For Alix and Nick, moving into their home in the quaint seaside village of Jamestown four years ago was a “dream come true.” Nick had admired the Edwardian house ever since he was a young boy, when his family spent summers in the picturesque island community. Every time he passed this classic New England cedar-shingled cottage, located on the main road into town, he would think, “Man, I would love to have a house like that someday.”
Coming from a house in Newport with a tiny yard and not even enough room for a high chair in the kitchen — they used a stand-up backpack on the floor — this family of four appreciates having room to stretch out, with a house situated on just under an acre. Two third-floor guest bedrooms, added when they turned the attic into living space, even make it possible for both of their mothers to visit at the same time. Spacious rooms give them enough wall space to display their vast collection of art, almost all of which was created by family and friends. Nick's father John and brother Christopher are both well-respected artists, Alix's brother-in-law Robert Rust is also an artist, and they are close friends with extraordinarily talented artists like Sue McNally and Luke Randall.
Although Alix, a professional intuitive and blogger, and Nick, a third-generation stone carver, calligrapher, and designer, love the architecture and history of old homes, they are “not afraid to mix it up.” Bright colors like Paradise Peach and Citrus Blast, modern artwork, Turkish rugs, and a contemporary kitchen with high-gloss red and turquoise cabinets mix effortlessly with antiques and Edwardian woodwork. A Madonna and child mosaic is displayed near a Buddha figurine, and an elaborate grandfather clock, a precious Flood family heirloom, shares space with pink dining room chairs upholstered with zebra fabric. The juxtapositions are unexpected and fun. “I love seeing antiques in modern spaces and contemporary furnishings in older spaces,” Alix explains. Designed without the limitations of rules or expectations, the Bensons’ home is a pure reflection of their joie-de-vivre.
“With Nick always loving this house, it made the whole process of moving here rather magical,” Alix explains. “We have always loved old shingle-style houses and dreamed of living near the water. With this house, we were able to achieve both dreams. Nick says Jamestown is ‘Shangri-Freakin’-La.’ It is!”
You can see more photos of Nick and Alix's colorful home on Apartment Therapy.
Photos and text by Jacqueline Marque.