Carolands Mansion-Chateau Hillsborough CA - Decorator Show house September 12, 1991





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Uploaded on Sep 11, 2011

Carolands Mansion was finally opened to the public for a 3 week period in September 1991 as the location of the Peninsula Decorator show house. Over 68,000 people toured the house. I was lucky to take the tour on the 3rd day that it was open, and absolutely no waiting to get in. Toward the end of the run people were waiting in line for 2 or more hours.

I brought my video camera and was not allowed to take video of the inside, but no problem out side. Felt a little silly as I had to walk around with my camera case in a bag (the folks in charge gave me this large paper bag with handles to put it in). So anyway here are some nice shots of the out side of the Carolands. The grounds where cleaned up for the first time since the house was first built, with fountains working. Note the extensive cracks in the walls from the 1989 Loma Preta earthquake. Unfortunately, the Carolands is built mainly of brick construction, with re-enforced concrete pillars that run from the basement to the fourth floor. The fourth floor is all re-enforced concrete construction. So in a really good earthquake, the exterior walls the Carolands could easily collapse (just look at pictures of any of the masonry buildings in the San Francisco earthquake). Brick was probably used to speed up the building process, but a poor choice in earthquake country.

I first heard about the Carolands in 1973 when my best friend and I where with his dad running an errand in Hillsborough and told us about this huge mansion. The following week my sister drove me by it on a Sunday afternoon. The next day told one of the librarians at my High School (Capuchino High) about seeing the Carolands, and she told me about a tour that was going to take place at the mansion (thank you Mrs. Ross!). My mother made some calls cajoled the Par Advance group to allow my mother and I to tag along. So on November 27, 1973 at the ripe age of 14, I got the chance to tour this impressive house. The tour was billed as the last public tour as it was thought the house would be torn down. What was most impressive was at that time the house was in total original pristine shape, with no vandalism, just water damage in the basement. Even got the see the vault in the basement where years later two young girls where held and attacked. The care taker at the time, Mr. Lewelling gave us some very interesting tidbits about Countess Dandini the house's recently deceased owner.

In succeeding years I had a couple of other chances to get inside the home all with permission of the care takers or owners. The last time I was in the house was September 12, 1991 when I took the decorator show case tour held at the house. Many things had changed as there had been damage from vandals or extensive water damage (a 1977 re-roofing of the house, the roofers neglected to put the cap back on the hatch opening to the roof causing, extensive water damage to the rooms on the south east of the third floor).

Glad that the Carolands current owners, Charles and Ann Johnson, have restored the Carolands back to pristine condition (along with many needed modern upgrades). I've been sitting on this video for exactly 20 years, but thanks to YouTube, can share this time capsule of the Carolands as it looked when it was the 1991 decorators show house. Enjoy!


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