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.
Negligee and robe of silk satin, organza, crepe and lace-1925
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.
Love the silver floral wallpaper in this closet!
Oldric Royce dresses on display in another of Marjorie Merriweather Post's closets. One on left from 1960, right from 1957.
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 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!
Marjorie's pink bathroom!
As you enter the mansion you see this amazing chandelier hanging in Hillwood's entry hall.
Beautiful flower arrangements on side table in entry hall.
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.
Here you can see a close up of one of the beautiful fresh flower arrangements.
Gown from 1912
Another of Marjorie's gowns from 1912
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.
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.
Guest bedroom with Chippendale furniture.
Neoclassical style bedroom.
Marjorie's tropical print dress from Gervais, New York. 1930. Displayed in one of the mansion's libraries.
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.
This massive butler's pantry was a great staging area for staff when Marjorie entertained. Love the green steel cabinets.
Nine burner stove ensured the three chefs could cook meals for hundreds of guests if necessary.
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's bedroom
Hillwood Estate courtyard
Statue and fountain in courtyard of 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.
A path through the cutting garden. There is also a sizeable hothouse for orchids and bromeliads opposite the cutting garden.
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!
View from beneath a shady vine covered pergola
My favorite outdoor space was the Japanese style garden designed by Shogo Myaida, a well known mid century landscape architect.
Hope you enjoy my little photo tour of this grand historic mansion.