Living with Style, The Newport Diary

Newport Traditions: the Sleeping Porch

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There is one house in Newport that has always held my fancy…and it is not just because we placed a bid on it before making the decision to build. Bellevue House, with its handsome Federal Revival gates and brick pillars, at the beginning of the residential mile of Bellevue Avenue…

deserves its stature in Newport — it is one of only two houses for which the celebrated aesthete and designer, Ogden Codman, was both architect and interior designer (the other is a townhouse in New York City).

Furthermore, it’s grounds have one of the most charming and architecturally significant garden follies in America…the Darby Teahouse, copied from the original by one of the earliest architects in New England, Samuel McIntire, in 1793.

But, today I am featuring Bellevue House for a very summer reason (and a follow-on to last week’s post, “Memories of Summer ’22”) — the large, sleeping porch on the second floor (featured image) overlooking the gardens…

and the ancient horse chestnut tree, the largest in the state.

While it might be readily ignored by those perambulating through the garden, the sleeping porch, in a home so grand — the three-story, apricot-hued entry rotunda reminds one of an English Country house with its Adamesque details…

speaks to a signature of Newport summer houses — an ease of living, with a focus on comfort, light and breezes flowing throughout. Just imagine all of the windows fully open in this octagonal porch!

The parties and festivities at Bellevue House are legendary, in true Newport style.

Photo Credit: Brower

As the owner loves to say, “Our favorite times are when there’s a houseful of people.” Which of course necessitates a room as practical and as serviceable (and a bit romantic) as a “sleeping porch.” I couldn’t resist including this spring scene (sadly missed by those summer guests).

Hope you’ve enjoyed another window (pun intended) on the Newport that I love and which provides so many “pinch me” moments.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

7 thoughts on “Newport Traditions: the Sleeping Porch

  1. Wonderful article, Bettie. The interior looks very similar to what was until recently the National Academy of Design at 1089 Fifth Avenue. Sadly, sold to now be a private home , the original interior appears to have been striped to the bones of the building.

  2. It IS “the best spot” to sleep on hot, muggy, summer nites. We slept on the porch…to breath…the upper bedrooms were SO HOT (heat rises & all that)…” night sounds” triggered all kinds of dreams!! franki

  3. Beautiful! I loved the sleeping porch growing up and had a sleeping porch in our 2nd home…..umm, I need one at this home.

  4. I loved this essay. I remember visiting this house with great fondness several years ago. I was so excited and startled when I saw my favorite folly in the garden. I have a picture that I have saved for decades from a now defunct magazine of the original one. I go back to “visit” my pictures often and this folly is still my favorite.

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