The Rhode Island Home Show, presented by the Rhode Island Builders Association, is an annual pre-spring event that offers homeowners, builders, contractors, designers and many others the opportunity to gain ideas for home improvement, construction, design and decorating.
For the first time in the 65-year history of the show, organizers decided to involve students in constructing displays. At the beginning of the school year, the Rhode Island Builders Association offered students at the Providence Career and Technical Academy (PCTA) the opportunity to design and build an interior design home showcase that will be used to display Cabot House furniture, among other interior and exterior products.
The school didn’t hesitate at the exciting learning opportunity. Since early fall, approximately 20 junior and senior construction technology (carpentry) students at PCTA were selected to build the home. They have been working steadily since on the design and construction of an eight-room showcase home, along with students from the Electrical and Graphic Arts departments.
“A part of our mission is to help develop the next generation of builders, so working with schools that teach the trade is what we do,” said John Marcantonio, executive director of the Rhode Island Builders Association. “We reached out to PCTA because we knew they had the capability and, with the show being in Providence, we thought the local kids would take pride in working on a project that will be on display in their city.”
Students are working under the direction of teachers Patrick Bowen and Ronald Carreiro.
Carreiro has had a unique career in movies and has 28 set designs to his credit, having worked with major stars in movies filmed in New England, New York and mainly California. He is guiding students in the same techniques used in constructing movie sets to build the showcase home.
The exterior walls and interior spaces of the full-scale 32’x48’ home are being built using slats rather than full walls to offer lighter and easier moving. Changes in the wall design can also be made quickly and more easily. “This method, used in moviemaking, has direct applications in home building,” said Carreiro.
On January 21, representatives from the Rhode Island Builders Association, Cabot House and the Rhode Island Lumber and Building Materials Dealers visited PCTA to see how the construction was progressing. They found a classroom laboratory of sorts with students sanding, constructing slats and windows under the careful direction of their teachers.
“The kids are doing an amazing job and the direction provided by the two teachers has been extraordinary! All is going to schedule and they are getting a great experience,” said Marcantonio.
The panels will be assembled at the Convention Center just before the Home Show by PCTA students and volunteers from the Rhode Island Builders Association.
The showcase home will be stored and reused for future home show displays. PCTA students will have the opportunity to revise it by making additions or changes for next year. This year’s Home Show will be held at the Rhode Island Convention Center from March 5-8.