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The Bacon Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Seattle Washington


History of The Bacon Mansion

The following information is purely for your reading pleasure. We have briefly described each room and also included an abbreviated history of the Bacon Mansion.

The Rose Room

The Rose Room, located on the second floor of the house, was believed to be the former maid's bedroom. However, the room's proximity to the master suite would indicate it was probably the original nursery.

When the current owners bought the house, the "maid's bedroom" was nothing more than a large laundry room with a linen closet. During the 1993 renovations, the closet was removed to make an alcove for the bed. The laundry facilities were exchanged for a sink and water closet.

The shower was added by converting an unused area of the Capitol Suite bathroom. Originally, there existed a solid wood door where the glass shower door is today. 1994 renovations for the Rose Room included the removal of the wall opposite the shower to expand the bedroom area and accommodate more seating.

The Clipper Room

Located directly above the Library, the Clipper Room is located in a portion of the house that was not burned by the fire of the mid-1980s. However, during the post-fire renovations, the lathe and plaster walls were re-insulated and replaced. Originally called the "Queen Anne" room, the room was named for one of Seattle's original seven hills.

Behind the shower (which was added during the renovations), there exists a brick chimney. When the shower was remodeled we confirmed that there was no fireplace or stove in the room originally. It seems likely then that the extra chimney flue was for a boiler in the basement.

Two additional changes were made to the Clipper Room at some time in the mid-1980s. The bathroom was added in the closet and the bedroom door was moved three feet, making it flush with the hallway. This created a small vestibule for the bedroom.

During the 1993 renovations, the wallpaper and chair rail was added and the bathroom floor was tiled. The shower was tiled in 1995.

The Venetian Room

This large bedroom is one of the original bedrooms. The room was formerly called the Magnolia Room for its view of the Magnolia tree located on the Southeastern corner of the property; the tree blooms in April. The room was not named after the tree but after one of Seattle's original seven hills.

As far as the owners know, the bathtub and water closet are original with changes made to the faucets and plumbing. However, the bathroom was not accessible directly from the bedroom; the bathroom's only entrance was through the hallway, which is now part of the Rose Room.

During the 1993 renovations, the wallpaper and chair rail were added. The bathroom floor was retiled and the room was repainted in 1995 and 2004. Anticipated changes to the Venetian Room include bathroom wainscot and cove molding.

The Capitol Suite

This suite was originally two rooms. The smaller room was located in the area around the fireplace as a sitting room, at the north end of the suite. The house's original safe can still be found in the added walk-in closet wall.

The bathroom is original with the exception of a linen closet, which was eliminated when the Rose Room shower was added and the tile around the tub was replaced. The "Sun Room" is original although the wet-bar was added during the renovations of the 1980s. The French doors separating the bedroom from the Sun Room are also original; they survived the great fire but were acid washed to remove the smoke damage.

The Capitol Suite (named after one of Seattle's original seven hills) still carries the name given it by The Bacon Mansion's previous owner.

The pocket door to the suite is also original and survived the great fire. It was converted to a swing door in 1998 because we couldn't find any replacement hardware for the rollers, which had developed flat spots. The locked door located in the wall between the entrance and the bathroom is the original walk-in closet. This closet is used for storage. Although it dates from the turn-of-the-century, the mantle and fireplace surround are not original to the house.

The Iris Room

The Iris Room is the only guest room in the house with a partial view of Mt. Rainier (elev. 14,111 feet); the mountain can be seen on a clear day from the south window in the winter. The purpose of the original room is unknown but is believed to have been a maid or cooks room. The lathe and plaster are original and were unharmed by the great fire. The room is one of only two guestrooms (along with the Cabin Room) to share a bathroom.

There is a humorous side-note about the room. The Iris Room was named by a good friend of the current owners in recognition of the vast number of purple iris flowers that bloom in Seattle every year; oddly enough, the owners have had considerable difficulty locating decorations that carry an iris motif! A local artist, Gerald Avenmarg, painted the iris watercolor hanging in the hall for the room. However, the picture is too large for the room!

The stairwell from the second to third stories actually connects all four floors of the house. It is the original servant's stairwell. The 1993 renovations included additional paint, chair rail, and wallpaper borders and in 1994, carpet. It has been painted twice since and touched up numerous times.

The Cabin Room

With a low, cut-off door (watch your forehead!), the entrance reminds one of a cabin on a clipper ship from yesteryear. Located in one of the original third-floor dormers of the house, the Cabin Room's original purpose remains a mystery. Old photographs, however, show that the room, with its single window, did exist when the house was constructed.

Similar to the Iris Room, this is the only other guestroom to share a bathroom. The third-floor bathroom was added subsequent to the original construction—probably during the 1980s. The closet in the room is actually quite large, as it utilizes space next to the chimney; the chimney is from the Library fireplace. The closet actually passes through to the hallway. Why the prior owner performed this construction is also a mystery. The wallpaper and molding were added during the 1993 renovations.

The Garden Suite

This suite is actually the second largest guestroom in the house. Located under the Library, foyer, and entryway, the room has served many functions over the years; most recently it was an apartment. However, the house's original blueprints indicate that the space was a work and tool room.

After the great fire of the mid 1980s, the wallboard was replaced. During the renovations of 1993, wallpaper, paint, and molding were added. Additionally, the exposed radiator pipes were boxed. During the renovations of 1994, new carpeting, tile, and a bathroom sink were added. New tub and tile added in 1997.

In 1999, the second door to the new foyer was added. Although located under the main floor of the house, the Garden Suite remains one of the most requested guest rooms because it is large, can accommodate three adults, and is convenient for guests traveling with infants.

The Fountain Room

The Fountain room was added in 1995 by converting part of what was a two-bedroom apartment downstairs. The bathroom was completely retiled, the hallway was joined to the bedroom by taking out a wall and door put in on the west wall and subsequently moved in 1999 to the north wall, to what is now the foyer for the three guestrooms downstairs. The closet was also eliminated in favor of an armoire which we bought off of a friend who purchased it but found out it was too big for their house.

The fountain from the patio can be seen while lying in bed. The Fountain suite also sleeps three in the matching daybed. Our only remodel accident occurred while hanging the wallpaper in this room, (and we have hung a lot of wallpaper), requiring 13 stitches on two fingers. Those razor blades can be awfully sharp, Tim!

The Emerald Suite

This is our last and final conversion, as the owners will not be giving up their space upstairs and there is none left. Completed in 1999, the Emerald Suite was originally part of the two-bedroom apartment (kitchen, dining and living rooms) and then the underutilized social room.

The room has green and white checkerboard tile throughout and a large tiled bathroom with a clawfoot tub, of which we had the feet nickel plated, and a corner shower. The room has seven windows and receives filtered light through the large Japanese maples on the west side of the house. One of the original and largest fireplaces is also in the room. Plans are to add a mantel of some sort in the near future.

The Carriage House

This two-story guesthouse is actually the garage for the original mansion. It was designed for one automobile and had chauffeur's quarters upstairs. Inside the Carriage House, the huge, original garage doors can be viewed (still on their tracks!).

The Carriage House was unharmed by the fire. However, when the current owners took possession of the property, considerable renovations were required. New paint, carpeting, and flooring were added. Additionally, plaster repairs were required in much of the stairwell and on the second floor.

Also note that the ceiling timbers are visible on the first floor. They are original "old growth" timbers and are part of the original construction.

The kitchen was removed in 1996 to make way for a handicapped accessible bathroom and to divide the house into two separate units. The upstairs unit or "Loft" has a private entrance through the rose garden, which was designed and maintained by the current owners. The old wood-burning stove outside the room was intended for use by the guests. Given the current fire safety codes and the frequent winter burning bans prevalent in the Puget Sound area, however, use of the stove is not feasible and I can’t get anyone to take it away and it weighs a ton.

The Kitchen/Office

Because we receive so many inquiries regarding the main kitchen, we thought it appropriate to give some brief information. The kitchen was extensively damaged during the great fire of the mid-1980s. It was remodeled to accommodate catering and cooking for large groups.

We were very fortunate to finally be able to remodel it in 2006 to what it is today and something that we are very proud of. The original laundry chute was replaced with a pantry after the fire and was expanded about 6 inches in 2006. The kitchen has approximately 690 square feet of wall to wall Italian tile (slate pattern). The cabinets are cherry and go to the ceiling and there are 100 pulls.

We used 4 slabs of granite for the countertops. It is called Golden River. We have two deep double sinks and food prep sink on the south island. The dishwasher in the butler’s pantry is commercial and does a load/tray in 3 minutes. The dishwasher in the kitchen is a regular residential one that we use when we have 10 or fewer guests. There are two ovens, six burners, griddle, and salamander in the Imperial stove.

We also have a convection oven and microwave combo that are built into a space that is part of two unused flews for the chimney stack coming from the boiler room downstairs. Cooking for the original house would have been done in the brick oven. The "office area" at the south end of the kitchen was enclosed subsequent to the original construction. Old photographs indicate it was a screened porch. The commercial fridge is actually the space that would have originally been the ice box room. The commercial freezer, coat, and broom closets opposite fridge would have been where the entrance or mudroom would have been.

When tearing up the floor to get it ready for its current state of tile, we could see the outlines of the original walls. I am proud to show you the kitchen if you would like, just not in the middle of trying to serve breakfast. I like to get it a little more in order, though it tends to be the room we live in most.

The Bacon Residence History

The original address of the house is 815 E. Prospect. Some time during the 1970's the property gained two more addresses—959 Broadway East (for the Broadway door) and 957 Broadway East (for the Carriage House). Although we do not have substantial information regarding the house's history, we have some highlights for you. Construction of the house began in 1909 and was completed in 1910.

The house was designed by John Graham, Sr., and is situated in the Harvard-Belmont district which became fashionable after the turn of the century. The district became fashionable, in part, to fulfill the desire for large houses on the hill north of First Hill but still overlooking Lake Union and Puget Sound. Although the trees have grown tremendously, parts of Lake Union are still visible from the third floor in the winter. Parts of Puget Sound are visible throughout the year.

The house is generically considered medieval and the design is Tudor. More specifically, the exterior design of the house shares similarities with contemporary work by the English architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and C. F. A. Voysey, particularly in the extensive use of stucco combined with the judicious incorporation of half-timbering in the gables. The stucco texture is referred to as "rough-cast" and is sharp enough to cut a person (or at least hurt if a person accidentally backs into the cladding!). Later terms for the stucco might be called "English Cottage" but that is a term usually associated with smaller houses of the 1920s and 1930s.

The house is four stories and is approximately 8,000 square feet. The Carriage House is just short of 1,000 square feet. There are 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms in the combined main and carriage houses. There are approximately 33 rooms in both houses excluding hallways, landings, closets, passages, and similar areas.

The property is comprised of two city lots and consists of 10,000 square feet, though given it is a corner lot, there are bonus square feet on the north side. There is no garage.

Mr. C. Henry Bacon was the first owner of the house and occupied it as his primary residence until his death in 1949. The house still bears his name. Although Mr. Bacon's wife survived him until approximately 1961, the family sold the house in the late 1940s and are the last single family that we know of to occupy the house. Mr. Bacon was instrumental in the development of Puget Sound's early iron forging industry during the end of the 1800s.

As that industry waned, he further developed the business materials trade, and Henry Bacon Lumber exists today as a remnant of his earlier work. C. Henry Bacon, Jr. was still alive when we purchased the house. Although we have contacted him, he was unable to provide any historical or architectural information regarding the house.

The Bacons, some time subsequent to 1949, sold the house. Photographs from 1965 (in the living room) evidence great neglect. Our neighbors informed us that during some point in the 1960s and through 1980s, the house was occupied by upwards of 30 residents in a "co-op" fashion. The house, internally, had been subdivided into many living quarters often with sheets fulfilling the function of a wall.

In 1973 H. Lee Vennes purchased the house. During his ownership (c. 1986) a fire started in the house. Although newspaper clippings indicate the fire ignited on the third floor, we believe that to be incorrect. The fire started in the living room davenport, approximately where the couch within the alcove is located today. The fire quickly spread through the dining room, butler's pantry, kitchen, up the main stairwell, and outside the west side of the house, consuming two-thirds of the second floor and 85% of the attic.

The house was "refurbished" while maintaining the original floor plan but included many modern conveniences (e.g. plumbing, electrical, drywall, insulation, and double paned windows). All the lathe and plaster was not replaced due to cost. Lee Vennes began to use the house as a "bed and breakfast" during 1991.

Lee sold the house to Daryl J. King and Timothy A. A. Stiles just hours before the house was to be sold to the Russian government for use as their Consulate in December 1992. Sale of the house to the Russian government would have resulted in extensive interior alterations. For example, iron supports from the basement to the second floor (through the dining room) would have been required to support the safe that would be placed on the second floor. Possession took place in February 1993.

Daryl purchased Timothy’s share of the house in 2007 as he no longer had an active role in the business for quite some time and as from the beginning maintained his own career. Daryl escaped corporate accounting with Muzak and only maintains his CPA on inactive status. In addition to the Bacon Mansion, he manages the Condo across the street on Broadway.

The Foyer

This part of the house was burned in the fire as evidenced by the new oak highlights. The door to the right was a coat closet but is now a new staircase to the landing for the three guestrooms downstairs. The basement was divided into two areas, service and social.

A large fireplace (approximately 5 feet at the opening) still exists in the basement and the original wood floors (probably for dancing) are under the tile in the basement. In 1995 extensive restoration was begun to return the social rooms. The staircase under the main staircase was added as well as the tile, wallpaper, and molding. We hoped to someday have a pool table in this room. In 1999 we converted the space to the Emerald Suite.

Service facilities (a tool room, washing room, and heating/water/electrical) can still be found in the basement. As you look to the right, you will note the stairway is still in the original location, although the wood has again been changed. The windows in the stairwell contain the Bacon family crest. Over 3,000 crystals can be seen in the grand stairway's light fixture. We believe the light fixture was relocated from another Seattle house.

The Living Room

In the living room, please note the pocket door (solid wood) which survived the fire. All the pocket doors on the main floor survived as they were recessed during the fire. They were sanded and re-hung. To the right is one of the original fireplaces, although the previous owner installed the surrounding marble. The original house had five fireplaces. Although the oak mantle is not original to the house, it dates from approximately 1905–1910 and is architecturally compatible with the house. Also, note the oak floors which were replaced after the fire.

Although remodeling changed some of the interior's appearance, the floor plan remains unchanged from the original. Along the south side of the room are large "cases" which hide the radiators (sometimes referred to as registers). All the radiators in the house are original and functional. The radiator water was originally heated by coal but is now heated by gas. A very efficient method of heating, radiators may completely heat the house during winter for approximately $500 each month. Also, note the 1965 picture near the piano.

Dining Room

Please note the glass and wood pocket doors. The radiators are, again, hidden under the cases. The windows to the south overlook the patio and the original Carriage House. The Carriage House actually housed an automobile (not a "matched pair") and one or two chauffeurs (who would live upstairs)! The original carriage house doors (approximately 2.5" thick) still hang on the inside walls of the Carriage House. The entrance, however, has been filled and replaced with windows and a door.

The light over the dining table is not original. After the fire, the original light was nothing more than a molten mess burned into the floor of the dining room. For your information, the joists between the floors did not burn in the fire and they are original. They are "old growth" timber and about 3 by 14 inches.

Additionally, after the fire, all the windows were replaced with double-paned thermal windows to assist with energy efficiency. I started going with bolder colors for my rooms in the late '90s with the help of a friend with the eye and pallet. This was the first one.

Butler's Pantry

The swinging door opens to the butler's pantry. This area was heavily remodeled subsequent to the fire by adding countertops and new cabinets. Service for 80 is stored here. It was subsequently remodeled again in 2006 when the kitchen was also done. Notice the higher countertops, “Golden River” granite countertops, cherry cabinets, the commercial dishwasher that does a rack in 3 minutes, and the obscured glass upper cabinets that go to the ceiling.

Breakfast was served out of here for the two months that it took to get the kitchen up to speed and then we did the pantry in the third month. We never closed, we were “on time”, but as you can guess, “over budget."

The Library

In the library, one can see evidence of pre-fire architecture. Note the dark, stained fir and the more intricate flooring which are both original. A pocket door may have separated the foyer from the library hallway, but we are uncertain, a curtain may have been used.

The fireplace in the library is original, as are the leaded glass bookshelves. As you face the windows, the knobs on the left doors are original and match other doorknobs in the house. The knobs on the right doors are replacements. The collectable books belong to Tim.

The Hall

Again note the original floor and wainscot. The first door on the right leads to the servants' stairwell (which runs four stories) and also provides access to the kitchen. The “Art” are all reproduction oils that I purchased in Tonala, Mexico, which is outside of Guadalajara. The same goes for the oils in the dining room, main staircase, above library mantel and in the kitchen and butler’s pantry. I believe I am the fourth or fifth owner.

I am striving to restore the house to its original condition, someday redoing the living room and dining room. I continue to operate the "bed and breakfast" and make the house available for private parties and receptions.

Thank you for your patronage. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us! I hope you enjoy your stay. Thank you.

I wish to extend a very special and heartfelt "thank you" to David A. Rash who provided a significant amount of historical and architectural information.

The Bacon Mansion

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