In an effort to keep the site compact, we decided to present these buildings as one entry, even though they are two buildings. We apologize if this is inconvenient for anyone.
New construction at 53 Ashburton is converting the one-time family-owned and operated Damiano Brothers Welding – that later was Acme Antiques for a few years – into the new location of Snookers Pool Lounge. 65 Ashburton was converted from office/commercial space (?) into mixed-use residential and commercial space for an antiques and collectibles store. See news story below:
07/24/2006 | Katherine Imbrie for the Providence Journal
In a city filled with up-and-coming neighborhoods, Maria Bernal is staking a claim in a part of Providence that many pass through with some frequency, but few think of in terms of an upscale and cosmopolitan shop like her new Antiques & Interiors. The store is on Ashburton Street – and you may wonder, even if you have lived in Providence a long time: Where is that?
The long answer is that it is the back loop of Charles Street, the one-way section that brings you to Kelly’s Carwash right at the on-ramp for Route 95, next to the railroad tracks, and not far from the main post office. The short answer is that it’s the street behind Amazing Video.
In a heavily trafficked, mostly industrial area like this, who would expect to come upon a shop like Bernal’s? Yet, there it is: A beacon of panache and chic, reflecting its owner’s keen eye for good design of any period and in many price ranges, as well as her taste for the unusual and international.
Bernal, who owns the shop herself and runs it along with her little Shih Tzu dog Stitch, led a peripatetic existence before moving to Providence 14 years ago. Antiques & Interiors is her first retail venture; she has been a globetrotting publishing executive for a medical trade journal for many of those years.
[...] She stockpiled, she sourced, and a couple of years ago she bought an old brick firehouse on Ashburton. Built around 1900, it had housed engines on the ground floor and stabled horses on the second. Later it had been a boiler factory, and recently an evangelical church.
In between trips abroad, Bernal fashioned the upstairs into her lofty living space, the back (which had been a parking lot) into a serenely Zen garden courtyard, and the first floor into an antiques shop that she opened about a month ago.
[...] Bernal is the natural hub of a network of artists and artisans, both local and international, with whom she connects customers who have special desires. She doesn’t take a cut of these connections. Rather, she wants to “create a community of outsources for good design.”
[...] There is just no telling what you’ll find at Antiques & Interiors: Among the few rules that Bernal observes is, “Everything functional – no kitsch.”
Antiques & Interiors, 65 Ashburton St., Providence. (401) 272-4441. Open Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or by appointment.
No mention of this building cluster in the RIHPHC’s 1981 survey, or in the ProvPlan/PPS 2006 survey. The article above mentions 65 Ashburton being at one time a fire house, a boiler factory, and an evangelical church.
In 2003, the Damiano Brothers were given a Citation of Special Merit by the Providence Preservation Society. Here is the language of the Citation:
The Damiano brothers – Luigi, Roy, Freddi and their late brother Rico – are honored for the impact their work has had on the Providence cityscape. Since its establishment in 1936, Damiano Industries has dedicated itself to the craft of metalwork. Their impact on Providence is immeasurable – their craftsmanship can be seen throughout the city. Included within their many projects, the Damianos were responsible for the replication of historic railings at Waterplace Park and the historic fence panels at Moses Brown School. It is for this devotion to a lost craft and dedication to workmanship that the Damianos are being recognized today. This winter Damiano Industries will close its doors – although their work will continue to stand as a testament to the fine craftsmanship this company has come to epitomize. We take this opportunity to thank them for the positive impact they have had on the urban landscape.
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