Knocking it down would have also rubbed the neighbors the wrong way. The town had just asked Donald's firm, in nearby Providence, Rhode Island, to help rewrite its zoning rules to protect Jamestown's scale and historic character—i.e., to stem the tide of McMansions. Choosing to repair, not replace, was a way "to walk the walk to prove it could be done," Donald says.
It was also a chance for him to put his firm's New Urbanist beliefs to work within the walls of his own home. In a New Urban village, private holdings are compact while walkable paths draw people out of their homes (and cars) into airy civic spaces. In Donald's plan for the house, bedrooms would be small and the living spaces open, with well-defined spots for people to gather in.
Shown: The dining room is open to the kitchen and the living room, allowing conversation and foot traffic to flow.