This Ordinary House Has an Outrageous Interior

Feb 5, 2016 3 comments

This ordinary looking middle-class house in Newport, Oregon, with creamy white siding, yellowed brick, and a two-car garage blends perfectly with the neighborhood. But once you step inside, it’s like visiting a Renaissance palace.

The grand red living room has gilded beams on the ceiling and milled oak floors finished with a special Jacobean brown stain. A formal dining room connects to the other side of the dark green foyer, and a dark, wood-clad kitchen sits in the back, hidden from the rest of the home. The doors are thick and hand-carved. Windows are covered with stained-glass purchased from old English churches.


“It’s like living inside a Rembrandt painting,” says the owner Almine Barton, the Right and Honorable Dowager Countess of Shannon, who bought it in 1979.

Born in South Africa to a member of the South African Parliament, Barton came to Oregon after her father died because she wanted to be close to her brother who was a physical therapist at a hospital in Oregon. She fell in love with the “safe little town” of Newport, describing it as “an absolute gem” to raise children.

When she bought it, the house was an ordinary suburban home. “The owner built it with just basic materials in a very, very sturdy way. But when I went in and saw the small little space, it just didn’t feel right to me,” Barton tells Yahoo Real Estate.

So she started renovating and somewhere along the way it went a bit overboard. But she left the outside as drab as possible so as not to attract the tax men. She kept her house a secret for nearly 35 years, but finally had to spill the beans now that she has put it on the market for $399,000.

Barton suffered a stroke two years ago and is now looking to downsize to a smaller home that’s a little more manageable.















via Oddity Central. Photos via Realtor


  1. Newport, Oregon is not a suburb. It's a small town, far from any urban area. Really amusing article, otherwise, though. : )

  2. Beautiful but I couldn't see myself living there. I'd be afraid I might break something.


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