There’s Mansions and Then There’s Mansions … by Charlene Sands

Her Forbidden Cowboy   front coverMy 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.

Winchester 1

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.

winchester 2

 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.    

Sarah used no architect when constructing her mansion. It's said she used a ouija board to communicate with the spirits, who advised her on what changes to make to the house. Thus, doors like this open to nothing but the air.

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!

winchester 4

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.  

winchester 5

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!

This is one of the two ballrooms, though neither was ever used. In this particular room, hardly any nails were utilized. The wood was hand-crafted and fit together. The wood paneling throughout the house is exquisite, and the wood itself is very rare and expensive. It is said Sarah loved redwood, but hated the color. She insisted it all be stained or covered over.

(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!
Post a comment and be entered into a drawing for a $5 Amazon Gift card!

+ posts

28 thoughts on “There’s Mansions and Then There’s Mansions … by Charlene Sands”

  1. If I could have one thing in my home (other than a much larger home) it would be tons of kitchen cupboards with an island in the middle with a sink and tons of space. My second choice would be a four season sun room with comfy furniture and a fireplace. My third choice would be a walk in bath tub with Jacuzzi built in. I know you only asked for one but you set me dreamin’.

    I would love to be entered to win the gift card. I could so use it.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  2. I love this post. I have heard stories (mostly the haunted ones) and Winchester House. I enjoyed hearing more about Sarah and seeing these pictures. A dream extravagance that I have always wanted was a huge closet. One the size of a room. I have seen pictures of celebrity closets and always thought how great it would be to have everything nice and organized and can see everything you own. Most of my close and shoes live in boxes during their off seasons. It drives me crazy switching everything out. That time has come, so I will soon tackle that job and I’m really not looking forward to it.

    • Hi Janine,
      Oh yes, in my Moonlight Beach series, my heroines have the use of giant walk-in closets. But you don’t have to a celebrity…my son bought a house that was expanded upon and the prior owners added one such closet. It’s probably the size of my home office, but deeper. Color me green with envy, but I’m happy for them. Everything is organized and orderly. 🙂

      • I’m hoping to win the lottery one day so maybe we can add a big closet to our house (or better yet move, this house is tiny).

  3. I have read about that mansion before. Very interesting, but also sad. I have always wanted a huge, multi-level library with spiral staircases. Oh what fun it is to dream!

    • Hi Susan P
      Since I watch Beauty and the Beast with my munchkins weekly, I am reminded of the library the Beast surprises Belle with…tall tall shelves filled with books. Maybe there’s a Beast in your future!

  4. An interesting blog, Charlene. I had heard about the Winchester House but I’ve never seen it. A very sad story. Sarah must’ve been really lonely and probably a bit crazy. It’s really fun to dream. I would want a larger bedroom with a sitting area. Oh, and as long as I’m dreaming, I’ll need a larger bathroom with a large shower and a vanity.

    Love the cover of your newest release!! Very nice. That title really hooked me. Anything forbidden is right up my alley!

    • Hi Linda,
      Yes, after seeing one article about Sarah, I researched about her life out of curiosity. She was a very interesting lady. There was so much more I could have written about her life. Thanks for the compliment on the cover. I think it’s one of my favs too.

  5. As a little girl and then a young woman, I always said I wanted a bathroom you could throw a party in. Sharing a bathroom with so many people in one house and me being the only girl. There was never enough room in the small bathroom in the house I grew up in. So I would have an opulent bathroom…

    • Hi Kathleen,
      We grew up with one bathroom too. Three females and my father. Now that I think back, HOW DID WE DO IT? Think of teenagers doing their hair and make-up and bathing and showering for school? I shared a bedroom with my sister and one tiny closet. We managed because we had to, so I totally understand that wish!

  6. I would like a have a women cave where I could have my sewing machine and books with a little reading nook in it also. They are always talking about men caves so why not a women cave, just for me. A bigger house would help.

  7. Great post. So interesting. The photos are wonderful.
    I’d love a great room where everyone can converge and converse, and the lady of the house isn’t stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is partying. My brother has one and his house is perfect for entertaining. 🙂

    • Hi Robena,
      I love that idea as well. I think a large room for entertaining connected to the kitchen is perfect because I love to cook, but it gets crowded in there. Sometimes, I want to put up a yellow tape, saying STAY on YOUR SIDE of the KITCHEN, so I can get things done!

  8. I have always wanted a window seat to curl up in and read. As for a room, I would love one of those rooms that look like an oasis with a pool and trees etc… 🙂

  9. Thank you for sharing these pictures and the story of the Winchester Mystery House! I had seen some pictures before but it is so much fun to read about it!

  10. I have always wanted a screened in porch. Several years ago, we visited the Winchester House…..what an interesting place, to say the least!!!!

    • Hi Melanie,
      We had a screened in porch in New York, and we would play in there, but it wasn’t very insulated, so it got cold fast in the winter. Thanks for saying hello.

  11. Thank you for including pictures. I have read of the mansion several times, but didn’t realize it was reduced in size from what it had grown to. We hope to some day visit there. It is nice that we have this unusual place to visit, but it is sad that she lived such a sad and lonely life.

    Congratulations to your winner.

  12. My dream house would have a library where I could put out ALL of my books where I could see them. I think I would have to resort to the type of library that Louis L’Amour have. He had bookshelves that held books on both sides of doors that opened like some of the pantries do today. I would furnish the room with comfy chairs and a fireplace.

Comments are closed.