A combination bed and breakfast, living history museum, and eccentric collection of Victorian-themed memorabilia, Abigail’s Elegant Victorian Mansion is a place that truly has to be seen to be believed.
It’s an 1888 Victorian home nestled in a quiet neighborhood along the rugged Northern California coast that from the outside, appears to be a classic Stick-Eastlake or Queen Anne Victorian, retaining its original gingerbread decoration and pale gray paint color. This house is different from the other 19th century homes remaining in the area however, the inside of the house has been completely redecorated in an eccentric and completely over-the-top Victorian fashion.
The Victorians are known for viewing what some would call “clutter” as sophisticated decor. They prized ornate, floral, and excessive decoration. With the importance of class distinctions, Victorians were eager to display their wealth in every corner of the house. Curio collections were crowded along mantels, striped or floral wallpaper hung next to imitation leather wall-coverings. As far as interior decoration went, more was never enough.
The owners of Abigail’s have taken the Victorian design principles to heart. Each of the three parlors and four bedrooms boasts lush Victorian trimmings like brocaded French velvet wall covering, crystal chandeliers, thick gold and red drapes between rooms, and art paper on the ceilings, and the bookcases are stuffed with replication Victorian catalogs and Victorian-themed novels. Some of the items are more expected (a gramophone) than others (a stuffed turkey wearing eyeglasses in a metal cage). Each room has its own theme, ranging from the Turkish sitting room to the Van Gogh room decked with Belgian furniture. The Victorian actress and singer Lillie Langtree supposedly stayed in the bedroom named after her.
Although Victorian houses often included Fainting Rooms with a chaise lounge and smelling salts for women, Abigail’s Victorian Mansion is not for the faint of heart, or the discriminating minimalist.
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