An Inside Look at Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Hillwood Estate


In a previous post I featured the spectacular collection of fashions from the current Marjorie Merriweather Post costume exhibit.  I viewed the collection earlier this summer when I visited her Hillwood Estate in Washington, D.C.

And I’ve finally gotten around to editing the photos I took of the mansion interior and grounds.  While touring Hillwood it was easy to imagine Marjorie’s many stunning gowns worn against the background of the opulent 18th Century French Decor. Since she often held lavish dinner parties, luncheons and garden teas she certainly  had plenty of opportunities to wear her dresses,  often changing outfits several times a day!

I’ve included three separate slideshows, the first showing her personal living space, the second is of other interior rooms in the mansion. Both also include photos of additional clothing that was on display inside. The third shows views of the magnificent gardens.

Marjorie Merriweather Post negligee-1925
Negligee and robe of silk satin, organza, crepe and lace-1925
Marjorie Merriweather Post bedroom at Hillwood Mansion
Marjorie Merriweather Post bedroom-fireplace
Hillwood Mansion-Marjorie Merriweather Post bedroom screen
Hillwood Mansion-Marjorie Merriweather Post bed
Marjorie Merriweather Post evening gown circa 1903-1905
Gown Marjorie wore when she was a young woman.  Silk crepe and chiffon, circa 1903-05 from Jay's Limited in London.
Marjorie's personal dressing room at Hillwood.
HIllood estate-Marjorie Merriweather Post closet
Love the silver floral wallpaper in this closet!
Hillwood estate closet
Oldric Royce dress display in Marjorie Merriweather Post closet
Oldric Royce dresses on display in another of Marjorie Merriweather Post's closets.  One on left from 1960, right from 1957.
Special hangers in Marjorie Merriweather Post's closet
This closet was used just for the clothes Marjorie would need for the week. Her personal maid would bring the outfits down from a third floor storage room.  The wooden crochet covered hangers were specially designed for different styles of garment.
Portrait of Marjorie and her daughter Nedenia
Portrait by Giulio de Blaas of Marjorie Post with her daughter Nedenia. Painted in 1929 when she was married to. E.F. Hutton.  Note Marjorie's gorgeous Cartier pendant/brooch of emerald and diamonds.   Daughter Nedenia eventually became the actress known as Dina Merrill!
Hillwood bathroom
Marjorie's pink bathroom!
Chandelier in Hillwood entry hall
As you enter the mansion you see this amazing chandelier hanging in Hillwood's entry hall.
Entry hall-Hillwood mansion
Beautiful flower arrangements on side table in entry hall.
Fireplace in dining room at Hillwood Estate
A view of the marble fireplace in the dining room, flanked by two lapis lazuli and gilt bronze candelabra. From St. Petersburg, Russia. Marjorie had am impressive collection of Russian art,much of it on display at Hillwood.
Marjorie had memorable dinner parties in this dining room. Guests often included movie stars, generals, ambassadors, and other dignitaries. This dining table was built in 1927 by famous craftsmen in Florence Italy and was designed to seat up to 30 people!  It originally resided in her Palm Beach estate, Mar El Lago, but was willed by Marjorie to be moved to Hillwood after her death.
Dining room at Hillwood Estate
Here you can see a close up of one of the beautiful fresh flower arrangements.
Marjorie Merriweather post gown, 1912
Gown from 1912
Marjorie Merriweather Post gown-1912
Another of Marjorie's gowns from 1912
Hillwood entertainment room
The Pavilion is where Marjorie entertained her guests with first run movies (projector was up in balcony) and even square dancing! She would clear the furniture out of the room for a night of dancing. And to preserve the exquisite wood parquet floors she had special rubber tips to put on all the womens' shoes. The room's decor and art is mostly of Russian origin.
Hillwood estate Pavilion
Oldric Royce dresses 1960
Pleated organza, lace and taffeta dresses by Oldric Royce, 1960. One of Marjorie's favorite designers, he also designed for First Ladies Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower.
Hillwood guest bedrooom
Guest bedroom with Chippendale furniture.
Hillwood guest bedroom
Neoclassical style bedroom.
Gervais dress-1930
Marjorie's tropical print dress from Gervais, New York. 1930. Displayed in one of the mansion's libraries.
Sea Cloud ensign shoes 1930
Marjorie owned the largest sailing yacht in the world, the Sea Cloud. These wool needlepoint, satin and leather shoes are decorated with the ship's ensign. 1930.
Hillwood butler's pantry
This massive butler's pantry was a great staging area for staff when Marjorie entertained.  Love the green steel cabinets.
Hillwood kitchen
Nine burner stove ensured the three chefs could cook meals for hundreds of guests if necessary.
Hillwood kitchen
Marjorie's famous parties would not have happened were it not for her staff of 35, including three cooks, who worked in Hillwood's roomy and fabulous mid century style kitchen. The pale yellow and gray color combination goes beautifully with the stainless steel counters.
Courtyard of Hillwood Estate as seen from Marjorie Merriweather Post bedroom
Courtyard of Hillwood Estate as seen from Marjorie Merriweather Post's bedroom
Hillwood Estate courtyard
Hillwood Estate courtyard
Statue and fountain in courtyard of Hillwood Estate
Statue and fountain in courtyard of Hillwood Estate
View of cutting garden at Hillwood Estate
There is a massive cutting garden on the estate. Marjorie had it planted so there could be fresh  flower arrangements in all the rooms and for all occasions. The tradition continues to this day, so if you visit you will see gorgeous floral bouquets throughout the mansion.
Path through the cutting garden at Hillwood Estate
A path through the cutting garden.  There is also a sizeable hothouse for orchids and bromeliads opposite the cutting garden.
Cutting garden at Hillwood Estate
Hillwood cutting garden and orchid house
Because my photos didn't do the cutting garden justice, I've included one courtesy of Hillwood Museum found on Flickr.  It shows a great view of the orchid greenhouse and a serene sitting area within the garden so you have a better idea of how spectacular it is!
Hillwood garden pergola
View from beneath a shady vine covered pergola
Hillwood garden pergola
Hillwood Japanese garden
My favorite outdoor space was the Japanese style garden designed by Shogo Myaida, a well known mid century landscape architect.
Hillwood Japanese garden
Hillwood Japanese style garden
Japanese inspired garden at Hillwood Estate
Hillwood Japanese inspired garden
Japanese style garden at Hillwood Estate

Hope you enjoy my little photo tour of this grand historic mansion.

By | 2015-09-06T16:16:52-04:00 September 6th, 2015|Fashion, Memorable people|4 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.


  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell October 4, 2015 at 10:50 am

    How exciting that must have been for your mother to be involved with such beautiful, prestigious places and also be able to take you there to visit!

  2. Charles B. Nelson, Jr. October 4, 2015 at 9:40 am

    I visited this lovely home years ago with my mother, Ruth Ellen Berry Johnson. Mother was on the symphony women’s committee and frequently was hostess for the show homes.

  3. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell September 21, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Yes, Jessica. It is truly breathtaking! While touring this opulent home and magnificent grounds, I couldn’t help but imagine what it must have been like back in its heyday. All the grand parties with guests in all their finery must have been quite the spectacle!

  4. Jessica Cangiano September 19, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Consider my breath thoroughly stolen!!! Swoon, swoon, and swoon again. What a grand, elegant, utterly gorgeous home and property.

    ♥ Jessica

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