House Lust: A Storybook Cottage Tucked Back on Bellevue

The Newport abode was converted from an old carriage house.

Dr. Alex Atwell refers to his magical little stone cottage as “an enigma,” and it’s easy to see why. Maison La Tache is a mystery amid the Gilded Age mansions along Bellevue Avenue in Newport — a place that feels more at home in France’s wine region or the Irish countryside, not the summer playground of railroad barons, financiers and socialites.

Perhaps it’s because its origins are more provincial in nature.

“Before us, an architect from Boston converted it into a habitation for homo sapiens rather than horses,” says Dr. Atwell of the former carriage house. Along with his wife, June, Dr. Atwell purchased the cottage — a stand-alone condominium — in 1999 as a vacation retreat from their home base in New Hampshire.

Now, the eighty-four-year-old retired surgeon has put the cottage on the market with Hogan Associates — a bittersweet move motivated by his age and travel-related restrictions related to the pandemic. Over the years, he says he’s appreciated the duality of  the place, which affords privacy amongst the trees and proximity to the area’s best attractions.

“You’re on Bellevue but you don’t hear the hubbub of Bellevue,” he says. “You could walk everywhere. My wife loved walking to Cliff Walk and downtown and back to the beach.”

From the peace of their patio, the Atwells could enjoy the beauty of Maison La Tache’s facade of variable granite and limestone. Over the years, the couple added plantings and watched the ivy grow. Dr. Atwell says he leaned an old wagon wheel against the ivy but it eventually disintegrated — unlike the cottage itself, which continues to stand the test of time.

Here’s your House Lust:

For more information on 453 Bellevue Avenue, #CH, Newport, contact Hogan Associates’ Lynn Creighton at 401-345-6886 or visit