My new three book series takes place on fictional Moonlight Beach in California. Her Forbidden Cowboy is the story of my Texas hero removing himself to the Pacific shores to help heal from wounds, both emotional and physical. He’s renting one of the many mansions built on the beach by hero #2, architect Adam Chase. Now, it was fun to conjure up and research lifestyles of the ultra-rich and famous and put those elements in my stories. I had a field day using my own dream home fantasies for inspiration. What’s better than ocean views, sandy shores and interiors complete with art galleries, wine cellars, state of the art kitchens and digitally-ordered master bathroom showers?
As I was doing my research on California mansions, I came across this amazing story of the Winchester House in Santa Clara, California that fits in with the Old West theme here at Wildflower Junction. Talk about opulent! The house was built on 162 acres of land, had seven floors, 13 bathrooms, two ballrooms, 47 fireplaces and three elevators. In total, there were 3oo rooms and two thousand (2000 doors!)
In 1881, Sarah Winchester was left heartbroken after losing her infant child and later her husband, rifle mogul, William Winchester, but upon his death she became a very wealthy woman, amassing a twenty million dollar fortune. And since William’s company was still intact, she continually earned $1,000 daily. Depressed and lonely, Sarah sought the services of a physic medium who advised her to seek a life out West with her limitless fortune to make amends for the lives lost due to those murdered spirits. Poor Sarah, did just that. She settled in California and continuously built and rebuilt the house as the physic had counseled.
Today only four stories and 160 rooms remain due to earthquakes and neglect.
Originally, Sarah paid the workmen very well, a rumored 50% more than average wages to met her very bizarre demands, and they worked round the clock, seven days a week eager to please her.
It is said that she resorted to a ouija board to communicate with the spirits and make her decisions about construction. It is believed no architect was ever used. Notice the door to nowhere? There are many throughout the house and Sarah believed they would help confound the angry spirits who followed her.
Here’s a servant’s kitchen with a mysterious door above. It’s impossible to use and could prove very dangerous for anyone who doesn’t know where it leads!
Here’s one of Sarah’s bedrooms. Rumor has it that she never slept in the same room twice in a row to help her escape from and confuse the angry spirits. Every night at midnight and 2 am, it’s reported by her neighbors that the bell tower of the Winchester property rang out.
The Winchester home was instilled with the height of luxury for that time period with heaters, elevators, steam, heating, modern toilets and push-button gas lights. This ballroom below was exceptional in that very few nails were used. Each piece of wood was hand-crafted and fitted together like a giant puzzle. Amazing!
(copyrighted by Winchester Mystery House, LLC)
If you could have one exceptional item for your home, what would it be? I’ve always wanted a sun room filled with white wicker furniture and greenery and loads of lights filtering in. Oh and a door that WENT somewhere!
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Charlene Sands is a USA Today Bestselling Author of 35 novels, writing both western and contemporary romance. She's a lover of all things romantic, especially her bold, rugged, heartstopping "real good men" heroes! She's the recepient of the National Readers' Choice Award, the Bookseller's Best Award and the Cataromance Reviwer's Choice Award. When not writing, she spends time with her "hero" husband, enjoying Pacific Beaches and drinking iced mocha cappucinos!
Charlene loves to hear from her readers.
Drop her a line at www.charlenesands.com or write her at PO. Box 4883, West Hills, CA 91308
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