Holiday House Tour | Holidays at Filoli
Welcome to Filoli. I'm Kara Newport, Filoli's CEO, and I am pleased to share a tour of the beautiful historic House resplendently decorated for Holidays at Filoli Filoli was built by Agnes and William Bowers Bourn from 1915 to 1917 as their country estate The Bourns loved to entertain and always decorated for the holidays After they passed away in 1936 Filoli was purchased by Lurline and Bill Roth who carried on the tradition of lavish decor and big holiday parties Mrs. Roth donated Filoli to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1976 and since then we have been open to the public and Filoli continues to create magical holiday experiences for our guests Join us for a tour of Holidays at Filoli! Filoli’s historic house was designed by architect Willis Polk in a modified Georgian style As you approach the entrance to the house you enter the beautiful portico This first impression is our opportunity to give visitors a hint at the magnificent formal gardens at Filoli and we always adorn the portico with plants and flowers For Holidays at Filoli we have chosen a succulent theme for the portico and foyer Here you can see an arrangement of succulent plants we are displaying in cache pots from the Bourn era Bold foliage Farfugium plants, cyclamen and ferns surround the historic urns As you enter the house through the foyer, you are greeted by our succulent tree and beautiful wreaths featuring succulents and tillandsia Flanking the evergreen tree are succulent topiaries created in our greenhouses All around the tree and topiaries are a mix of succulent containers from the nursery After guests enter the house, sometimes after a long journey, they can freshen up in either the Ladies’ or the Gentlemen's Cloakroom Here in the Ladies’ Cloakroom during Holidays at Filoli we are featuring holiday decor with creams and greens I love how the decor highlights the two ginger jars that you see in this room These jars are a wonderful example of palace sized porcelain that would have been found in early 20th century China and feature beautiful foliage and phoenixes in their colorful glazing Both families who lived at Filoli brought many plants into the house from their greenhouses and filled the house with cut flower displays with flowers from the gardens Once guests have had a chance to freshen up, they might be led through the transverse hallway and past the grand staircase on their way to the Ballroom The hallway runs the whole length of the house and mirrors the long transverse line in the formal gardens leading eventually all the way to the High Place, the most southern area of the gardens On display in this amazing Boulle cabinet is Mrs.Roth's Chinese Zodiac set from the 18th century each figure has the head of an animal represented in the zodiac in richly glazed blue robes The grand staircase is adorned with blue and white porcelain, inspired by Filoli’s own collection of Delft porcelain The colors are a beautiful compliment to the marble and woodwork in this space and especially to this amazing hanging tapestry, a 17th century French textile that depicts a classic scene of a battle from the conquest of Alexander the Great as he conquered the Persian empire, an event from the 4th century BCE The grand staircase might remind you of a few programs that were filmed at Filoli including the television show Dynasty and the movie The Game starring Michael Douglas! Welcome to Filoli’s spectacular ballroom, all dressed up for a party during the holidays Agnes Bourn was a great supporter of the performing arts in San Francisco She and Mr. Bourn were founding members of the SF Opera and the symphony The paintings on the walls are of Muckross in Ireland and were created by artist Ernest Peixotto The holiday trees and decor are all inspired by the gold trim throughout the room and the colors in the murals This glittering fireplace is inspired by a similar one at Versailles Here we have the gentlemen’s lounge the room where the men of the house and their guests would retire after dinner to drink whiskey, smoke cigars and indulge in games of chance For the holiday decor we've gone with the masculine theme of the room in shades of brown to go with the beautiful dark smoked oak floors and the brand new billiards table Mr. Bourn in particular was an avid card player and many high-stakes games were played in this room Here in Filoli’s study, we are telling the story of the Roth family during the holidays The tree in this room is decorated with Lurline Roth’s vintage ornaments, and we are also displaying her Murano glass nativity pieces This is the room where the Roth family would gather casually to watch TV together or play bridge Mr. Roth would make himself a drink in the wet bar they had installed here
On the television we are showing a commercial for the Matson cruise line from the sixties and a vintage Coca Cola ad from the holiday season For the library, Julie DeVere chose to highlight this beautiful shade of teal blue I hadn’t noticed before how much of this color there is in this room You see it in the historic drapes, in the art on display and even in the carpet The swags throughout the room and vintage style ornaments give this studious room a wonderful holiday warmth the blue tones of the holiday decor contrast well against the dark black American Walnut used in the wall panelling and flooring of the library did you know that this room was designed as an almost exact replica of a historic library located in England at a home called Denim Place? This is one of my favorite rooms in the House as it features some of our best artwork including two charcoal portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Bourn by John Singer Sargent The Reception Room was the centerpiece of entertainment for both families at Filoli and always has to be a showstopper when we are planning our holiday decor This year I took inspiration from the French Aubusson Garden Tapestry hanging on the south wall and we went with mixed metals, greens and browns for the big tree This 15-foot tree is a favorite photo spot for our visitors You can see we’ve set the stage for a grand party with champagne and caviar and you can hear the excited sounds of little children opening presents. I am so excited to share the newly renovated Drawing Room with you We just recently returned the wall coverings to their original buttery yellow and you can see how beautifully they compliment the colored mezzotints on the walls and the historic silk drapes We wanted to highlight their warm glow so I chose bright shiny gold decorations with crystal accents tying the French chandeliers as well In contrast to the gentlemen’s lounge, this room is very feminine which is fitting since this is where Agnes Bourn would entertain her lady friends In fact, Mrs. Bourn had a standing open invitation to her friends to drop in for afternoon tea any day of the week so we’ve set up a traditional cream tea here with a light meal of finger sandwiches and a selection of desserts to follow I’m so pleased to share the dining room at Filoli with you, all dressed up for a fancy holiday dinner The colors of blue and grey with burnt orange compliment the tapestry hang on the north wall And look at this impressive display of delicious treats from the Filoli fakery! Julie and her team have become masters at recreating food for display, making us feel like we’ve just walked into one of the Bourn’s parties You can see cream and gold trimmed French Limoges china on the table topped with Venetian glass gold rimmed plates and glassware We had a great time choosing the finest china and crystal from Filoli’s collection to display here Here in the Butler’s Pantry, just off the dining room, was the operational heart of the home where the butler was in charge and made sure everything ran smoothly with the staff, residents and guests The Butler’s Pantry also contains a walk-in safe for the silver and lots of cupboards for storing the many different sets of china the families kept for entertaining You can see tea sandwiches and desserts getting their final touches on the island This is also the communication hub where the families who lived here could use a call system to summon someone from the staff if they needed anything Like the Butler’s Pantry, the kitchen at Filoli was a constant hub of activity where the chef, cook and their helpers were working all hours to prepare meals for the families, their guests and the large staff who worked here We are displaying a story from the war years in the kitchen when ration cards and victory gardens were the norm, even in wealthy houses like Filoli Rations led to the trends of the period where cooks relied on staples like gelatin, and you can see we have some examples on display During the holidays you could smell cookies baking and the Roth children were in and out hoping Chef Kee Low would sneak them a treat Most of the staff who worked at Filoli were immigrants who had left their countries of origin to try their luck in America During the holidays they would need to get an early start on wrapping presents and writing cards to send back home to loved ones overseas Here we have recreated the butler’s bedroom, simply furnished for efficiency but with it’s own holiday flair As the head of the staff, the butler would have his own room, larger than others, and with some space to spend time working and meeting individually with members of his staff From this room the butler could also keep an eye out the window for any visitors approaching the house always at the ready to greet them and help his employers entertain As we near the end of our tour, we are exiting the house by going through the gentlemen’s cloakroom he mirror opposite of the ladies cloakroom where you started your tour After a party, guests would come this way to retrieve their coats and hats, and to get ready for their journey home Our holiday decor in this room has a nautical theme, a nod to the Roth family, who were owners of the Matson Shipping Lines Here you can see ship paintings and a model ship on display, and we’ve used shades of blue in the tree decorations I hope you enjoyed your tour of Filoli’s historic house all dressed up for the holidays Thank you so much for joining us and on behalf of all the staff here at Filoli we wish you a warm and wonderful winter season Happy Holidays!