A Cheery & Colorful Rhode Island Dream Home

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Alix Flood & Nick Benson, with kids Henry and Hope
Location: Jamestown, Rhode Island
Size: 2,355 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years; owned

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.”

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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 very close friends with extraordinarily talented artists like Sue McNally and Luke Randall.

Although Alix, a
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!”

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Personal, Colorful, Eclectic.

Cheerful Chic.

Favorite Element:
It’s a toss-up between fire and water, but air is good too. Seriously though, we love our new “Scandan-Asian” (term coined by Alix) style kitchen.

Biggest Challenge:

What Friends Say:
“Clearly, you’re not afraid of color.”

Biggest Embarrassment:
Our future master bathroom is currently impersonating a junk room.

Proudest DIY:
More like D.I.Hire. Nick can DIY all day long, but often doesn’t have time. Alix came to terms with her lack of craftiness some years ago.

Biggest Indulgence:
Art; but it’s also our biggest necessity.

Best Advice: Everything should serve a purpose, tell a story, or make you smile.

Dream Sources:
Marrakech, Paris, London, Istanbul, Bali., ABC Carpet and Home.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


  • All Benjamin Moore
  • Living Room, Dining Room, Stairway, and Upstairs Hallway: Paradise Peach
  • Fireplace: Milano Red
  • Kitchen: Seabrook
  • Mud Room and Downstairs Bathroom: Grape Green
  • Nick & Alix’s Bedroom: Citrus Blast
  • Henry’s Bedroom: Tangelo
  • Henry’s Bedroom: Tangelo
  • Hope’s Bedroom: Spring Leaf
  • Second Floor Bathroom: Fiesta Yellow
  • Third Floor Stairway and Hallway: French Lilac
  • Alix’s Office: French Lilac
  • Third Floor Guest Rooms: French Lilac
  • Guest Bathroom: Spring Meadow Green


  • Victorian hall stand: eBay
  • Painting on hall stand: Sue McNally
  • Runner: eBay
  • Dresser: Greenteadesign.com, Toronto, CA
  • Hand and head sculptures: John Benson, Nick’s Dad
  • Wooden puzzle beside it: From Nick’s family
  • Green glazed buddha beside stairs: Marshalls
  • Runner on stairs: eBay
  • Paintings in stairway: all by Nick and Alix’s brother-in-law, Robert Rust


  • Sofa: McKay’s Furniture, North Kingston, RI
  • Rug: Our first purchase for our first house from a now defunct rug store in Cranston, RI.
  • All Oriental rugs are 100% wool and hand knotted
  • Side tables: McKay’s Furniture
  • Lamps flanking sofa: Pier One
  • Zebra pillows: Pier One
  • Turquoise pillows: Pier One
  • Bookshelf: Handmade, a wedding present from fine woodworker friend, David Charboneau
  • Painting above bookshelf: by friend Luke Randall
  • Chairs: Crate & Barrel
  • Asian ceramic side table: HomeGoods
  • Upholstered bench: West Elm
  • Glass coffee table: McKay’s Furniture
  • Shell on coffee table: Souvenir for Alix from Nick’s work trip to Key West
  • Floor lamp: Marshalls
  • Green lamp: Marshalls
  • Tiger: Brought from India by Nick’s uncle, Tom Benson
  • Antique Map Chest: inherited from Nick’s grandmother, Ester Fisher Benson
  • Painting above tiger: by friend Sue McNally
  • Runner: eBay
  • Painting above mantle: Nick’s brother, Christopher Benson
  • Upholstered chair: Cynthia Rowley from Marshalls
  • Pillow on chair: Marshalls
  • Artwork on wall facing dining room: Christopher Benson
  • Black Metal Sculpture on Mantelpiece by Alix’s great aunt, Margaret Welsh


  • Table: Antique oak Empire dining table, eBay
  • Chairs: Melon + Zebra Queen Anne-style chairs from Karen Vaughan (now closed), Newport, RI Chippendale-style chairs from Alix’s Grandmother
  • Tablecloth: Marshalls
  • Placemats: Bed, Bath, & Beyond
  • Candlestick holders: from Rue de France (now closed) in Newport, RI, and Villeroy & Boch
  • Rugs: Large rug, Ikea,
  • Runner: eBay
  • Large Painting: Sue McNally
  • Piece of furniture with mirror: South Pacific import from now closed furniture store on Broadway in Newport, RI
  • Silver buddha: Asian Caravan, Newport, RI
  • Yellow Italian bowl: Marshalls
  • Painting in front of mirror: Self-portrait, Sue McNally
  • Madonna and child mosaic: Gift to Alix’s maternal grandfather, Raymond Gleeson, an architect who designed churches, from an Italian artist during a tour he took in Europe in the ’50s with his wife, Rosemary
  • Grandfather clock: A first anniversary gift from Alix’s maternal grandfather Ray to her grandmother, Rosemary, 1940


  • Cabinets: Ikea
  • Countertop: Ikea
  • Tiles: “Tao Beach” tiles, Glasstilestore.com
  • Stools: Amazon
  • Table and Chairs: Ikea


  • Paintings: Brancusi print from Nick’s father, who designed the lettering
  • Paintings: Christopher Benson
  • Runners: eBay
  • Flower Pillow: Crate & Barrel Two
  • Chair: University of Pennsylvania Chair from Alix’s grandfather


  • Shams: Garnett Hill
  • Lacoste comforter: Marshalls
  • Accent pillow: Pier One
  • Headboard: West Elm
  • Suitcase: Vintage Louis Vuitton Suitcase from Nick’s Uncle Tom
  • Bedside Shelving: Ikea
  • Ceramic Garden Stool “nightstands”: TJ Maxx
  • Reading Lamps: Ikea
  • Matching vintage high-boy and bureau placed side-by-side: eBay
  • Vintage Campaign chest: eBay
  • Vintage Gerstner Engineer’s Tool Box
  • Portrait above small dresser: Seneca Pierce by Durr Freedley, inherited from Nick’s grandmother
  • Assorted small paintings: Luke Randall, Christopher Benson, Sue McNally
  • Rug: Ikea
  • Lamps flanking television: Pier One
  • Landscape painting: Sue McNally


  • Bathtub: Came with the house, we painted the base blue
  • Honeycomb tiles: From Aquidneck Tile & Marble in Middletown, RI (sadly now out of business)
  • Vanity: Ikea


  • Bed: Ikea
  • Bedding: Garnett Hill + Pottery Barn Kids
  • Rugs: Ikea
  • Desk: Ikea
  • Desk chair: Ikea
  • Curtains: Ikea
  • Blue dresser: Childhood dresser for Alix’s father, Alix and now Henry
  • LOVE print: Bloomingdale’s Holiday Shopping Bag framed into Pop Art by Alix’s Mom, Ramona Flood
  • Round mirror: Ikea


  • Bead curtain: Pleasant Surprise, Newport, RI
  • Rugs: Ikea
  • Bed frame: West Elm
  • Bedding: PB Teen
  • Throw Pillows: Assorted, PB Teen, Ikea, Ugly Dolls
  • Dresser: Ikea
  • Round Mirror: Ikea
  • Wall Mounted Mirror Bird Display Sculpture by Lily Wright (Hope’s cousin)
  • Green glass lamp: Ikea
  • Dresser accessories: PB Teen
  • HOPE print: Bloomingdale’s Holiday Shopping Bag framed into Pop Art by Alix’s Mom
  • Shelving: Ikea
  • Wall sticker: Pleasant Surprise, Newport, RI


  • Beanbag: Large Faux “Furlicious” Bean Bag Chair, PB Teen
  • Pillow on beanbag: Marshalls
  • Shelving: Ikea
  • Desk: Ikea
  • Pillow under desk: Dog Bed, HomeGoods


  • Shower: Home Depot
  • Sink vanity: Ikea
  • Modern Seat: Marshalls
  • Shelving: Ikea
  • Towel Rack: Amazon


  • Bed with ornate headboard: Antique from Nick’s Dad
  • Sleigh bed: Alpert’s Furniture
  • Bedding: Kenar Home with Cynthia Rowley accent pillows, all from Marshalls
  • Shelving: Ikea
  • Dresser: Oak mission-style dresser purchased in moving-sale from their sister-in-law, Cybele Leverett
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Alix, Nick, Henry & Hope!

(Images: Jacqueline Marque)

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