graceful flow of the past, present and future. There is a feeling of trust.