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 BuzzPretty 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.

29 thoughts on “Hopelands

  1. I love this house. It’s simplicity and quiet beauty are what call to me the most. But being an antiques dealer, it is the secretary-bookcase that cinches the deal.
    Thanks for a great post.

  2. What a fitting name for a home that exudes happiness and peace–two key ingredients in hope. I really enjoyed your breaking things down with comparisons and links to common themes in the design blogsphere–thank you!

  3. It’s an absolutely charming house. I love the beams above the book cases, and the fabrics in the master bedroom. Thanks for the introduction!

  4. Seriously. This would be my dream home. If I were to sit down with a designer, these images would be my main demonstration. My eye went straight to the masculine feel of the decorating but with floral touches throughout. The heavy dark antiques and the beamed ceiling would be a must. The rough tiled flooring is so casual and homey. My eye went straight to the adorable grandfather clock. This might get me to start one of those “Pinkerest” boards I hear bloggers talking about. Thank you Quintessence! (I know you have a real name but I just love typing and saying Quintessence!)

  5. Aww…thanks for the mention on “blue”!

    What I love about this home is the authenticity, which is something I strive for. For someone to walk into my home and “know” me a little better, then my decor has done it’s job.

    Also..the photos of the wedding dress (worn by 4 women) spoke to me. I wore my mother’s weddng dress, as did my sister-in-law. It’s Neiman Marcus circa 1962…and my mother has photos of all of us in the dress gracing her stairwell.

    Happy Tuesday! E

  6. a fitting name for this beautiful home. I love the engraving over the fireplace, the little bunny on the dressing table, that the beams are from South Street Station and the layering of cherished possessions that, as you aptly say, “give the house soul”. Thanks – have a good day!

  7. Oh it’s wonderful, so glad you shared it. I wonder if it is smaller, more homey and comfortable than the other properties there has something to do with it being built during the depression, very different time.
    I could be quite comfortable there, quite indeed. The grounds alone make me drool. Don’t know which I prefer. I enjoy so many styles. The only thing I’m not comfortable with are lots of bright bold colors, I like calm and serene rooms – relaxing.

  8. beautiful home, and the bookcases are stunning…it’s exactly what I want…and as far as ideal homes go, I love so many types but I’m not sure I will ever find the “ideal” home either..

  9. q-
    This home is amazing! The fireplace is huge! So cozy and beautiful. Love the collectables on the vanity, and the secretary. Just all perfect and full of history.
    Have a great day.

  10. You had me at the first photo! What a lovely home. I would love to wander through the gardens on a warm summer evening with a good glass of white in hand…. what a nice dream for a winter’s morning! XO

  11. Quintessence, you had me at “engraving of Rome in 1765!” Interesting to see the uncle in a dress. We have photographs of my grandfather in a dress – I understand it made wash day so much easier!

  12. I love French country style (but you probably know that about me, right?) This place looks stunning and I would love to spend a weekend there. My favourite part must be the fire place and the lovely outdoor garden. You always make me so happy with your posts, darling
    Happy Tuesday

  13. It is lovely, I can see why it’s one of your special favorites. It has so many wonderful personal touches. Love the gardens especially!

    xo Mary Jo

  14. I love this house! For some reason it made me think of the house in the book “Howard’s End.” Maybe this one is bigger than the one in the book was supposed to be, but it has the intimacy and character of the house I always pictured when I read the book. I love the bedroom, the book shelves, and the fireplace with the Delft tiles. How lovely! Charming and comfortable looking, totally livable. A house we can relate to.

  15. I can understand why this is one of your favorites…so stately and elegant but like you said not too big which makes it feel cozy too. Love the warmth of the woods and all the fabrics/textures. Newport has some amazingly gorgeous homes. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and pictures. How I miss that house! It was built by my great grandparents, and I spent my summers there growing up. My grandmother has forever imbued in me an appreciation for the cultivation of a simple, elegant and loving household, and she and I continue to share our joy in creating spaces that make others feel at home. Sadly, I believe the current owner of hopelands is in the process of tearing it down, and the vineyards have all been pulled up. But my grandmother could put the same life and spirit that Hopelands exuded into a cardboard box if she wanted to! It follows here wherever she goes.

    • Of course – always interested in feedback – you may either email me directly or leave a comment here. Thank you!

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