sneak peek: winky lewis & alex millspaugh

This 1800 house in Portland, Maine, is home to photographer Winky Lewis, her husband Alex, the couple’s three kids and their two dogs. Whew! Luckily, the home is positively huge, so even with such a big bunch, there’s still plenty of room for everyone. The house was designed by famed Portland architect John Calvin Stevins and is filled with those wonderful old-house details like built-in cabinets and beautiful moldings. The couple has done a lot of under-the-hood work to bring the home into the 21st century in a energy-efficient way. But now that the house work is finished and the kids are all in school, Winky has had time to concentrate on her photography; her first photo show since college opened this past Saturday at Zero Station in Portland! Congratulations, Winky! And thanks, Winky & Alex!Amy A.

Image above: This is a portrait of Alex’s grandfather. The trunk is from my grandmother. The dinosaur model is my son Harry’s. He put it together on our dining room table two Christmases ago, and it hasn’t made it very far since.

Image above: We love our dining room, though we admit that with the craziness of everyday life, we don’t use it enough. It looks back on our small backyard and gets quite a bit of light. The table is from Environment Furniture and is indestructible! The chairs are just from our local unfinished furniture store and painted Benjamin Moore Vermillion Red. I love this room, as it is always clean and waiting for us. The walls are painted with Benjamin Moore Iron Gate.

CLICK HERE for more of Winky & Alex’s Portland home!

Image above: We renovated our kitchen a few years ago (with the help of Phil Kaplan, as the kitchen had been moved into what was originally the dining room to accommodate an apartment years ago). We put the kitchen back in its original location, on the street side of our house, which is great for keeping an eye on the kids outside, and we now have the dining room back where it should be. This corner of the kitchen is somewhat of an office space for all of us. The top of the desk is covered with photos under glass. I love it when it isn’t all covered up!

Image above: We’ve always struggled with how to set up the living room. I don’t know that we’re settled on the current set up, but it works for now. It is a wonderful, large room that is full of light and very kid-friendly, and the dogs like it, too. When we first moved in and were in awe of the space we had, we let our kids ride tricycles around inside. We soon realized that was a mistake, as they were too destructive. But some fun was had in here on trikes banging into molding, etc.

Image above: This wall of our dining room has no windows, perhaps because the architect who designed it lived next door on the dining room side of our house!  We didn’t know what to do with this wall, and finally we came up with photo wall.  Not sure I’d ever do it again, as it was so difficult to hang.  I had originally thought of it as a rotating display of family photos, but these are staying put as long as we’re here.

Image above: We renovated our kitchen a few years ago. It is simple and full of kids’ art these days. The counters are Pietra Cardoza, an Italian granite, which has weathered all of us pretty well these last few years. The floating shelves are walnut.

Image above: We’ve preserved the old pantry, which is wonderful to have. Lots of storage, and a great sink to fill with ice and drinks when we entertain.

Image above: Kitchen shelves have filled up with all sorts of creative odds and ends from my kids.

Image above: Kitchen wall with a photograph of my son. The wall is painted with Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint; the color is Bull’s Eye Red. The island is also topped with walnut.

Image above: A photograph of bear ( — love them) taken on 10th street in NYC, near our old apartment. He came from a shelter way up on the east side. The cutest puppy ever is now our beloved old man. The photo hangs above my son’s mantel. The walls in his room are school-bus yellow (Benjamin Moore Guild Millennium), and you almost need sunglasses in there.

Image above: A bench in our living room. An Erin Flett squirrel pillow in the foreground.

Image above: Our dining room mantel piece with rocks (that we shouldn’t have taken from the beach!).

Image above: The front door of our house. It is actually on the side of our house, so one has to climb up stairs from the street. It is a wonderful, grand old house; I think we’re committed to it for some time to come. A few owners before us chose the color (a Cabot orange stain; it is some sort of a custom mix with no name!), and it is a keeper. We’ve painted it once since we’ve been here.

  1. Biscuit says:

    I am absolutely in love with every.single room in that house! Winky has such amazing style!

    Squirrel and hamster pillows, long wood tables, pictures on the walls and desks, it’s all just PERFECT!

  2. Where did that great dinosaur model come from? I’ve looked for it online and haven’t seen anything that looks that good! The whole house is great – especially all the great pillows!

  3. Love this house! I look at every single sneak peek and this one is in my top fave 3. <3 it.

  4. Selina says:

    This home is beautiful!! So tastefully decorated. Why can’t I find more time in my life to do the same to mine! Great work- it is truly lovely and timeless. Also- I noticed you guys are in Portland Maine- where one of our tx:style Design Challenge Finalists lives. Check out his carpet design called “Coastal Rocks”. It was inspired by the shore in Maine :).

  5. Nora says:

    all of it is just beautiful!! i love the photo collage/table top.

  6. Awesome home! I love the photo desk!

  7. Lovely home. The kitchen is my fav ;)

  8. pat says:

    where in portland is this? looks like east end/munjoy hill

  9. I love so many things! Original pantry, picture of Bear AND the use of photography in general. Well done!

  10. Julie says:

    Winky shot our wedding photos, and they still bring tears to my eyes. She is a gifted photographer. And now I’m totally jealous of her house!

  11. what a beautiful home!

  12. jodi says:

    what a fabulous space. i love every inch of it.

  13. isabelesque says:

    Eeeee! WHERE is the hamster pillow from? The same designer as the squirrel? Can’t find it on the website…

  14. Priscilla says:

    Hi! What is the dining room table called? I’m trying to find it on the Environment Furniture website…

  15. forget about the hamster and the squirrel, that wolf pillow is where its at! Where’d he come from?

  16. kristin watson says:

    such a gorgeous and serene yet lively home – thank you for sharing your aesthetic!…..i would so love to know where that completely superb hamster (or guinea pig?) pillow could be found – i am in love!…..

  17. Beth says:

    I second the request for the guinea pig or hamster pillow source! A ginger Abyssinian piggie named Cinnamon was my first pet in Second Grade. Thank you!

  18. Thank You everyone for loving the hamster pillow. I created that pillow for pillowpillowpillow and you can find other cute animals there.

  19. I love the gray paint in the dining room and all of the fun animal pillows!

  20. Jesse Lu says:

    I love the red windsor chairs… just lovely.

  21. Meggie says:

    The Environment dining table is the Santomer.

  22. Ooooh, Oooh! Shout out to my native state! The houses in Portland really do have gorgeous architectural features – even the ones that have been divided and re-divided into apartments still retain some (perhaps shabby) historical details.

    My last place there still had a tin, tray ceiling and (no longer functional) fireplace.

    These two seem to have done a wonderful job keeping the house’s character, and it makes my now-Floridian heart glow.

    Also, to Beth: I had two guinea pigs as a kid – Matilda and Graham Cracker:) GC could fly, I was sure of it!

  23. I like the red on the chairs and the exterior.

  24. We love the mix of old and new heirlooms. This feels like a house filled with love.

  25. Brenda Watts says:

    Wonderfully lived in home, it speaks volumes about the family who ‘lives’ there..I am pumped about the red chairs…just bought 5 old ones & had decided to paint them red to add color to my kichen….the BM vermillion rocks…

  26. katy says:

    Amazing. I love that you kept the pantry – we have one in our house and I have sort of a love/hate relationship with it, mainly based on my inability to keep it tidy.

  27. Megan Gery says:

    I love the quirky combination of bright and lived-in with the historical nature of the house. Gorgeous!

  28. Catherine says:

    Sun drenched, play dates and THAT DOG! Gasp! Love love love…

  29. Jo Chopra says:

    Beautiful! What an expansive, generous sense of style. I love the shelves by the kitchen sink and the tiny little items on the dining table.

    I am amused by design*sponge’s awe of having three children and two dogs, however . . . that’s nothing, guys! You should come to my very small house in India where the joint family rules: we currently have three children, two grannies, a young couple with their two children AND the two of us. Winky, want to trade houses just for a few weeks???

  30. mosey says:

    Really beautiful. I fell in love with the photo of Bear. He looks exactly like my parent’s lovely dog then and now!

  31. ana says:

    Such a nice place!. I LOVE the dogy pic on the top of the fireplace

  32. Megan says:

    I love, love, love the gray paint color. What’s it called?

  33. karen says:

    What a very sunny and happy home. I especially love that table!

  34. Sonia says:

    I love this house! Such a warm and bright space which tells the story of a loving family. It has given me inspiration for our new townhouse. Can’t wait to start decorating!

  35. mimi says:

    My place looks a bunch like this except I don’t have any upholstered things. So why do I feel I need to compete with all those caatlogue ready houses? Viva la difference! My mom would hate my place…sigh. Maybe if I had a baby…:)

  36. Molly Cooper says:

    Ah! I’m so inspired! My husband and I just moved to Florida, and I’m still in the creative brainstorming stage of decorating my house. This article came at a perfect time— I love your use of color, fabrics, knick-knacks, and especially the use of family photos all over the house. Such a lovely home you have!

  37. Brittany says:

    I’m really digging that pendant light above the sink!

  38. madln easley says:

    Portland is a great town as is your home. I love how you’ve displayed family photos-very clean and uncluttered. where did you source the pendant light in dining room?Love those chairs!

  39. I love your rocks that you took from the beach! I have quite a few myself and then some. I am sure that nobody will miss them but I understand your point.

  40. Amanda says:

    I love the use of the floating walnut shelving. Where can I find similar ones?

  41. winky lewis says:

    the grey paint in the dining room is BM iron gate. wish i could remember where the pendant above our kitchen sink came from, sorry.

    and it might actually be illegal to take rocks from the beach? at least in national parks? its not a good idea. but they’re so hard to resist.

    thanks for all the kind comments.

  42. This home looks so authentic in every corner and I just want to thank you for bringing all the homes of your friends to us. And thanks to them for being prepared to share their personal and intimate spaces with us.

  43. Centelleo says:

    I really love the solid wood walnut floating shelves in the kitchen. Were they custom made?

  44. winky lewis says:

    yes, these shelves were custom made. did get some great floating (red) shelves at ikea for my son’s room. love them.

  45. Lisa says:

    Great house! I especially like the picture display in the dining room. How are those photos framed/mounted?

  46. Aly says:

    I’ve been trying to print out square photos like the ones you have in your dining room to fit some square frames I have! Where did you get those printed?

  47. winky lewis says:

    aly, printed them myself, and then just got inexpensive frames at the art supply store.


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