Filoli: part 1

The greatest surprise of my trip to California was my visit to breath-taking Filoli. While renowned for its' appearances on screen (most notably the movie 'Heaven can wait' and the Dynasty series) and gardens, I was most taken with the house itself.Filoli was built as a country estate 25 miles south of San Francisco between 1915 and 1917 for William Bowers Bourn II and his wife Agnes Moody. Designed by Willis Polk in a Neo-Georgian style, the house normally fades discretely into the background for most guests, shown up by its' spectacular gardens.However, in a lot of ways, this is the perfect house in my mind: Elegant with a nice rational flow, generously sized rooms which are not too large, open to the beautiful outdoors and most important of all, comfortable to be in. It's a large mansion that feels like a home. The house doesn't bowl you over with showiness but rather impresses you with intelligence and simplicity.You can see the floorplan of the first floor HERE. I'll share some of the house and gardens in the next few posts as there is much to see. Trust me when I say the house deserves a visit in person and I'm only showing a tiny fraction of its charms!
We begin in the reception room, just inside the house from the small entry hall. Probably the most formal room in the house, special details such as this overdoor below would impress any guest who made the trek from the city. Only a few of the furnishings are original to the Bourns, such as the tapestry above the fireplace. Others were part of the Roths' collection (the 2nd and last private owners of the estate who gifted it in 1975 to the National Trust) but primariliy the furnishings you see were only put into place 10 years ago by a very generous collector, Melvin Martin; Previously the house was shown nearly bare.
2 barrel vaulted hallways move off of the central reception room which are wide enough to be partially furnished. The tall ceilings throughout the house help to naturally cool the space, as do the 4 feet thick exterior walls.
The most disappointing part of the visit is that guests are not allowed to see the upstairs! Wouldn't you love to walk up this staircase? I couldn't get enough.
More interiors later this week, but I thought I would share the back which opens up to the italianate gardens. The house forms a U in plan with the entry centered on the heavily planted courtyard.
If I were to build my dream house, it would be very similar to Filoli, albeit on a less grand scale! I love the elegant Georgian simplicity and rational with a touch of California breeziness. Look for more interiors here soon!

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