Mrs. Phoebe A. Hearst had her country house built around 1899. It was described in 1904 by Barr Ferree as being “splendidly furnished, and contain[ing] many fine works of art and many household treasures.” (Barr Ferree, American Estates and Gardens, Munn and Company, New York, 1904) The house is no longer standing, but the photographs provide a glimpse into the style of a circa 1900 California interior in a wealthy home.
The West End of the Music Room.
The East End of the Music Room.
The room above was called the music room. A piano and harp sat at the east end of the room in front of a stage.
Tapestries, framed paintings, statues, busts, chests, vases, screen, and bowls are just a few of the decorations in this visually busy room.
Four of the chairs shown have lovely flowered backs. Cushions are tossed on the floor. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and small wall lighting fixtures augmented the larger fixtures' light.
The library features Oriental rugs, A Duncan Phyfe chair (left foreground), a sofa, and a great many art objects. A sombrero hangs in the right background. Cushions are once more found on the floor.
Small light fixtures are hung at intervals along the wall. They could have been powered by gas or electricity.
Ironically, the only books that I see in the library are stacked on the massive table in the center of the room.
The photograph are from Barr Ferree, American Estates and Gardens, Munn and Company, New York, 1904; digital editing by Sarah E. Mitchell. The photograph of the West End of the Music Room was printed as a duotone; the other two photos were printed in black and white.
The owner of the home, Phoebe Hearst, lived from 1842 to 1919 and was a noted American philanthropist and active voice in the suffrage movement. Her fame and wealth is easily apparent by looking at the magnificence of the interior of her home in the above images.
A.C. Schweinfurth was the architect for the original sections of the building. Julia Morgan, an early American female architect, worked on later additions.
Text by Sarah E. Mitchell unless otherwise noted.
Copyright © 2003, 2014 Sarah E. Mitchell