South County by Southwest

A young family brings energy and a New Mexico aesthetic to North Kingstown


Nearly six years ago, a young couple embarked on a house hunt that took them to various South County towns. Though they came across a few prospects, they weren’t able to find a home with the modern amenities and open floor plan they were looking for within their budget. They did find, however, a peaceful and private piece of land in Slocum Woods located in the southern end of North Kingstown. That’s when things took a new direction and the couple concluded that the expense it would take to renovate an existing home to their tastes far outweighed the cost to build.

“Building was always kind of on the bucket list, and we thought, ‘Why don’t we just build the house we want?’” recalls the homeowner. At the time, the couple already had their hands full with a one-year-old and another child on the way, but they didn’t let the sleepless nights typically endured by new parents stop them from realizing their dream.

The couple turned to Meridian Custom Homes based in Providence to turn their ideas into reality. “They came up with some designs and we tweaked them to make them personal and unique,” they explained. “We knew we’d never use a formal living room, so the kitchen is twice as big [as usual].” As the couple both have family from out of town, they opted to have a partially finished basement which includes a bedroom, bathroom, den, big screen television, and surround-sound so that guests feel welcome and comfortable.

Now with three children, the couple makes great use of the bonus room over the garage. One parent is a former teacher and has outfitted the space with cubbies filled with toys for the kids as well as teaching materials.

The couple bought a majority of their home components including fixtures and furnishings online. They ultimately found that having access to so many choices was both a blessing and a curse. “That was the most complicated – there are almost too many choices out there,” they say. They also acknowledge that as a young family, they know their needs are going to change greatly through the years, so the couple calls the home, which they describe as Modern New England style, a work-in-progress.

As the husband originally hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico, he admits there is a distinct influence when it comes to his taste in design and decor. He points to the earth tones inside the house that are reminiscent of a Southwest color palette, interior stonework, and outside, the extensive patio and outdoor kitchen space. “One of the biggest changes for me is that in New Mexico, it can snow or be in the 50s in January in the same day, but you’re outside year-round for the most part,” noting that even in winter, you may be grilling at the barbeque or find the family roasting marshmallows over the fire pit.

Another element from the Southwest are the palm trees — some potted and some planted that offer him a taste of home around the property. He says that with careful attention (including bringing the potted ones indoors in the winter), they often can survive the New England climate.

The homeowners say Slocum Woods is an idyllic location for them as they enjoy their privacy but can also be in Newport, Wakefield, and downtown East Greenwich in less than 15 minutes. “We’re close to everything,” they say. Though the home has everything they could ever want and more, this growing family is having fun adjusting to their changing needs. “Each year we have a project we want to do,” they say. “We’re still growing into it.”