Monday, May 16, 2011

Society, scandal and sentiment: Chateau Carolands

On the occasion of architect Allan Greenberg's presentation to the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art,  members and guests enjoyed a rare peek inside one of America's largest private homes which has, over its lifetime, strangely been the unexpected lightening rod for human frailties.

Carefully documented in a book and a film,  Carolands has been mired in cost overruns and foreclosure, implicated in a divorce and a murder, doomed and redeemed, scorned and beloved, and finally saved and respected.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 65,000 square-foot residence was originally built as a trophy home in 1915 in Hillsborough by train car heiress, Harriet Pullman Carolan.  It was later purchased by the Countess (and Marin County brick heiress) Lillian Remillard Dandini, and  later restored by current owners Dr. Ann and Charles Bartlett Johnson in 1988 with help by famed New York designer, Mario Buatta.

The porte-cochere from a distance...

...and just inside.

Up the twin staircase in the 75-foot high atrium.... the second floor gallery.   Behind the tapestry is the two-story living room.....

...where an overhead library mezzanine (not shown) wraps the room.

The salon prive.

The dining room with one of the chateau's four kitchens adjacent...

...and small oiseaux in a ceiling detail.

A gathering room purchased, in whole, from a Bordeaux chateau.

The solarium....

...with a view to the knot garden....

...and Restoration Hardware's Ed Hardy with friend, Mark Mayo.

Outside... ponds, fountains and sloping lawns.


  1. So strange to see "Restoration Hardware's Ed Hardy". I only think of him as the owner of such a magnificent showroom.