McDonald Mansion

In 2006, ROBA began collaborating with historical design consultant Paul Duchscherer on restoration, rehabilitation and alterations to one of the most historically significant structures in Santa Rosa.

McDonald Mansion, Santa Rosa, California

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Mableton’s Latest Changes

The floor plan illustrates the extent of additions and alterations made to the McDonald Mansion in the latest remodel:

Main floor plan with latest remodel

Mableton’s Newest Plan: An Overview

1. Verandah

Both spatially and stylistically, Mableton’s verandah remains the most defining exterior feature of the house. Directly adjoining most of the public rooms, it provides a generous amount of covered outdoor living space and overlooks the grounds in three directions.

2. Entry Vestibule

Axially aligned with the main front entry stairs, this semi-enclosed area welcomes visitors at the front door and announces a processional sequence of public rooms within.

3. Main Hall

The most dramatic and spatially impressive of all Mableton’s rooms, the Main Hall’s design reflects the Stick/Eastlake style and detailing of the building’s exterior. Rising nearly two stories in height, its vertical proportions are in striking contrast to the predominantly horizontal lines seen outside. In the manner of a courtyard, with a skylight extending nearly its full length, it is the interior’s primary organizing element. When fully opened to the adjacent formal rooms, the Main Hall becomes the centerpiece of an expansive, interconnected sequence of public spaces.

4. Library

Conceived in the English tradition of grandly scaled private libraries, this book-lined room exploits its high ceiling with two levels. A cast iron spiral staircase ascends to a mezzanine-level “catwalk” and separate Map Room (situated directly above the Entry Vestibule).

5. Turkish Parlor

Recalling a Victorian era fashion for special-use areas such as “smoking rooms”, this whimsical space is designed to function as an informal reception room or private retreat. During the period, a homeowner’s status and sophistication were implied by a conspicuous display of souvenirs from worldly travels in an appropriately exotic setting.

6. Ladies’ Parlor

In homage to the period’s taste for gender-specific rooms, the décor of the Ladies’ Parlor reflects the popular historic association of lighter, French-inspired styles with “feminine” taste. The most intimately scaled of the public rooms, it also forges the closest relationship with outdoor living spaces.

6a. Hall/Powder Room/Closet

Extensions of the Ladies’ Parlor in décor, these centrally located conveniences also adjoin the Turkish Parlor.

6b. Service Pantry

Designed as a secondary outdoor entry vestibule, this space connects both the Ladies’ and Turkish Parlors to the Verandah. Conveniently located for family use and entertaining indoors and out, it also incorporates a compact kitchen facility.

7. Gentlemen’s Parlor

The most generously scaled of the four parlors adjoining the Main Hall, the Gentlemen’s Parlor was conceived as a complement to the Ladies’ Parlor directly opposite. Its décor reflects the historic style association of Gothic Revival with “masculine” taste.

8. Stair Hall

8a. Elevator

A cross-axial counterpoint to the Main Hall, the Stair Hall serves as both a buffer and a connective link between various interior and exterior spaces. The staircase and adjacent Elevator provide vertical circulation to three levels. The Stair Hall’s design shows an “Anglo-Japanese” variation on the “Stick/Eastlake” theme seen in the adjoining Main Hall, Dining Room, and in the building’s exterior.

9. Dining Room

On axis with the Main Hall, the Dining Room shares a similarly grand scale and “Stick/Eastlake” design aesthetic. Octagonal in plan, the room features a three-sided outside wall that parallels the Rear Terrace, and gestures towards the pool and landscape beyond.

9a. Butler’s Pantry

In the 19th century tradition, the Butler’s Pantry forms the service link between the Dining Room and Kitchen.

10. Breakfast Room

10a. Balcony

A transition between the home’s public and private areas, the Breakfast Room functions as the family’s informal dining room, and is the first of three intimately-scaled spaces that comprise the Kitchen wing. Its décor reflects a simplified interpretation of the “Stick / Eastlake” style. The adjoining Balcony is primarily intended for the display of potted plants.

11. Kitchen

Continuing the simplified “Stick / Eastlake” style of this wing, the Kitchen forms its centerpiece. Open to both the Breakfast Room and Family Room, the Kitchen adjoins the Dining Room through the Butler’s Pantry. Exterior doors open directly on to the Rear Terrace, with stairs leading to the pool and other outdoor living areas.

12. Family Room

Lit by windows on three sides, the Family Room terminates the Kitchen wing, and enjoys views over the pool area and surrounding garden.

13. Master Sitting Room

Adjoining the Stair Hall, this room creates another transition between public and private spaces, and comprises half of the Master Suite wing. In a distinct departure from the predominantly Victorian atmosphere seen elsewhere, the Master Sitting Room’s style reflects the (later) Edwardian era taste that is utilized throughout this wing.

13a. Master Bath

Expressing a fashionable European influence that coincided with the Edwardian era, the décor of the Master Bath is conceived with distinctive Art Nouveau design characteristics.

13b. Master Closet

14. Master Bedroom

At the end of the Master Suite wing, this private retreat allows for outlooks in three directions. Off a short hall adjoining the Master Closet, a pair of exterior doors open directly to the Rear Terrace, where stairs lead to various outdoor living spaces.

15. Rear Terrace

The Rear Terrace spans the length of the Dining Room, and repeats its angled form. At either end, where it adjoins the Master Suite and Kitchen wings, stairs connect the Rear Terrace to the pool and garden areas.

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