History Lesson

At Home [Interiors]

Islands are treasures in themselves. But Jamestown has a lion’s share of remarkable architecture, too, that in light of ever-encroaching development, residents are wisely stepping up efforts to conserve. Charles L. Bevins’s work is a perfect example. “Bevins was Jamestown’s finest shingle-style architect,” says Campbell-King. Often overshadowed by his more flamboyant Newport contemporaries McKim, Meade and White, Bevins designed several other buildings on Jamestown as well. Surprisingly well-suited for today’s relaxed lifestyle, Campbell-King’s residence was commissioned by Rear Admiral Logan, a member of the Union Navy under President Abraham Lincoln, as a wedding present for his daughter in 1888. Light-filled and airy, the comfortable rooms welcome a steady stream of family and friends year round.

Bedtime Story
William Morris wallpaper complements Bevins’s charming asymmetric fireplace surround in the guest suite. The dragon andirons on the mantel are also attributed to Bevins. The painting is by Campbell-King. The brass bed is a family piece.

Campbell-King’s entry packs a wealth of details. According to the architect, “the small paned windows are typical shingle-style and Bevins. The Dutch door is a summer house signature. You leave the top open for breezes.” Campbell-King moved in an Asian table (the antique box on top holds a cache of favorite photos for easy viewing) and mirror as a subtle nod to the woodwork’s Japanese influence. Long stemmed dried allium pods,“reminiscent of fireworks,” says Campbell-King, enhance a tag-sale vase. 

Food Network
Rather than a glitzy galley that would have upstaged the rest of the house, at the heart is a kitchen in which Bevins would feel at ease. A crisp white palette, pale Carrera marble counters and a decoratively painted pine floor, painted by Campbell-King to mimic the marble, are the backbone of a hub that’s welcoming and efficient. Beadboard is a touch of the antique; quality stainless appliances look to the future. And thanks to a bounty of straightforward cabinetry (note the classic bin pulls), clutter is a non-issue. The existing windows, installed by previous owners, might have been a personality drain. Instead, the architect cleverly added shelves. The result? An instant mood change and more storage. A simple drop-leaf style table serves for everyday meals and intimate dinners with guests, while the curvaceous ceiling fixture is, Campbell-King says, “a bit of whimsy that gets the light where it needs to go.”

High Drama
Campbell-King’s art talent is evident everywhere from her luminous paintings (the large composition to the right of the porch door above is “Zeek’s Creek”) to the zany floor cloth in the entry hall. The era-appropriate cloth, she explains, was done with latex house paint in colors inspired by the crewel curtains in the sitting area and more formal dining area (above). The woodwork was originally dark stained wood, but all of it, even the sunbursts, paneling and mantels were doused with a coat of green paint. Campbell-King opted for Benjamin Moore Dove White throughout to bring Bevins’s flourishes back to life. “A calm palette, paired with lots of texture for interest, seemed the right solution,” says the architect. The round table, which also stands in as a station for an ever-growing collection of books, is really a humble, metal-legged caterer’s table. A glass top and floor-length cloth successfully elevate its persona. The handsome chairs, once seats in the Senate, were purchased at a Washington, D.C., auction by Campbell-King’s mother and reworked with cane seats. To the opposite side of the wide entry are the stairs framed by a picturesque lattice-like railing (right). “Bevins and the shingle-style love to have dramatically lit stair halls,” Campbell-King tells us. “This was just a small cottage, but it still got the larger-than-usual stair treatment.”

Outward Bound
Campbell-King swapped lackluster double-hung windows for tilt-out models and installed skylights to brighten the sun-porch (left). New shingle-clad walls link the space to the home’s exterior. Adjacent to the living room, the porch extends living space, while affording water views. Easygoing wicker furnishings with traditional striped cushions keep the mood summery no matter what the weather.

Garden Party
Once an undefined meadow rolling to the street, Campbell-King’s property is now, tons of fill and hours of toil later, a well-orchestrated, tiered garden. The architect maintained an existing privet hedge, but rerouted the entry path (right), a combination of bluestone and old brick found buried on the grounds, to be more accessible from the parking area. According to Campbell-King, power-washing and sealant assure the shingles remain a warm brown hue rather than weathering to grey in the salt air. “The entry deck and detail are all original,” she says. “The overhang swoops out to protect visitors from the rain.” The gate is a copy of one designed by Thomas Jefferson, one of Campbell-King’s favorite American architects, for Monticello. To maximize the appealing setting, she also added an angled deck protected by a wisteria-draped pergola and roll-away awning. The catchy wrought iron clock face, from Karen Vaughan in Newport, is a reminder that time goes by, Campbell-King says. A gardener at heart, the owner has a burgeoning plant list that includes a robust Nepeta border, plenty of perennials, David Austin roses, shrubs and trees.