Home Tour: Newport

Making a Gilded Age home family-friendly is at the heart of a first-floor redesign


One of the most prolific architects of the Gilded Age, George Champlin Mason Sr. is responsible for a good number of Newport’s legendary jaw-dropping homes, which offer a snapshot of not just the Ocean State’s architectural history, but American history. Some of his best known properties include the Eisenhower House at Fort Adams State Park, the home that eight decades after its construction in 1873 would be used as the summer White House of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Chepstow, built in 1860 and today, one of the famed Newport Mansions. These, and the majority of Mason’s designs, embrace the Italianate or Italian villa style for which the architect is best known.

The Beeches, however, was built to be the summertime escape of New York City-based sugar merchant Moses Lazarus and his prolific family, including daughter Emma who penned the sonnet, “The New Colossus,” inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Considered contemporary when it was constructed (circa 1870), the manse is a Second Empire French or mansard, a Victorian style defined by a square roof with four sloping sides; dormer windows allow light and air to the top floor.

Similarly, today’s residents of The Beeches make the home – which boasts 9,000 square-feet of living space – a seasonal retreat; a gathering place for the multi-generational family who split their time between Palm Beach, Providence, and the City by the Sea. The owners turned to Ally Maloney Winzer of Maloney Interiors in Newport to fashion the six-bedroom, seven-bath home in their taste and style while also maintaining its architectural integrity, keeping its intricate moldings, paneling, trim, and other details front and center. “From the onset of the project, I knew that it was important to keep those elements intact,” says Maloney Winzer. “While we painted much of the woodwork in order to brighten the interior, we did not demolish or replace any of those original details.”

While Maloney Winzer concedes a tony Bellevue Avenue address suggests an intrinsically formal aesthetic, she was also determined to make The Beeches approachable – and practical. Though fine textiles dress the windows and were used on some of the upholstery pieces, the designer ensured the selected furnishings were comfortable and family friendly.

“I wanted the home to feel summery, fresh, bright, light, and airy,” she says. But light and airy doesn’t translate to boring: a zebra-print carpet runs the entire length of the stairwell. In the living room, a nearly wall-to-wall cheetah-print rug lends a chic and edgy pop to the space, punctuated by vibrant local artwork, textured wall coverings, and accessories. The upholstered furniture was done in shades of cream, beige, and light blue with color introduced via a selection of fine art pieces that were placed in the living room and study. “Newport has such a rich history – art, architecture, and maritime history,” says Maloney Winzer. “It’s a fun, laid-back place to live. I love to create beautiful spaces that inspire my clients.”


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Local Accents

Maloney Winzer, whose interior design shop is located at 78 Thames Street, Newport, cites the following among her favorite small businesses: Gingy’s Boutique, Newport Sweet Shop, Newport Wine Cellar & Gourmet, and Sheldon Fine Art – where she sourced many pieces for this project.


Beyond Blue

“I love coastal style, but I also love to create unique spaces so that my client’s home stands out from the rest,” says Maloney Winzer, who adds that nautical style doesn’t have to mean blue and white.


Summer Vibes

Used primarily as a summer home, Maloney Winzer wanted to infuse a fresh, light, and airy tone. “I was also working with a home with historical significance, so it was very important to me that the design embrace and respect the existing architectural details,” she notes.



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