As a true Texan would say, “I love that the welcome mat is always out and friends feel free to drop over anytime. I can come home and not know who might be there.” In the spirit of our old seaport town, Edgehill is what I like to refer to as a “family and friends” house. Generous rooms are large enough for entertaining a gathering and yet still retain a sense of intimacy and coziness, while providing a gracious flow that is a Newport hallmark.
Right in keeping with the intent of the notable star-chitects of this era (1887) who created the property–McKim, Mead and White for the house and Frederick Law Olmsted for the landscape plans. This rambling stone and shingle house is considered one of the best of the McKim firm’s shingled houses of that era. There is also a specific architectural feature at Edgehill that I find particularly inviting because it adds a subtle sense of being embraced…curved rooms on the interiors that echo the prominent conical towers and roofs on either ends of the structure.
Starting with the entry hall (decorated with birthday balloons).
The living room with views out across the pastoral property with its meadows and rolling hills picturesquely designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
The stone-walled breakfast room and sweeping curve of a banquette that can seat many…
and the dining room, with its tomato soup walls…and we’re still on the first floor.
Perfectly placed windows, and lots of them, look out upon majestic trees, Newport’s harbor, elegant neighboring homes, and beguiling vistas.
A favorite spot, the Rock Porch, directly across the entry hall from the front door, is a perfect example of the casual ease mixed with understated chic of Edgehill. Even the stone walls add to this impression. And do note that this room, plus the four shown above, each have their own fireplace!
At the heart of the house is an exceptionally wide stairwell, centered by a dramatic set of windows that let an appreciable amount of light flow in. Completing the picture, draperies and marine artwork give this space the sense of a room rather than a way to ascend to the second and third floors (note the small seat nestled into the woodwork).
It is not too unusual in our town for a scion to take over a family house; in this case, the serious years-long renovation had been started first by her father and the “refreshing” and curating of family heirlooms became her contribution. She takes great pride in the meticulous work that was carried out, from the original laundry room in the basement (restored, and kept with all its vintage charm and checkerboard floor).
to the tiptop of the attic corners. Which now, with their original wood, have become a sitting/ play room for guests, complete with a fridge. The results that family and friends enjoy today succeeded so handsomely because of the collaborative spirit of the family and their interior designers J. Randall Powers and Christopher Alexander of Houston.
A sense of heritage continues in the current resident’s love of antiques and inherited treasures, giving that welcome impression of the rooms having evolved through the years. As she loves to note “I keep adding pieces from Houston every time I come up.”
This includes lamps throughout the house from her grandparent’s homes, decorated by Los Angeles decorator, Wm. Haines (a beloved source for the Old Hollywood crowd). No shades of gray, mid-century modern style here–this owner is very comfortable in her taste, not beholden to trends. And a big fan of color viewed through a refined lens that is both timeless and refreshing. Red takes the lead, a wonderful complement to the original paneled walls.
with blues and yellows not far behind; patterns happily mix with stripes and florals.
Edgehill comes by its name naturally…sited at the crest of a hill from which it seems to organically emerge. It is now enjoying its star turn with the loving efforts of the daughter and her husband whose own young daughter will have many years to enjoy this rambling stone and shingle masterpiece, reflecting the tradition of continuity in this age- old town.