As I was reading many blogging friends’ pieces the past week or two, I was continually reminded of one of my favorite homes that seemed to encompass many of the themes I was encountering. Hopelands, a charming French country style home in Rhode Island has been a favorite ever since I originally saw photos of it. Although it is a historic waterfront estate on one of Newport County’s most beautiful avenues, it is understated in both style and size, especially in comparison to some of its more illustrious Newport neighbors. As you can see above, a cobblestone, linden tree – lined drive leads to the white washed brick house. At under 5,000 square feet, it isn’t small but certainly isn’t grandiose, which is of course one of the many aspects I appreciate.
The great room, with its large limestone mantel is topped with a nine foot long engraving Rome in 1765 – which I was reminded of when someone was discussing decorating for a client with an interest in ancient Rome – please excuse the fact that I can’t remember who that was!! And the hearth reminded me of something out of Wuthering Heights, a recent At the Movie pick.
The house was built in 1930 and remained in the same family for decades. In the 1970’s, vineyards were planted on the estate to help defray the costs of keeping up the house and to ensure the land would remain open. Today, the grapes are harvested and produced under the Newport Vineyards label.
There is always talk of books and bookcases in our corner of the blogosphere and I love the one here nestled in the wall as well as the beams salvaged from the renovation of South Station in Boston. Also, someone was recently talking about white slipcovered furniture – don’t you love the flounced skirt here? And I adore the unusual arm on the sofa as well.
Here’s another view of the great room with another book case. We all know how incorporating antiques warms up a space. This spectacular secretary does that and also anchors this room! And we are all always talking about how personal accoutrements really give a house soul – you can really feel how everything here has been lovingly accumulated over time – note the charming children’s silhouettes in the bookcase.
The dining end of the room has another smaller fireplace with a delightful portrait the owner’s uncle – yes, art is important. Little Augury has been extolling the virtues of lavender which becomes a soft neutral here and in the gardens. Not to mention the talk about the repurposing of vessels for floral arrangements.
The master bedroom is oozing with timeless charm. Would you prefer a house like this or one which embraces more modern trends – a topic Rebecca over at Acanthus and Acorn just addressed. Of course it doesn’t have to be so black and white, but this is the gist of the discussion. Love of blue has been expressed frequently but most recently by The Buzz, Pretty Pink Tulips and Sanity Fair among others. My bedrooms, like this one, have almost always been blue. I find it such a restful color that “plays well with others”. I also have delft tiles on my fireplace and a four poster.
I adore this shot! It speaks volumes about the owner of the house. How charming are the four portraits of family brides on the left – all wearing the same wedding dress! My desk growing up also had a glass top where I would tuck my favorite photos underneath. And the ivory dressing table collection reminds me of both the Thinking Outside of the Box exhibit at the Met that I covered as well as the post about collections that the girls over at Design Chic ran the other day.
The gardens are examples of gracious elegance. Groomed yet not overly formal, they exude the same understated refinement as the interiors.
The colors are still stunning in September.
The beautiful wysteria and painted blue shutters embue the house with its rural bucolic essence. And don’t miss the glazed ceramic cat perched atop the dormer peak.
It’s a combination of so many features that lends Hopelands its timeless elegance. Does that mean this is my ideal design? No, of course not but there is something so authentic and personal about this house that earns it a special place in my annals. As the owner said, “Hopelands is a house from another era that has lent itself beautifully to the kind of companionable social activity of our day and age.” A fine testament to a house through the ages.