19th-century Portsmouth farmhouse once owned by the Vanderbilt family

Built in 1848, the house in Portsmouth, was once part of Oakland Farm. [The Providence Journal / Bob Breidenbach]

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Built in 1848, the house at 102 Union St. in Portsmouth, near the Middletown line, used to be part of the Oakland Farm, which at one time was owned by the Vanderbilt family.

The farm once provided food for the Vanderbilts, who also owned The Breakers mansion in Newport, according to owner Sarah Krous. Part of the farm was later sold for the Oakland Farms condominium development. Another part of the Vanderbilt farm became the Green Valley Country Club on Union Street.

Since 1985, the historic farmhouse has been owned by Steven Krous, who bought it with his parents but now owns the home with his wife, Sarah. Krous said the house was not in a habitable condition when his family purchased it. It needed a new heating system, he said, and “there were literally holes in the roof.”

Today, the four-bedroom home is a well-tended residence with an updated kitchen and bathrooms, and fresh decor. The house has 3,100 square feet of living space. There is also a freestanding, two-car garage with loft space.

The updated kitchen has granite counters and stainless steel appliances, including a modern gas range. [The Providence Journal / Bob Breidenbach]
The updated kitchen has granite counters and stainless steel appliances, including a modern gas range. [The Providence Journal / Bob Breidenbach]
The house’s exterior is painted a golden yellow color and the shutters, which have oak-leaf cutouts, are deep green. A spacious front porch with a bench swing is at the main entrance. There is also a large deck attached to the back of the house.

Stone walls border the front lawn, and the property includes large specimen trees. Inside, the home is a mix of modern conveniences and vintage details, including original hardwood floors.

For instance, the kitchen has granite counters and stainless steel appliances, including a modern gas range, but it is also has a vintage oven that the Krouses used for heat in the 1980s when they were first renovating the house.

The large cast iron stove likely dates to the early 1900s, when the farm was owned by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, who made many improvements there before he died when the Lusitania sank in 1915. (Vanderbilt reportedly gave his life jacket to a woman who was also on board.)

The center island includes space for casual dining and includes wine-rack storage built into the side.

The living room has a wood-burning fireplace, and opens to the formal dining room. Another room on the first floor, at the back of the house, has walls painted a deep blue color, and it seems perfect for a library, reading room or office. There is also a large mudroom off the kitchen with a dark-red tiled floor and white beadboard paneling. The mudroom also connects with a partially underground storeroom that used to be a milk room for the farm. This space has slate counters, the same red-tile flooring as the mudroom, and a large sink.

There are four large bedrooms and one full bathroom on the second floor.

The third floor has been converted to an in-law apartment with its own living room, bedroom, kitchen, full bathroom and laundry machines. Relatives of the couple are living there now. The in-law apartment has its own balcony, which also has steps that lead down to the deck.

The couple said they are selling because they plan to downsize to a smaller home in Bristol.

The house at 102 Union St., Portsmouth is priced at $579,000. Real-estate taxes are $6,562. For more information, contact Amy Burnes of Teri Degnan Real Estate, (401) 864-7734.

cdunn@providencejournal.com

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