1879 McDonald Mansion Restored in Santa Rosa by Rynerson O’Brien Architecture (PHOTOS)

1879 McDonald Mansion Restored in Santa Rosa by Rynerson O’Brien Architecture

1015 McDonald Avenue, Santa Rosa, California, United States

It’s a five-year project that resulted in Rynerson & O’Brien Architecture and Paul Duchschere being awarded the 2013 Palladio Award. The project included the expansion and restoration of the historic McDonald Mansion in Santa Rosa, California. The McDonald Mansion, originally known as Mableton, was built as a summer home in 1879 for Mark L. McDonald. According to Period Homes Digital, the mansion stayed in the McDonald family for nearly a century but by the last generation, it was left in a state of disrepair. It was purchased in 1974 by a local doctor who planned to completely restore it. Those plans fell through when a fire ripped through the residence destroying most of the roof and main hall ceiling and skylight. The current owners commissioned Rynerson O’Brien Architecture, Paul Duchscherer and Masters Touch Construction to carry out an extensive restoration and expansion. 

Hooked on Houses | Still from Pollyanna (1960)

Rynerson O’Brien Architecture discussed the project on their website, “This 5-year project involved restoring the original exterior of the McDonald Mansion, while making discrete additions to the rear of the property and integrating the house with its spacious gardens. The formal rooms were re-imagined as Victorian theme rooms around a central hall illuminated by a stained glass skylight. The back of the house was developed as an intimate retreat open to the private rear yard. Landscape structures include a restored gazebo, stone gateposts, a green house and a formal pool plaza surrounded by arbors.” The mansion has also made an appearance on the silver screen! In 1959 Disney was scouting a three-storey mansion to be used for exterior shots of Aunt Polly’s residence in Pollyanna. Hooked on Houses revealed that they were unable to find what they needed and instead decided to pull a little Hollywood magic on the McDonald Mansion. The mansion was made to look much larger on screen with a matte painting being added in post-production, adding two-storeys to the 14,000 square foot mansion. The McDonald Mansion is owned by John and Jennifer Webley.

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