(January 20,1872 – February 2,1957)
Julia Morgan was an American architect, the first woman to be admitted to the architecture program at l’École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, a graduate of University of California, Berkeley and the first woman architect licensed in California. In 1902, she returned to San Francisco and opened her own office, from which she helped pioneer, along with her friend and former teacher, Bernard Maybeck, a distintive Northern California brand of Arts and Crafts homes, of which Redwood Grove is an example. Julia Morgan’s original design plans are available at Redwood Grove.
In 1926, San Francisco Hotel heiress, Margaret Stewart, commissioned renowned architect Julia Morgan to build this country estate, today known as Redwood Grove. The estate was part of a planned 1,290 acre resort community by the Benbow family.
Ms. Morgan is best known for her work on Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. After the 1906 earthquake Ms. Morgan was commissioned to rebuild The Fairmont Hotel and properties owned by the family of William Randolph Hearst. Ms. Morgan designed a number of buildings on the Berkeley campus and on the campus of Mills College in Oakland.
In 1919, Hearst commissioned Morgan to design The Hearst Castle and the nearby Hacienda at San Simeon Ranch. Today, Redwood Grove has been conscientiously restored to the historical detail and grandeur characterized by Julia Morgan. Her trademark references to nature including the birds and stag, leaves and rosettes are featured with exposed old growth redwood ceiling and support beams accented with earth colors and materials. Her design hallmarks included painstaking attention to detail and craftsmanship, which incorporate the owner’s private collection of art and antiques. The current owners spared nothing to complete this magnificent and faithful restoration.
Duncan McLeod of Rupel, Geiszler & McLeod Architecture was responsible for carrying out Julia Morgan’s original vision for the estate while Dennis DelBiaggio of DelBiaggio Construction served as the builder on the project.
Allison and Jim worked with skilled local artisans to design the interior furnishings while creatively repurposing original fabrics and hardware to achieve an authentic look throughout the property.
The architect, builder and owners collaborated over a four-year period. The results were a sensitive renovation that maintained the style and integrity of the original historic estate.