Growing up in the UK, there is no shortage of big houses and gardens to visit. Over the years, countless old families have had to give up their estates, often as a result of death duties, with the result that they end up in the hands of the National Trust or English Heritage. I was surprised to see that there was a similar organization in the US. Filoli is one of their properties. It is on the peninsula south of San Francisco.
The estate was in the hands of two families prior to its current status. It is a classic old house with plenty of rooms, a ballroom, large kitchens and servant facilities, a library and enough space to deal with any number of social situations. Normally when we visit places, checking out the house is not a priority. We tend to prefer the gardens. However, this time we did take a look around.
The house was really quite pleasant inside. Because it was a 20th century creation, it is a product of that time. No big efforts at replicating older times although it does pick from a variety of styles. The furnishings all seem suitable for the era and apparently that makes it a popular filming location. The exterior is not so great in my opinion. The brick finish is rather uninspired and I think it has a bit of the look of a government building. It is well taken care of though.
The strangest thing about it is the relationship between the house and the gardens. The gardens will get a post of their own. However, they are mainly offset from the house itself. When in the house, you are not looking out across the gardens. I thought the whole point was to be able to look out and observe the beauty of the gardens. Oh well, it’s not like I am living there so I guess I don’t have to worry about it too much.