Monday, September 10, 2018

September 15th Workday



Wedding Cake House Work Day! Volume 5

The details:
When: 1-5pm September 15th

(Rain Date September 16th)

Where: 514 Broadway Providence

What: a variety of renovation activities will be available!

We should have some walls ready for priming if you’re a good painter...some wallpaper to scrape if you like the meditative satisfaction of turning a chaotic space into a blank slate, and LOTS AND LOTS of pulling/banging nails out of lathe and helping 
Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels with a sculptural arch made out of lathe from the house that will be stationed at the Bainbridge end of the yard. (Additional volunteer opportunities on this project Sept 8th - 18th - more on this below)
5pm on the lawn - we’ll have some food! Please RSVP so that we have a head count (! Can only come part of the day...No Problem! Want to bring a friend/awkward first date/family member?  amazing! Want to just invite them to supper on the lawn afterwards - also totally awesome! Just let us know. 

What to wear/bring/expect:  Wear old clothes (it’s really really dusty/dirty!) and shoes appropriate for a construction zone, If you have a hammer, nail pullers, or vice grips, bring em! If you have a bunch of construction experience and want to take on a specific project get ahold of us ahead of time...There are INFINITE projects. What to expect: banging, scrapping, moving stuff around, transforming things with people who you may or may not already know - high likelihood that you may make a new friend, because turns out when you smash/paint/scrape/carry heavy things in an insanely dirty zone with someone, well that’s a thing that you now have in common. Other potential activities include: Well one time we found a little secret panel, and another time a teenaged ukele band played during dinner - who knows what magic will await us this time!

Additional volunteer opportunities! 
We could really use some help getting prepped before work with Serra begins, as well as some hands to work with her as she installs. The Pro’s of this = you get to work alongside of an amazing artist on a super cool project and probably bang out nails listening to weird soundtracks, which personally we find super therapeutic and satisfying. The cons of this = there are no cons - it will just be awesome.  Message us if this is something you’re interested in. We are looking for folks September 8th-18th, whatever hours work for you (we’re usually on site 7am - 7pm). The 8th - the 12th will be prepping before the artist arrives and 13th - 18th will be dedicated to install, working directly with the artist.

We've gotten pretty bad at blogging - but are constantly putting updates on our instagram!!  

Friday, June 29, 2018

June Volunteer Workday!!!


SATURDAY JUNE 30th 2p - 5p
(rain date Sunday July 1st same time!)

It's been a whirlwind of activity! Plaster board getting craned into the building, repaired balconies starting to go back up outside, painting contractors getting finalized, choosing paint colors named things like "milk moustache" and "potato leek" pharmaceutical vials found in the ceiling... the list goes on!

We thought it would be good timing to do a summer workday! Here's the scoop: 

June 30th (rain-date July 1st) 

The plan is to converge at 2pm and to wrap up at 5pm with a beautiful feast by our very own Advisory Council member Lucie Searle!

Please RSVP if you plan to attend so that we can get her a head count for food!

The plan is to have a variety of indoor and outdoor activities with a focus on wallpaper scraping - so dig out the messy clothes. (Miss the rubble?!?! We don't!)

If you want to check out video of 12ft sheets of plaster board being craned into the building - check it out HERE

Below is a pic of our carpenter installing the west balcony

and the front balconies all back outside!!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2018


People have been asking how they can volunteer more regularly. For the month of May we'll test out having drop in times for volunteers who are interested in coming by. If you want to pop in and scrape some wallpaper for a few hours, or work on other projects - we will be onsite and set up for volunteers during these dates/times: MAY Tuesdays and Thursdays - 10am - 2pm Friday evenings (with beer!) 5 - 7pm Sundays 2 - 5pm If there's a specific project that you'd be interested in tackling - talk to us! While it's ok to pop in, a heads up is always appreciated...e-mail us at If you come by dress for a mess & remember that it's still cold!

Guest Blogger Mike DeCesare!

I’m Mike I’m 12 years old. I play basketball, baseball and football. The one time I was on Broadway street, the house was new to me I had never heard about it or even seen it ,but the first time i laid my eyes on it it just caught me. I had never seen architecture like it around, I really love Victorian history like the house ,so Back in 2017 I started doing some research on the house to see if anyone owned it or its abandoned and kind of figure out the status, then i read it was purchased by a group named Dirtpalace, I continued some research and a few months ago i got in contact with Xander she was very nice, I told her about how much i love Victorian history and how I’d do anything to help save it. I couldn't even imagine it being knocked down because it’s a piece of Rhode Island history. I've been to a bunch of different Victorian houses none of them catch my eye like the wedding cake house. When you walk inside it's like a Newport mansion. There's stained glass a very large mirror that is protected, lots of fireplaces, one of the very nice ones are cracked down the middle i found that quite disappointing but i hope that will get to be repaired. I recently went with my mom to help work, I love to work especially on this house I scraped some wallpaper and helped put a door frame in, after that Xander showed me how to do plaster crack repairs. interested in the tower and also the screened-in deck, the tower seemed very cool because you can literally see all of providence not many if none other houses have that feature. I also really liked how the ladder up to the tower was kept original and not ripped out. I also think the landscaping is one of the top 3 most important things of preserving a house. To bring it back to life with bright green grass and refurbish the small metal fence along the perimeter of the yard. The project is going to be rough, there is tons of work to do but Xander and Pippi seem very determined to do the #1 most important thing which is preservation not renovation fully but I think the important thing is to make it as original and the same as it was when it was first built, they don't want to change the house. For example there was a very big decision about steam heat and I think that's one of the most important parts of an old house, like you cant have an old house with forced heat it just isn't right that will make the house feel like a museum not like a actual house. It won't have that same warm feeling without the steam-heat.
I found this picture very interesting because there looks to be a fountain there I don't know if there is one still and its just covered but I don't think so. I think the house should be fixed up to look as close as possible to this original picture.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Our Saturday Workday was TOTALLY AMAZING!!!!

So much wallpaper was scraped

5 tons of rubble was moved to the dumpster

The infamous 600 lb holly thistle radiator made it to the 2nd floor

Not to mention all the work done on the grounds.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the 50+ Volunteers who came out on Saturday!!!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Bubbles and Rubble Workday!


People have been asking – When are we going to have another workday at the Wedding Cake House? Well... now that it is spring ?!? (Is it?), we are aim to please! If you have an interest in coming over and lending a hand with physical labor, we're ready to take you up on it! Skip the gym & come and help us move bags of rubble to the dumpster, or move the “infamous” holly and thistle steam radiator to the 2nd floor. Still have a chill? Warm up by steaming off wallpaper

We'll likely have about 3 tons of bagged plaster rubble (150 ready to go 40ish pound bags) to move into a dumpster & many hands will make much lighter work of this! There will also be other jobs for people without the need for heavy lifting!

Saturday April 14th

We'll get started at 2:00 pm, and start wrapping up and making bubbly cocktails and mocktails at around 5pm. The amazing Lucie Searle will once again grace us with her fantastic cooking. If you can RSVP and let us know if and when you're coming that would be great!! e-mail us at

If you have work gloves, wear em! We'll have dust masks, hand wipes, and tools on hand.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Looking back on Late Summer (the successful grant report)

In the frosty depths of what might prove to be a record breaking cold snap for Rhode Island, thinking a few months back to August and September and their warm breezes takes a fairly serious act of imagination. When it's winter like this I sometimes have a hard time summoning the memory of other realities, of other seasons. Our routine these days is: wake up as early as possible, go check on the pipes at the wedding cake house, do some stuff on site while the propane heater runs in the room with the fragile lead water supply line, try not to think about the part of said supply line with a bulge that we call "the mouse" as in the supply line is a snake and there is part of it that's puffed out like a when a snake unhooks it's jaw and gobbles up a rodent whole, think up ways to have more peace of mind that this epic cold snap will not destroy our water supply line, do some office work off site, check back in on the pipe about 3 times a day and repeat.  But anyway, the reason that I even brought up early Fall was to tell you about the grant writing part of those days.

While we were blogging in August and September, let's be honest, we were not, dear reader, telling you everything. The reality was that we were mostly writing about the work that we were doing on site, but actually we were working on site by day, and then by night, gazing deeply into the glow of our computers. We were busy crafting long and detailed narratives about why rehabbing this building for our proposed arts use is a good idea, and why, after so many failed attempts at developing this property, a couple of women artists were going to be the people who were able to pull off what other developers and real estate professional weren't.  Obviously we had our work cut out for us. We put in 4 major grants with application processes that ranged from short Letters of Intent with follow up interviews, to applications that involved 156 page 18 tabbed multi-binder beasts.  Three of these grants were funded, one we will re-apply to in March. While we still have a long way to go, having the support of these organizations is incredibly helpful at this point in the process and we're both very humbled and motivated by these votes of confidence. Here are links that lead to information about the organizations and funds that are supporting this project.

RISCA - State Cultural Facilities Grants

Champlin Foundation

Andy Warhol Foundation

September 15th Workday

September 15 September Workday!!! Wedding Cake House Work Day!  Volume 5 The details: When:  1-5pm ...