Filoli: California Landmark #907 – Part I

I spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon wandering the gardens and rooms of the Filoli estate. Construction of Filoli started in 1915. Its original owner, William Bourn came up with the name by combining the first 2 letters of each word of his credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.”  This 654 acre estate is now a California State Historic Landmark and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Upon arrival we stopped at the visitors center where we received our maps and paid admission. There was also a small theater room that gave us a brief history lesson. The Filoli cafe is also located there. Our plan was to visit the house first and begin our way down the Terrace and towards the pool and gardens.

Stepping into the house, you arrive at the Foyer.  Through the foyer is the Reception Room (top right). Continuing down the left hallway, you enter the Kitchen. In the corner of the kitchen, oddly enough is a safe. In the olden days families would keep fine china and silverware in these safes in case of burglary.

Next to the kitchen is the Dining Room which connects to the Drawing Room. No this room was not intended for drawing in. It is called the Drawing Room because this was a place for people to withdraw in after a meal. You could have tea, play chess, or sit on the 19th century couches and stare into space.

The Drawing Room leads you back into the Reception which is the center point of the house. As we continue towards the other end of the Eastern side, you come upon my favorite room: the Library.

Walking through the library, study room, and into the trophy room we arrive at the Ballroom. The paintings along the wall are of Muckross, Ireland. Mr. Bourn was left paralyzed in 1921 by his 2nd stroke. This left him unable to move his legs or even speak. Because he could no longer visit this place that was special to him, his wife had murals painted of Muckross Abbey and rolled up against the Ballroom wall in 1925.

I exited from the east side which led me into the terrace and the back of the house.

On to the garden … (part II to be continued)

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