Sunday, May 9, 2010

To the Manor Borne, Part Two: Whitehern Manor

After days of erratic weather that ranged from thunder and lightening to rain to gusting winds to snowflakes to sunshine, le monsieur and I were able to venture out today for one of my favourite vintage-y days yet.  We decided to check out Whitehern Historic House in Hamilton, Ontario, which I had heard was a Victorian mansion once inhabited by the McQuesten family. The story of this family is fascinating but incredibly lengthy, so interested parties can follow the above link to the website devoted to them.

About the house:  the guides are dressed as 1930s butlers and maids and the rooms are recreated to represent the house as it looked in the 1930s: essentially the descendents of Calvin McQuestin kept most of the Victorian elements still intact, but with some distinctly 1930s touches to reflect how the remaining three children from this family lived around the time a 1930s back addition to the house was added (you can guess what my favourite part of the house tour was).

A note on my outfit:  I wore my amazing 1930s yellow crepe dress with attached capelet from Exquisite Bones on Etsy (stay tuned: I am going to do a more detailed post on this lovely shop tomorrow).  I made sure to wear my favourite brown 30s shoes since yellow and brown was such a fashionable combination in the 30s, dontcha know  (more on THAT subject later, too).  Anyway, here are a TON of photos of our fantastic day (sorry to inflict so many on you all, dear readers, but these are mostly for my mom's enjoyment!

The Manor

Oh my, I love this Pineapple post topper (Dreamstress it made me think of you)!

Amazing architecture...and is that ectoplasm I see?

Baroness and Butler (excuse my scary noctural animal eyes--we had just come in from the bright sun)
Whee, what a day what a day! When we rang the bell to be allowed into the mansion (yes, you have to ring the bell!), the butler absolutely gushed over my outfit ("you are SOOOO 1930s!!" he said.  "you're going to fit in here perfectly!!").  Aww, thanks, Jeeves!

Glorious staircase (this family kept ALL their furniture and accents in the attic through each decade's changing styles, so almost everything in the house is original)

Library filled with rare books, mostly signed first editions!!!

The lord of the manor's third wife was a shopaholic with expensive taste, so when she moved into the house, she had the plain original window replaced with a golden one (gold was added to glass to turn it red, while the blue is achieved with cobalt)

Family tree portraiture with view of awesome wallpaper

Ladies' Bedroom

Gentleman's Bedroom

Dining Room Side Board with Elk Skull Conversation Piece and Glimpse of Trompe L'Oeuil Wood Panel detailing that is actually painted on the walls

Back Sitting Room (evidence of more of a 30s style in some of the accents here and there, such as straw boater at right and 30s tea cups at left)

Now we're in the back 1930s addition to the house.  Kitchen = HEAVEN!!!

Nosey Baroness checks out fridge (with bad hat hair). What's in the fridge? Depression glass!!

Wow, even the items in the cupboard are period appropriate!

Try Young's Custard Powder! It's Baroness Approved!

Idea Gathering for my own 30s inspired kitchen

Depression Era Dream Bedroom.  Oh, gosh are there 30s hats in those boxes? It took all restraint possible not to get in there and rummage in the boxes, peep in the closet, and try on the shoes on the floor in the corner.

Luckily this barricade kept Baroness out of the bedroom! Swoon!

Drool....30s ephemera

Deco Dresser Details!!

Glimpse at Gentlemen's Smoking Room in Basement

Back Garden

No idea what this little building is or was.  Interesting, though....

Vintage shoes are great, but I need a little rest

Yep, I could live here.  Ta for now, dahhhhlings!


Stefanie Valentine said...

I saw that dress in Twila's shop and thought of you straight away! It looks so good on you, i love the little cape, it's a great detail. Every time i see houses like that i just want to live there!

Rueby... said...

Oh you bought it! I loved that dress and would have bought it but I was either too big or too poor, I can't recall which. Glad it would a home where it looks so lovely :D I am uber jealous of that kitchen as well! Looks like a cool house. We don't have much like that out West...

Celia Rose said...

What an interesting house! I love that the staff are in period costume! Your outfit as always looks great xx

Emily said...

You look fantastic in that dress!! And that house, *swooning*!! I just visited the mansion on the estate of University owned my the wife of the man who created the Dodge line of cars. Isn't great looking in these old homes? I just love it, and I am so glad you are doing these posts. It not only lets other see these great old home, but also gives travels a place to tour when they come to town. I might need to make a trip out there! :)

Emily said...

Ok so I totally typed that comment too fast and left out a lot of words! Not to mention, didn't even proof read!

Dustjacket Attic said...

Oh I enjoyed that SO much. I just love this house and everything in it. You look just perfect, no wonder the butler was so happy to see you.


~Tessa~Scoffs said...

Faaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous! Thank you for taking pictures!

Pixie Drive-In said...

Fabulous post!!! I love exploring places like that. And I also love how everything is so neatly laid out on the beds and dressers. It's like it's realy being lived in. Your outfit is amazing too! I love the color combo.

Riikka said...

Fantastic post! The house looks very beautiful and your look is one of the most gorgeous I've ever seen on you. Swoon!

Debi said...

How lovely! You look absolutely fantastic! It looks like that house should belong to you :-) I love seeing all the rooms! Thanks for posting!

BaronessVonVintage said...

Stefanie V: I agree about wanting to take up residence upon visiting these sorts of places!!

Rueby: i am a lucky gal to own this frock, without doubt. As for historical buildings out West, there are a few, just not as many as here in Ontario (if we're NOT talking about old Forts and trading post historical sites). Examples of my favourites: in Edmonton, Rutherford House on the University of Alberta campus, and the Macdonald Hotel. In British Columbia, the Hotel Vancouver, the Empress Hotel in Victoria, Craigdairroch Castle in Victoria. Not overly familiar with Calgary, but the Rockies have the GLORIOUS Chateau Lake Louise and Banff Springs Hotel. They are so so so fabulous to walk through, in my opinion. There are a few more, but will have to think a bit...

Emily: I got your drift ;) The Dodge house must have been quite interesting! You definitely should check out this neck of the woods some time!!

Dustjacket Attic: I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. I always worry about boring everyone except my mother when I post such things...

Tessa, Pixie, Riika, Debi: as ever, your comments have made my day. Thank you ever so much!

Harlow Darling said...

My goodness what an INCREDIBLE place, thank you so much for taking all of those pictures to share with the rest of us not so lucky to visit such an amazing place. Like honestly I am so in awe of how everything has been preserved down to the tiniest's breath taking! Though one can't help but wonder if the place is's just so full of the past that a haunting would be very appropriate!

Also, not only is that gorgeous dress very 30s, so is your hair, perfect :)

Anonymous said...

Hi! Oh, I love your dress! Beautiful!

BaronessVonVintage said...


Harlow Darling: I agree...definitely haunted. See aura in third picture (in all pics we took of that doorway that strange glowy hue is there)
Also, there is a light orb above the fridge in the kitchen photo. Considering all the tragedy in that house (including a little boy in the family catching fire while playing near fireplace), I wouldn't be surprised if there are spirits.

So glad you enjoyed this. I will try to do similar photoshoots on my other excursions this summer!! xoxo

Twila Jean said...

I am SO glad you bought my dress. it looks like a million bucks on you. OH MY! you look fantastic. and what a fun day! :)

Em said...

Interesting! Great shots and you look lovely as always...

BaronessVonVintage said...

Twila Jean: Thanks so much! I got a LOT of compliments on it. A tour group of elderly women positively gasped and clucked over how amazing it is. I wish I had taken some pics with the capelet off, but it was rather cold that day. Anyway, I am SO lucky I own this, thanks to YOU!

Em: thank you!!

Tess said...

Gosh, your posts kill me! I also looove historic homes. I was supposed to visit a Depression Era home while visiting Michigan but I was already running late to where I had to be after it. It ruined my week, not being able to go. I love these pictures, especially the two bedrooms. Dreaaam.