The Parents Association of St. Michael’s Country Day School announced recently that the 2020 Neighborhoods of Newport House Tour will take place on Sunday, April 26, and will provide exclusive entry into architecturally significant private homes and gardens in Newport.

This year’s House Tour highlights the Kay-Catherine area, a neighborhood of Newport that is known for its 19th century architecture, with featured homes on the tour including a well-preserved 1862 Gothic Revival with original details throughout; an 1865 Italianate designed by Newport’s noted house architect George Champlin Mason, Sr.; a 1916 brick Neo-Georgian by New York City society architects Cross & Cross; and a 1949 Mid-Century Modern house by Providence architect Ira Rakatansky, one of Newport’s only Modernist houses. This year’s event continues a legacy begun in 1995, the year that the first House Tour was held.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the House Tour and to offer visitors a chance to see beautiful, architecturally significant private houses,” says Tara Winston, Parents Association President in a statement. “Since the first House Tour, in 1995, we have provided entry into more than 90 private houses.”

The 2020 Neighborhoods of Newport House Tour is sponsored by BankNewport and organized by the Parents Association of St. Michael’s Country Day School as a fundraiser for the school. 

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The 2020 Neighborhoods of Newport House Tour will feature:

  • Daniel Swinburne House: This 1862 Gothic Revival is considered one of the best examples of the style; its charming façade includes such iconic elements as a steeply pitched roof, cross gables with decorative trim, Gothic upper-story windows, and a full width front porch. Original architectural elements throughout the interior include marble fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, crown molding, and wood floors, with newly added furnishings and wallcoverings adding vivid color and pattern to every room. 
  •  James B. Finch House: Designed in 1865 by Newport’s noted house architect, George Champlin Mason, Sr., this stunning Italianate house features octagonal bay windows and numerous original architectural elements including etched-glass interior doors, deep crown molding, and a stairway embellished with ornamental fretwork.
  • Ayrault House: This handsome brick Neo-Georgian house built in 1916 is the only Newport house designed by the New York City architectural firm Cross & Cross, known for numerous Manhattan buildings including Tiffany’s flagship headquarters on Fifth Avenue. The house includes such original architectural elements as a soaring double-height entry foyer highlighted by a winding stairway and glorious skylight. The front half of the house includes the original library, parlor, living room, and dining room while the back of the house—which once consisted of a warren of servants’ rooms—was transformed by the current owners into a light-filled open-plan kitchen and family room.
  • Mid-Century Modern House: One of Newport’s only Modernist houses, this 1949 structure was designed by Providence architect Ira Rakatansky as a two-level open-plan house with walls of glass providing stunning ocean views. A recent renovation added a third level while keeping the Modernist theme intact via such elements as the butterfly roofline and the interior’s floating oak stairways and custom railings. Period furnishings, fabrics, and lighting fixtures throughout the house, collected by the current owners, celebrate the Mid-Century Modern era.
  • Hillside-Grounds: A Gilded Age landscape still in cultivation today, Hillside is a 2.5-acre property known for its specimen trees, beautiful gardens, and springtime display of more than 150,000 daffodils; the estate dates from the 1880s. Old stone walkways, terraces, perennial gardens, roses, shrubs, fountains, and a lotus pond all grace the property. Structures on tour include an 1880s playhouse, an added Japanese-style garden structure, and a contemporary greenhouse with roof deck. Hillside is one of the private arboreta that make up the Newport Arboretum, New England’s first citywide arboretum.
  • Bellevue House-Gardens: The 3.5-acre property surrounding the 1910 Bellevue House is one of the most delightfully eccentric gardens in Newport, with numerous fountains, sculptures, follies, pools, and classical elements including a 1920s two-story teahouse; a recently added folly replica of an 18th century cupola; and a Japanese rock garden, pool, and moss garden. Bellevue House is one of the private arboreta that make up the Newport Arboretum, New England’s first citywide arboretum.
  • Chepstow: This 1860-61 Italianate villa was designed by architect George Champlin Mason Sr., and it is currently preserved precisely as it was when last used by a member of one of America’s most historically important families. The former home of Alletta Morris McBean, the house features significant furniture, paintings, and decorative arts collected by generations of the Morris family, whose roots in America go back to the mid-1600s. Chepstow is a property of the Preservation Society of Newport County, and is being opened exclusively in April for the one day of the Neighborhoods of Newport House Tour.

Tickets may be purchased online at newporthousetour.com. Individual tickets for the 2020 House Tour cost $50 if purchased on or before Thursday, April 23; after April 23, the individual ticket price is $60 each. There is a group discount price of $45 per ticket for 4 or more tickets; the group discount is available from now until tour day. 

All tickets will be held for pickup at St. Michael’s Country Day School; pickup times are Friday, April 24, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 25, Noon-5:00 p.m.; and Sunday, April 26, starting at 9:30 a.m. House addresses, parking instructions, and shuttle bus information will be provided at pickup.

Restrictions: No photos may be taken during the tour; no children under age 12; no pets; House Tour attendees will be asked to remove shoes before touring each house.

The Neighborhoods of Newport House Tour has featured more than 90 of Newport’s most impressive private homes since its inception in 1995. Proceeds benefit the students of St. Michael’s Country Day School, an independent, nondenominational, coeducational school for students in Preschool-Grade 8.

For more information, visit newporthousetour.com, or email newporthousetour@smcds.org. Call 401.849.5970, for recorded info.