Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tour of Neverland - The Sycamore Valley Ranch real estate brochure - part 4

The expanse of the lower lake is the major focus of the front garden. It is designed for one to walk around it or sit nearby. The boulder outcroppings are good places to rest – a clump of daisies may be at your feet. A view of home or mountain or wild lands is one’s choice to make. As with the clump of daisies, there is the quality of ordered randomness, of the right natural event occurring at just the right place. Lichen covered rocks add an element of interest to the landscape. To the right of the center of the photo on the north shore is the masonry boat dock. The “Fishing Rock” with the felled tree trunk is seen to the left of it. The Guest House on the peninsula features four separate guest rooms, each isolated from the other, each with its own unique interior style and private garden.

The William and Mary Room of the Guest House expresses the light, civilized ambience of that period. A typical period floral pattern covers the window seat. The view looks out over the flower beds and across the lake toward the stone bridge. The four poster bed, the tilt-top table and the chair are all William and Mary period pieces. The ceilings, windows, door and floors are of dark stained white oak in contrast to the light linen-covered upholstered walls. The ceiling surface is plaster between the boxed oak beams. A Heritz rug lies on the Bordeaux patterned floor.

Seen through the open French doors of the Pine Room, the lower lake reflects in the short-lived, magenta glow of twilight. The Pine Room of the Guest House is a favorite of younger guests. The ceiling, posts and floor are made of Idaho pine. Pine is the wood in the Victorian-American chest and in the French doll cart seen through the doorway. A reupholstered American turnpost chair sits on a cotton braided rug. The chandelier was converted from an old brass kerosene fixture of the Victorian-American period.

The Western Room is situated on the peninsula to allow a view of the lake in two directions. The vaulted ceiling is made from rough-sewn Douglas Fir; the doors, windows and floor are oak which complement the end wall of Bouquet Canyon Stone. The American four poster is a York County reproduction, the table and desk are 18th-century American maple and the chair, a reproduction of a 19th-century style. The brass lamp is a converted oil burner.

The Empire building English were once the world’s greatest collectors which allows this more eclectic room to be called the English Room. It contains a number of styles, but none so diverse as to not mix gracefully with the others.
It shows a rough-hewn timber beam ceiling and a post and beam bay. The English desk is mahogany; the chair before it is a mahogany Queen Anne. The lamp on the desk is fashioned from a Chinese cloisonné vase. The two armchairs are French Bergere. The table between them is an English tilt-top. The rug is custom-made in Thailand as a Portuguese needlepoint. Not seen in the picture are some striking pieces - a Queen Anne lowboy and two very rare Chinese-Chippendale bed boards. The floors are all oak peg and groove, and the walls are upholstered in yellow silk.

The Executive Office was designed as a retreat. It is rustic, casual and warm, an environment meant for meeting and talking to people. In addition, the location of the room allows a complete observation of all persons coming to or going from the residence. The ceiling is rough-sawn Douglas Fir, the end wall of Bouquet Canyon Stone. A fireplace is out of view behind the photographer. The partner’s desk is mahogany with inset leather top; behind it is an antique French walnut table, on the wall a pair of hunting scenes of painted enamel on copper. For conferencing, there is a long English library table with an inset leather top. Six ball foot Queen Anne armchairs in original leather sit around it. An old English work table has been cut down for coffee table use. The wing chair in the foreground is English with a fruitwood finish. Not seen in the photo is an enormous wood-cased London train station clock, which hangs to “striking” effect over the fireplace.

The antique American barn was the inspiration for the amply sized interior of the Recreation Building. To be properly weathered, the ceiling and wall boards were laid out in the elements for two years. But the boards fell short of the required number, so for three months during construction additional ceiling boards were individually weathered. The plaster grouting seen on the underside of the stairway and the wall also presented a problem by not staying in place. After three months of experimentation, a system was devised of inserting expanded metal and the plaster stayed put. The wall plaster is mixed with straw to create an uneven, wattled appearance. An antique French iron chandelier hangs over the pool table. An old French worktable holds an antique iron scale. At the foot of the stairs a meticulously fashioned, English antique house-shaped yew box holds its complete set of croquet mallets and balls. The upstairs loft provides a wide-screen television viewing area. Beyond what is visible in the picture is a bar, game table and video games. One side of the Recreation Building looks down on the Tennis Court, the other onto the swimming pool. The downward stairs lead to the Wine Cellar.

The Wine Cellar was a beguiling afterthought during construction. The basement was dug in from the walls of the Recreation Building so as not to undermine the foundation. There is something of a Hollywood fantasy in the romantic, subterranean setting. It is used for wine tastings, and dinner guests are also invited down to sample hors d’oeuvres and cheeses before the main course in the home or garden. The antique French standing candlesticks, circa 1700, are of wrought iron. The table is antique French with a walnut inlaid top. The antique French chairs retain their original upholstery. A warm Persian rug lies across the stone floor. Adjoining this somewhat medieval setting is a modern butler’s pantry kitchen with dishwasher and two refrigerators for chilling the wine, a functional asset that can be ignored when the many candles burn and friends sip their wine in soft, mellow light.

Entertaining outdoors is a feature of California's lifestyle, admirably served by the Ranch's barbeque area - a complete outdoor kitchen facility that can suit 2 or 200. It is situated between the Terrace and Autumn Gardens and shielded under a canopy structure of rough-sawn Douglas Fir. The long counter has recessed trays for salad, a sink and a gas grill. There is dishwasher, two food warming drawers, icemaker and trash compactor and two Corning cook tops. There are cabinets for linen, silverware and dishes; there is a refrigerator, electrical outlets, taps for instant cold and instant hot water and a telephone. The floors and walls are the familiar Bouquet Canyon Stone.

In the evening, an unobtrusive lighting scheme assures a clear view of all walks and steps, and the trees are not allowed to fade into the gloom of the dark; rather, they are given a new aspect by a lightning design that seems partner to the moonlight.

The winding stone path to the Recreation Building has created a sinuous garden. Held in by a border of low lying white Sweet Alyssum, the serpentine Autumn Garden is a profusion of multi-colored snap dragons and other flowers.


Like a stopping place in the course of a stream, the spa seems to be a natural pool sheltered by boulders and ringed by flowers, a place favored by nature for relaxation and contemplation.

The rear of the house can be seen through the full foliage of summer. In the foreground a graceful crop of day Lilies hug the boulders through which a bubbling brook springs.

Like a pond, the swimming pool’s natural contours are a part of the garden concept while supplying fully the needs for swimming and pool play.





(Sycamore Valley Ranch PDF)


  1. well this was so great, thank you for sharing with us E - I am going to share this on facebook too - any fan of Neverland needs to see this!

  2. Very nice , never seen the pictures of the guesthouses , well only seen one of them before and then the one of the wine-cellar , LOVE it .

    I love how in this reportage the estate looks very classy , as much as I love Michael , when he moved in it became more of a giant playground *giggles*
    Thanks E , this is great

    1. I love the wine-cellar. I can easily imagine having some wine and cheese there.

      True, but that was just Michael adding the final touch - his Michaelness - to the ranch. :)

  3. wow, is it any wonder Michael fell in love with the place. I feel relaxed just looking at the pictures.
    There is still a little part of me that wishes it could become like Elvis' Graceland. Just so we could experience even a small part of Michael's haven.

    1. Yes, it truly is a wonderful place - and I have not completely lost hope that we, his fans, might get to see it one day.

  4. sooooo Beautiful :') <3 Thanks so much for Sharing.

    1. Yes, it is beautiful - and you are welcome!

  5. Hi E...

    I just found this and I have been looking at each guest house and daydreaming about being there. I picked out which ones I like, and they will now reside in my heart, tucked away for safe keeping. It is a songwriters dream...a place of inspiration and a retreat...seeing God in all the beauty that surrounds Michael's home...a place to escape the world for just a little while and bask in the sweetness of Michael's Heart..."Whenever I'm with you, you make the world go away." Can you just imagine him giving us a guided tour of his home? I know he would be a most gracious host:)



    1. Hi T!
      Which guest room is your favorite?
      I love the Western Room and the Pine Room. I find both of them highly inspirational.

      Oh, you bet I can imagine him giving us a guided tour! Trust me, I have walked by his side many times in my dreams - and in my heart.



    2. Hi E:)

      Which guest room is my favorite? Oh....It's hard for me to choose...I love them all. Would love to spend some time in each of them. I guess if there is one that stood out for me, it would be the Pine room cause I love the glow of twilight from that room...so magical, and romanic. The inspiration flows so freely...along with his love:)


    3. Hi T!
      If you set up quarters in the Pine Rome, I'll take the Western Room!
      - and when you have settled in, come join me for some coffee and chocolate! :)

  6. Looks like heaven on earth! Thanks a lot for sharing Enola!

  7. I wish I was there when Michael was alive.