Privately set along the banks of the Eel River’s South fork, and surrounded by towering redwood trees, lies a secret and historic homestead of distinction.
Commissioned by San Francisco hotel magnate, Margaret Stewart in 1926, ‘starchitect’ Julia Morgan, best known for her work on Hearst Castle in San Simeon, was charged with the design of this Benbow, California masterpiece. Ms. Morgan, along with mentor and friend Bernard Maybeck, pioneered the Northern California Arts and Crafts aesthetic, of which ‘Redwood Grove’, is a prime example. In fact, Julia Morgan’s original design plans are available for viewing on site.
The current owners have demonstrated meticulous care and stewardship, in the rehabilitation of this architectural jewel… true to the original design, yet, harmoniously meshed with an eye towards a contemporary 21st century lifestyle.
‘Redwood Grove’ rests on more than two and a half acres, hidden behind the classic Benbow Inn…which, incidentally, provides a convenient 4 star dining option and plush lodging for overflow guests. Cross a quaint stone bridge and immediately thereafter, on one’s left hand side, appears an unassuming private gate. Enter the slate driveway’s courtyard and be transported to the very best of a bygone era.
This main house boasts nearly six thousand, five hundred square feet of living space, and offers three full bedrooms, all en suite. On this ground level, you’ll find a commercial grade custom kitchen, that is designed in keeping with the home’s arts and craft roots…there’s a family room, a guest bedroom suite, and a marvelous light infused sun room…ideal for quiet library time by the fireplace, a snifter of your favorite cognac…or perhaps both.
The heart-stirring centerpiece, is the manor’s great room…it is where high tea is served…a room that has hosted many a visiting dignitary, movie star, politico, as well as most of William Randolph Hearst’s family at one time or another. Flanking the imposing 10 foot Tudor window are original carved panel doors that open in, while the adjacent French doors lead outoors. Says the current owners, “the house was built in partnership with nature…maximizing sight lines across the gracious landscape, the river valley, and the mountains beyond.”
Make your way upstairs where you’ll find a warm and inviting sitting area, an indispensable home office complete with high speed fiber optic cable, and another en suite guest bedroom. Head up one additional flight of stairs, and prepare to be amazed by the sumptuous master bedroom suite, dominated by a floor to ceiling etched window that looks directly upon the neighboring Eel River.
Surrounding the estate are expansive verdant grounds, perfectly suited for hosting large scale outdoor events…celebrations, weddings, charity fundraisers and the like. There are a number of meandering paths to stroll, access to the river below, a vegetable garden and a delightful orchard to boot.
In addition to the main living quarters are two bonus auxiliary buildings…a quite comfortable, fully contained 1 bedroom apartment situated above the carriage house, and a nearly 2,000 sq foot single level and smartly appointed guest house that features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, and easy indoor /outdoor flow to the abundant landscape.
Redwood Grove…Julia Morgan’s ‘magnum opus’ of the Arts and Crafts Movement. From arched Gothic ceilings and old-growth- redwood trusses that are decorated with hand carved rosettes, to stuccoed walls, and spectacular Tudor-styled windows, this rare gem is a living museum of its architectural style.