THIS IS NEWPORT?
Elle Decor US|Summer 2024
Amid the Gilded Age mansions of this historic Rhode Island enclave, a modernist gem with interiors by Poonam Khanna charts a stunning new path.
Nancy Hass
THIS IS NEWPORT?

In an era of homogeneous highways and interchangeable subdivisions, there remain a few American locales whose mere names conjure an entire world and aesthetic. Places like Nantucket, New Orleans, and Charleston have clung to a unique identity, enshrining vernacular style in residences and downtowns in hopes of warding off the encroachment of sameness.

One domain with a style and backstory surely worth preserving is Newport, the coastal Rhode Island summer community that in the late 19th century became the cradle of what Mark Twain termed (derisively) the Gilded Age. Most of the marquee American industrialist families the Astors, the Vanderbilts, the Dukes-built neoclassical and Renaissance Revival mansions here, on a scale known nowhere else in America.

A surprisingly large number of the houses still stand, clustered around the deep-water harbor that attracts yachts and regattas. Some have remained as family homes or become trophies for newcomers like Oracle founder Larry Ellison. No matter whose name is on the deed, though, one thing you do not associate with Newport is modern architecture.

Which is why in the spring of 2020, when the ELLE DECOR A-List architect and designer Poonam Khanna, founder of the New York City-based firm Unionworks, received a call from Charlotte Wagner, a Boston art collector and philanthropist, she was intrigued.

This story is from the Summer 2024 edition of Elle Decor US.

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This story is from the Summer 2024 edition of Elle Decor US.

Start your 7-day Magzter GOLD free trial to access thousands of curated premium stories, and 9,000+ magazines and newspapers.

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