Clever as a Fox

A skillful mix of colorful art and heirlooms fill a Bristol historic home with whimsy and nostalgia


Ever wonder what it’s like to live in one of those beautiful Bristol homes lining the famed parade route? According to Ali Fox, it’s pretty wonderful. Since 2005, Ali, husband Greg, and their two children (and two dogs) have enjoyed life in the Samuel Smith/Mary P. Paine house. The property is part of the walkable downtown Historic District and close to everything from shops to the waterfront.

“We love living in downtown and being able to walk everywhere. It’s great to be able to shop, go out to eat, stop at the library or post office - all without ever
getting in the car,” explains Fox. “When the kids were in elementary school, we were able to walk to school every morning, which was a great treat. We love walking to Aidan’s for a meal with friends, having date night at Roberto’s, popping down to the Beehive Cafe, or sending one of the kids down to pick up breakfast at Bristol Bagels... There are so many great options! We are very spoiled!”

The oldest part of the house, a center-chimney Colonial, was built in 1745, with the main house constructed around 1810, followed by the “new addition” in the mid- to late-1800s. Since taking ownership, the Foxes have worked with Mike Viveiros from Mike’s Building and Remodeling in Bristol on various projects, always in keeping with the aesthetic of the property and using existing space in inventive ways. Thoughtful renovations have included creating a Murphy-style pull-down desk in the bedroom, fashioning a music closet within the home office, and adding a gas fireplace to the family room.

Interiors throughout the home generally begin with neutral paint colors that provide a backdrop for a myriad of artwork by family members and local artists. Fox is a fan of Benjamin Moore paint, which she always purchases from nearby Mt. Hope Paint and Decorating. “I admit the names of the paint colors play a huge part in why we pick them. I love the irony of picking ‘Quiet Moments’ as the paint color for our busy back hall entry and mudroom,” she says.

When decorating, Fox tends to gravitate toward unique pieces that she describes as happy with an interesting story, noting, “the bulk of our furniture has been passed on to us by family members and I have always loved the challenge of incorporating all these different styles and honoring these pieces in a way that is cozy and comfortable.”


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