Mid-Century Revival

Updated luxury condo in historically preserved building in Cranston

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Royal Ridge Luxury

Apartment Complex

Circa 1965

The Royal Ridge luxury apartment building was built in 1965 at a time when the local “captains of industry” were becoming snowbirds, selling their large stately homes in Dean Estates and spending a large part of the year in warm and sunny Florida. They weren’t ready to leave their families and friends permanently, and still wanted to keep an eye on their thriving businesses, so renting luxury was the new option, and Royal Ridge was considered to be THE place.  

The Mansolillo family of builders understood their neighbors well and built the Royal Ridge luxury apartment in Glen Woods (Neighborhood of the Week, Projo 3/5/17) building to suit their needs. There was another luxury apartment building, Wayland Manor, located on the East Side of Providence, but the Mansolillo’s knew that Cranstonians were just that—loyal and committed to their community—so much so that the descendants of those “captains” continue to reside in the area today, enjoying the metropolitan suburbs of Chapel View, Garden City, Dean Estates, and Glen Woods.

The apartment building opened with a fabulous, majestic lobby with floor to ceiling windows, a grand chandelier, and hand painted murals on the walls that reflected the art of the time.  The basement of the building became a ‘social club” of sorts, with one very successful businessman building a kitchen, and filling the space with full-sized, hand painted shuffleboard areas, a pool table, dart boards and a table for some legendary card games.  His wife wouldn’t allow him to smoke his cigar in the residence, so he started the club in the basement.

Years later the building was purchased by Joseph Paolino, Sr., and in 1978 they chose to capitalize on the new trend in owning condominiums.  Every renter in the building purchased their own unit, and a professional company has managed it since, dedicated to the preservation of Royal Ridge and its rich history in the community.

The social club décor and signs of the basement games are still there, but now residents can walk out the front door to Chapel View and Garden City Center to enjoy the social aspects of the community—fine dining, boutiques, coffee shops, and a host of holiday activities and nightly entertainment.  The original murals were restored to their former glory by RISD artist, Amy Ryan, in 2017.

There are 24 units in Royal Ridge with only one of them rented.  A transformation is occurring with older residents transferring ownership to first time home buyers and downsizing baby boomers looking for all the urban lifestyle benefits but with the comfort and community of an established neighborhood.  Unit 17 is a large 2 bedroom/2 bath residence which has been completely remodeled with all of the finest finishes, and offers the modern amenities of today’s lifestyle…open floor plan and new kitchen with stainless appliances perfect for entertaining, a larger master suite with walk-in closet, and a private terrace. 

Stats:  1100 square feet, storage galore, assigned parking

Price:  $269,900, taxes $2,893, condo fee $297/mo.

Contact: Lisa Pagano, Albert Realtors, (401) 447-9505

Perfect Combo of Urban/Suburban Living in Cranston

Well folks…I know I haven’t blogged in a while. My goal after I closed on my condo project in March was to have it completely renovated in time for the Spring selling season, and showcase the before/after photos by June. I hate to be a cliche, but my contractor decided to take on more and more jobs simultaneously, and my project became his lowest priority.

So I did what I always do—took matters into my own hands, hired my own top-notch subcontractors, and while the project went over deadline about 3 months, I’m really pleased with the final result. And this luxury condo in the heart of Garden City/Dean Estates is on the market, waiting for the perfect millennial or empty-nesters looking for luxury in this perfect metropolitan suburb.

Finally, here is the transformation!

5 Ways To Stand Out This Spring Selling Season

Get Maximum Dollar For Your Investment.

 The spring selling season is often the busiest and most frantic period of real estate activity in the calendar year. And it makes sense, as the weather warms and home buyers hope to lock in a property before prices rise, those hoping to sell a home in spring can take advantage of housing market trends and walk away with a tidy profit in the spring.

 Stand out against the competition in a crowded market!  

 Spring cleaning checklist


1. Clear the clutter:

 Nothing says “unappealing” like a cluttered property when you’re trying to sell a home. And more likely than not, you have quite a bit of clutter in your house, especially if you’ve been in your home for a while. Check out this “before & after”—which is more appealing? 

  • Entryway: This is the first area prospective home buyers will see, so remove coats, umbrellas, or shoes from your mudroom or foyer.

  • Cabinets, pantry, nightstands, closets: Remove items (e.g. medications, tissues, etc), other than those used for decorative purposes. Closets shouldn’t be packed so much they’re bursting.  Potential buyers WILL check out closet space!

  • Kitchen: Countertops should be clear of everything except for decor and essential kitchen equipment (e.g. toaster) only if you don’t have a place to tuck it away!  Create the look of SPACE!  The fridge should be free of magnets, bills, flyers, or coupons.

  • Bedrooms: Beds should be made; clothes and shoes shouldn’t be on the floor.

  • Furniture and electronic equipment: Keep these to a minimum. This will give the impression of a more open floor plan. Organize cords for electronics (e.g. computers, TV).

  • Periodicals, photos, toys, etc: Anything that overly personalizes your home should be kept away.

  • If you need to get clutter off your hands, have a garage sale, sell items online, or throw away anything you don’t need.


2. Remove personalization:

The purpose of home staging is to help prospects imagine themselves living in your house. If you display items that make them feel like it’s someone else’s home, you make it hard for buyers to imagine owning, much less living, in your property.

You don’t have to sacrifice creating a warm and inviting feel to your house, but you want to strike a balance between warm and neutral. This means focusing on areas like:


  • Personal effects: Pack up family photos, sports memorabilia, trophies, figurines or artwork. In the bathrooms hide razors, deodorants, and other personal items.

  • Collections: What you collect (e.g. books, religious artifacts, etc.) may not necessarily be the same things your prospects would collect. Reading material should reflect neutral subjects, such as architecture or food.

  • Repaint walls: The color palette of the house should be neutral. You want buyers to project themselves onto the house, not feel like your personality is the overarching theme of the house. Use color psychology to know how each tone or color affects your buyers.

  • Wall coverings: Remove or replace wall treatments that have not been changed in the past five to seven years.


3. Clean the exterior: 

If you spend all your time making the interior of your house look appealing, you’ll miss out on the profit potential of exterior curb appeal. Many buyers decide, within seconds of seeing the exterior of a home, whether a property is suitable.

  •  Yards: Winter can leave your yard looking dirty. Trim shrubs, weed flower beds, and throw away leaves and garbage. Planting flowers around the yard can go a long way in raising its appeal, especially during the spring.

  • Porch and patio: Springtime gives people a great excuse to sit out and bask in the weather, so make sure your porch and patio offer that. For a more appealing porch or patio, you can add potted plants along the walkway, even hang a beautiful wreath on the front door. Make sure you remedy any peeling paints,or repaint if needed.


4. Pre-inspection repairs: 

The more well-maintained your house is, the more justification you have for a high asking price. However, if home buyers see your spring real estate property needs a lot of repairs, as advised by the home inspector they will hire, this can cut into your profits.

 Before your house goes on the market, make sure all repairs are done; you can hire your own home inspector to conduct pre-inspection repairs. Among the things you would look at include:


  • Plumbing

  • HVAC

  • Electrical

  • Presence of mold and mildews

  • Damp basements or crawlspaces

  • Deteriorated roofs

  • Non-functioning chimneys

  • Structure and foundation

  • Interior appliances, like smoke detectors


5. Open your home up:

 Take advantage of the fresh spring weather by opening your windows to let the fresh air and sunlight come in and make your house feel (and smell) vibrant. Bright rooms aren’t just aesthetically-pleasing, they also look bigger.

 If natural light doesn’t suffice, add floor or table lamps to areas that are darker or dimmer than others. You can even add some (subtle) air fresheners to give that springtime feeling a bit of a boost.




People tend to buy, whether it be a home or a box of breakfast cereal, for emotional reasons — then back it up with logic. And this is especially true with the real estate spring selling season.


That’s because spring carries with it powerful symbolism; the feeling of renewal, a fresh start. And this can be a powerful metaphor when selling your home. But it’s key you remove any obstacles to this motivating factor. By ensuring your home is clean, free of trouble areas, and looking as fresh as possible, you might just enjoy a fantastic return on your investment this spring.


The Power of Design and Staging to Sell!


I'm pleased to present my recent project that combined interior design, home staging, pro-photography and proper pricing to yield a sale in less than a day.  28 Rangeley Road in Cranston was a vinyl-sided, 1,300 square foot home with two bedrooms in a lovely neighborhood. The roof was newer, the garage had been converted to living space, the home was fueled by oil through a very old cast iron baseboard system and lacked A/C, and the rooms were small, choppy, and outdated.

When I bought the home, I immediately sought to reconfigure the main living areas to create a more inviting open floor plan, and update the kitchen and bath with luxe materials, appliances, and fixtures.  Most who know me know that my signature move is to knock a wall or two down, put a support beam up, and create a space that's ideal for entertaining--my other passion!

The open design plan effectively eliminated the need for the extra 200 feet of living space in the converted garage. I felt a garage would be more appealing to buyers so I designed the space to become a bonus room (mudroom, drop zone, etc.) and a single car garage with entrance into the home--a MUST for our snowy, blustery winters!  

I designed an eat in kitchen with a large quartz island for serving and dining, forfeiting the "dining area".  The bonus room was large enough to accommodate a dining table and chairs if really necessary, and I needed the space to fit my new fabulous kitchen!

For the bathroom, I removed a closet in a bedroom that jutted into valuable bathroom space and redesigned the layout to create a more practical, larger, beautiful space that exudes luxury.  The bath is accented with spa-like tiles, sparkly chrome fixtures, and modern wall sconces.

The hardwood floors throughout the home were sanded and stained dark walnut, ready for the new furnishings and accessories--"staging", we call it.   It helps potential buyers envision themselves in the space, and where their own furnishings will sit.  And so, a lovely young couple envisioned themselves living at 28 Rangeley, and within a day made a full price offer.

Here are some before and after photos that capture the design and staging. Enjoy!


Welcome to this elegant, classic Colonial home just steps away from the boutiques, bistros, summer concerts, and neighborhood camaraderie of Garden City. One owner, clean, updated 4 bedroom family home is built with the finest quality construction, and has been attentively maintained over the years. Spacious rooms, hardwoods throughout, newer central air and hot water tank, complete irrigation system, cedar closet, and many more amenities too numerous to mention. Move right in and start making new memories in Garden City!  Asking $399,900.

Welcome Home to Garden City. Single Level Living at it's Finest.

Debut! Beautifully updated single level living just steps away from Garden City Center shopping and dining. This home is not a drive by! Spacious 1,700 square feet of gracious living. Newer kitchen with wood and glass front cabinets, stone countertops, stainless appliances. Relax in the comfortable great room with Anderson sliders to lovely patio and fenced-in landscaped grounds. Master suite with large closets and updated full bath. Beautiful hardwoods throughout. Central air conditioning, Generac gas generator, Culligan Pure-soft water system, complete outdoor irrigation system. Turnkey living--Just move right in! Asking $339,900.

Please get in touch with any questions or to view more photos.




APRIL 14, 2018   11AM-1PM


The quintessential New England Family Home! You must see this charming Cape Cod home with 3 to 4 bedrooms in Western Cranston. Updated eat-in kitchen with newer stainless appliances and full bathroom, hardwood floors throughout, new roof, vinyl sided, newer windows. Finished heated basement. Lovely yard with deck and flagstone patio for seasonal gatherings. Blooming perennials abound, gorgeous sunsets year round. Walking distance to Oaklawn Elementary School, Library, Bike Path, Sundaes Ice Cream, and easy highway access. 


Ring in the New Year in Fine Style with This Garden City Gem!

A magnificent and stately gem in much desired Garden City! Welcome home to your 2,100 square foot tri-level on a large corner lot. As you walk into the front foyer, you can’t help but look up and admire the vaulted grandeur of the open stairwell, and notice the large formal living room with a gorgeous bay window that floods natural light into the home. Upstairs beyond the landing are 3 bedrooms and a full bathroom with double vanity. In the lower level enjoy your cozy, wood-beamed family room with a wet bar and impressive fireplace for entertaining family and friends or just curling up during the cold winter months. Off the family room there is a full bathroom and a possible 4th bedroom which would make an incredible master suite should that suit you. There is another full basement for storage with a workbench, a 2-car attached garage with opener, and an outside shed for more storage. This fine home features quality construction throughout and many structural and mechanical updates, including newer architectural roof, central air, hot water tank, electrical service, sprinklers, security and more. Simply put your modern spin on the decorating, and live happily ever after in this cheerful, established neighborhood within walking distance to the boutiques, restaurants and coffee houses in dazzling Garden City Center.

2018 Real Estate Trends to Watch: ‘Surban’—That Sweet Spot Between City and Suburb



No—”surban” is not a typo. Think of it as the melding of two words to form a new one in the same manner as celebrity name fusion—think Brangelina, Bennifer or Kimye. Surban refers to a suburban area that has the feel of an urban area, with walkability to great retail and restaurants from a house or apartment, and it’s what all the real estate trend predictors are talking about.What Is Surban?

Surban is defined as a suburban area that has the feel of urban; it is a blend of the best of urban and suburban life. Urban planners would previously have described these as “mixed-use” areas, but surban is a relatively new term that fits a bit better.

Characteristics of surban areas include:

  • Located in suburban, not urban areas
  • Anchored in areas with highly-rated schools and low crime rates
  • Dominated by a number of housing options, from single-family residences to condos to townhomes
  • Surrounded by great retail and shopping areas in walkable distance
  • Highlighted with social venues such as restaurants, bars and entertainment

There is much being written about the current trend of surban living. The Urban Land Instituteestimates that these areas will draw at least 80 percent of the coming wave of households and will attract the most families in the next 10 years. Noted real estate consultants John Burns and Chris Porter recently authored a book, “Big Shifts Ahead,” and devoted an entire chapter to the surban way of life.

The Suburban and Urban Past
From 1950-1980, the real estate profession witnessed the trend of suburbia. Homeowners were moving out of the inner city and relocating in suburban areas. They were willing to sacrifice some incredible commute times to cities and suffer other inconveniences to experience an upscale lifestyle. This was because crime rates in urban areas were high and school performances were low.

The 1990s and 2000s brought with it an age of urbanization centered around the renewal of inner cities, development of mixed-use properties in urban areas, increased attention to mass transit, and a renewed focus on downtown condos. However, the economic downturn of the last decade left little job growth in the urban areas. In addition, crime rates are still relatively high, and school rankings and commitments to education remain low.

Paving the Way for Surban Areas
In order to truly understand what is meant by a surban area, let’s examine some specific examples. Think grown-up college campus. A walkable place to dine, work, live and play. Strip mall retail. Less emphasis on giant suburban malls. Let’s start with one of the original town centers.

In 1964, an internationally known planned community known as Reston, Va., was founded. When Reston founder Robert E. Simon, Jr., bought the Northern Virginia farmland 20 miles outside of Washington, D.C., he had the vision of developing a community that would embrace walkability, density, access to green space and a diversity of races and income levels.

In 1990, Reston Town Center opened. This iconic town center is described by CityLab as “a dense cluster of offices, restaurants and shops, centered on a wide-open plaza with a fountain…a community gathering spot.” Nearly 24 years later, the Silver Line Metro station opened in Reston, which ultimately perfected the interconnectedness of the community and city center by decreasing the need for cars.

When Reston Town Center was nearing completion in 1990, Kenneth P. Wong, senior development manager for the project, told the Washington Post: “The idea of a downtown in the suburbs was something that no one really had a grip on; it’s a very complicated proposition that needed a long [research and development] gestation period.”

The Surban Future
Today, suburban downtown areas are popping up throughout the country. Though Reston wasn’t the only place developing the blueprint for “surban” developments, it is often referred to as one of the most successful influencers.

Here are some of the other notable surban developments:

  • Downtown Naperville, Ill., in the suburbs of Chicago
  • Old Town Pasadena, Calif., in the suburbs of Los Angeles
  • A-Town in Anaheim, Calif., in a neighborhood around the Angels Major League Baseball park
  • Legacy Town Center in Plano, Texas, in the suburbs of Dallas
  • Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on a former rundown mall site
  • City Centre in Houston, Texas, on a former rundown mall site
  • Downtown Tempe, Ariz., in the suburbs of Phoenix
  • Larkspur, Calif., north of San Francisco, with new housing sandwiched between a top-notch high school and a rejuvenated old downtown
  • Geneva, Ill., in the suburbs of Chicago

These types of livable areas are projected to have a profound impact on many areas of real estate in the next several years.

Experts predict that surban developments will replace shopping centers. More retail stores will become places that sell experiences rather than goods, and more development will combine housing and retail to satisfy consumer demand for sites that offer convenient car-free shopping. Suburban office demand will also return. As Gen X and millennials move into more senior management roles and start families, many will move from urban cores to the suburbs to live in areas with good schools, but which are also near employment hubs and entertainment and recreational amenities. They will be willing to share space and work remotely.

What the Surban Trend Means for Housing
The focus is on rental properties, as rates are expected to surge over the long term. The de-emphasis on ownership will be reflected in soaring demand for rental units.

Well over half of the 12.5 million net new households created over the next decade will rent, including those who have never owned, and those making the switch from owning to renting as they age. Some experts believe homeownership will decline, with the national rate anticipated to be 60.8 percent by 2025—the lowest point since the 1950s.

As more people join the already large number of retirees, competition for workers will push up wages, contributing to a favorable environment for rent increases.

There may also be broader choices in housing options. For the most part, housing areas have historically been categorized based on single-family residences, townhomes, condominiums or multi-family buildings. The development and advancement of surban living have already begun blending housing options in a selected area. It will not be uncommon to find townhomes and condos mixed in with single-family residences. Ownership and rentals will exist in closer proximity to widen the retail base of the homes and provide an array of options for millennials.