After four years of restoration efforts, the Preston House and Hotel is expanding to include the B. Frank Howell House — a neighboring 117-year-old home that has long been vacant until now. Starting later this month, guests of the Preston House will be able to stay in one of five additional rooms inside the historic home.
Constructed in 1905, the house was originally created as a residence for B. Frank Howell, a former president of Suffolk County National bank and three-term Riverhead supervisor, and his wife, Ida Bennett. Since then, it has had a series of lives, serving as a home, doctor’s office and legal offices before a long vacancy. The house has since been restored by downtown Riverhead developers J. Petrocelli Development. Kelly Shauger, a Southold-based architect and principal of Eave + Arbor Architecture and Design, worked alongside owner Joe Petrocelli to lead the restoration effort.
“I’m thrilled to be involved with the renovation of Howell House but more importantly, honored to be a part of the team working to revive these historic houses back to vibrant elements of downtown Riverhead, as they once were,” said Kelly Shauger. “Our goal for the Howell House restoration was to preserve the building while renewing it as a useful and beautiful part of the community for many more years to come.”
Unlike the modern rooms of the Preston Hotel, guests of the Howell House can expect elements of Old World charm. A tribute to its early history, the home features art-deco inspired decor with bold patterns, jewel-toned walls and hand-picked vintage pieces. “It was important to my family to keep as much of its history as possible,” explained owner Jennifer Petrocelli. “By highlighting the original staircase, hardwood floors, hardware, windows and stonework, you can sense a piece of the early 1900’s as soon as you step into the building.”
PHOTOS BY VICTORIA CARUSO
Rooms can be rented individually or the Howell House can be rented as a whole, making it an ideal spot for large families, bridal parties, birthdays and other gatherings. The home features three king-size studio suites and an “attic” suite, which houses two bedrooms, a private living room, a kitchen and full bathroom.
On the first floor, guests can get cozy in a communal living room around an original fireplace that has been restored to its former glory. The first floor also features a full dining room — an art-deco inspired space where a dramatic chandelier hangs over a set of green velvet chairs and communal table that guests can use during their stay. Designed with bridal parties in mind, the downstairs space also includes a “parlor room” where guests can get ready for their big day. The space is equipped with a floor to ceiling mirror, two chaise lounges, large windows, good lighting and a shuffleboard table for guests waiting to get their hair and makeup done.
“This project was quite the undertaking, because it was such an old building,” said Jennifer Petrocelli. “I think we’re all happy to be done with this project, but it’s bittersweet because it was a lot of fun working together and a long time in the making.”
The next phase, Petrocelli explained, is to finish the Howell House’s cellar. “We’re going to restore the original stonework, the original flooring, and the original fireplace in the center of the cellar, and it will be used for private events.”
PHOTOS BY VICTORIA CARUSO
While reservations are not yet available online, those interested in booking the Howell House can call the Preston House and Hotel at 631-775-1500. The Preston House and Hotel is located at 428 E Main St. in Riverhead.