Tuesday, October 9, 2012

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

Virtually every room of the home interior has a unique floor and ceiling detail combination. The ceilings, particularly, are a major design and craft statement reminiscent of the finest old mansions and palaces. Since modern construction does not make such emphasis, two antique furniture restorers finished the doors, windows, handrails, moldings, and ceilings. In the manner of Michaelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the two craftsmen worked on their backs on scaffolding for over a year. After distressing the ceiling wood, they applied lacquer, then rubbed the wood down with steel wood – thirteen lacquer coats in all. Seven different floor patterns run through the house; ten months were required to complete them. The comment is made that “the floors are beautiful, even to the touch.”

The rustic and sophisticated mix in the foyer, setting a tone for the entire house. A hand-hewn structural beam spans overhead alongside the elegant and graceful Dutch 18th century chandelier. The rich, light-to-dark patina of the oak banisters reflects the red cast of the Persian carpets. The ranch logo, a Sycamore, is carved in the stairway newel posts. The larger of the two rugs is a Heritz, dates 1810, the smaller, an 1810 Caucasian flat weave. On the left a 1680 French convent table supports a pair of antique Chinese jardinières. A Queen Anne style English settle sits against the wall beneath two Gainsborough paintings. Pillows on the settle are covered in old tapestries. Old American samplers hang on the wall of the upstairs gallery.

In the library, the warmth in the richly hued oak ceiling and walls is particularly evident, while accents of green marble, bronze and leather blend their complementary qualities. Standing on the Heritz Persian rug is an 18th century drop-leaf table. Om the right is an elm and beech wood English Windsor chair, circa 1840. A leather upholstered English Gainsborough chair sits on the left. Flanking a pair of English coaching scenes are a pair of French bronze horses signed by Moignier. Hidden from view in this classic setting is an electrically-powered movie screen that drops from the ceiling at the touch of a switch and converts the library to a screening room.

The northward view, as seen from the windows to the left of the library fireplace, extends past the lawn into the golden oat field and up into the mountains. In winter, when the wild lands are green, the view suggests an enormous expanse of lawn. A French oval tilt-top table, circa 1820, sits on a Hamadan antique rug. The tabletop is cherrywood, its base oak. The foreground chair, resting here in shadow, is the English Gainsborough seen in the preceding photograph.

The spacious living room easily accommodates a 15 by 22 foot Heritz rug. The chandeliers are an important accent throughout the house; here they are French twin brass, circa 1860-70. A French, late 18th century walnut tallcase clock in perfect working order stands against the far wall. The piano is an extended keyboard, concert grand Bosendorfer, custom-made in rosewood. An array of 19th century twist candlestick of oak and fruitwood line the mantle. Through the archway against the far wall the rosewood accent is repeated by a sculpture from the Louvre in Paris, signed Raymond Bigot, Grand Prix, 1925. The drop-leaf table is exceedingly rare, of French manufacture, circa 1700, and made from yew wood. Yew is almost always exclusive to English pieces.

The Bigot wood sculpture from the Louvre in Paris sits on an antique French work table. Two 17th century French monastery wall mirrors with embroidered frames hang on the brick wall; a Chinese porcelain tobacco jar sits on the floor.

Casual comfort is the object of the family room.  A ceiling of rough-sawn decking is supported by two levels of rough-sawn beams. The rugged floors are held in place by wrought iron nails. The exposed brick and timber walls, the beam mantle and fireplace of Bouquet Canyon stone, and the chandelier of hammered iron carry through the rustic theme. A Bokana Turkaman sits on the floor. An English oval table, circa 1800, has been cut down to make the coffee table. The side table behind the English style settle is English Oak, circa 1800. The child’s Windsor rocker is made from elm and beech, circa 1860. The other chair in view is Spanish, upholstered seat and back in tooled leather. A portion of the pewter collection can be seen on the mantle. The two figures, a Bavarian man and a woman in polychrome finish, are dated 1840.

An atmosphere of country intimacy pervades the breakfast room. The ample window space frames a view of the front garden and the lake beyond. Sitting on a rustic wool braided rug is an oval English drop-leaf table, late 17th century, and made of yew wood. Four armchairs and six side chairs are yew wood low-back Windsors. The room features pewter pieces from the 17th century to the present day, part of a remarkable collection displayed throughout the house. Wedding plates, mugs and goblets are prominent in the Welch dresser, circa 1800. The antique chandelier made of pewter continues the motif. A pewter charger hanging on the wall opposite the dresser is dated 1832. The pewter is part of an extensive collection owned by William Bone. Pewter is almost exclusively made for decorative purposes today but in earlier times the malleable alloy of mostly tin was used for functional plates, mugs and goblets.

An aura of sanctuary pervades the lady’s bath adjoining the master bedroom. Dappled light streams through the cathedral-like ceiling glass and the floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside, a small enclosed garden offers the serenity and seclusion of a cloister. The Rose Aurora marble of the bath fits well with the discreet hue of the silk Tabriz rug. An 18th-century English oval cherrywood table stands beside the English style chaise. The chair is a French walnut child’s model. On the bath is a silver colored, antique English pewter vase.

The gentleman’s bath is elegant and masculine. Wood tones predominate. Brass candlesticks and fixtures accent. The counter marble also compliments the wood’s hues. A camel-hair Heritz rug lies on the peg and board floor. On the left is a mid-19th-century linen press. An antique pony stool, still with its original leather, sits alongside.  

The interior finish of the master bedroom is refined. The rough hewn beams of the ceiling are smooth and finished with many coats of lacquer. The white linen wall fabric, the classically styled white painted fireplace mantle and columns, the blue and white patterned Portuguese tiles – these all announce a more genteel sensibility. A custom-made Portuguese fine-point stitched rug picks up the blue and white floral pattern of the tiles. The four poster mahogany bed was custom-carved to match the pattern on the balustrades. The trunk at the foot of the bed is a burled chestnut coffer, and under the bed lies a custom-made wool cut-bordered rug. Against the wall to the left is an intricately fashioned, prize antique English secretary, circa 1760, with accompanying English Yew Windsor chair. The lowboy on the left wall is Queen Anne, 19th century. The brass fireplace accessories are English antiques. The windows in the bay overlook the lake. A custom made Thai rug sits in the bay.

Though the kitchen boats every modern convenience, it does not depart in either materials or style from the character of the home. It is generous in size and capacity, able to feed a small family or many guests. It boasts a commercial sized Wolfe range and oven. The range and hoods have been copper clad with and elegant brass trim. A brass rail on the hoods is intended for hanging copper pots. A diffused light pours through the obscure leaded glass of the skylights. The working table surfaces are Portuguese tile and butcher block. The cabinetry is of oak. The contents of the upper cabinets to the right in the photo are viewed through the pleasant distortions of German antique glass. The planter at the window is copper-lined and the foliage in changed with the season. Out of view are two very large walk-in pantries and a commercial glass-door refrigerator and freezer pair.  

The elegance of the dining room contrasts sharply with the informality of the family room. Here, the more formal nature of the setting begins with the Bordeaux patterned oak floor and the refines oak box beams. The large windows look out into the front garden where the trees are subtly lighted at night, and beyond to the lake where their reflections shimmer on the water’s surface. The rectangular 18th century monastery table rests on a Bidjar rug. Ten 18th-century English frog-arm high back Yew Windsor chairs provide the seating. The oval, English Yew wood, 19th-century gate-legged table seats an additional ten persons. A cross-banded oak Welch dresser base, circa 1780, serves as a sideboard. The painting by Paul Clemmens, 1978, is a portrait of Mrs. Bone and the Bone children. The Ranch logo is clearly seen on the post to the right.


  1. I want to take a bath in the lady's bath , with a certain gentleman ...
    Can I ask , would it be possible to compare the rooms (picture wise) with when Michael Lived there .
    These pictures are very staged for a purpose and Michael was a clutterbug , as we all know ,as I was looking at this reportage I thought of what it looked like when Michael lived there, mind you a lot of the pictures I have seen is right after the raid so really messed up.Do you have pictures of Michael 's time there ?

    1. Oh,a bath, huh? I bet you would. :)

      I am afraid I only have very few pictures from the inside of the house, when Michael lived there, so that it not going to help you compare. However,I have found a video, where you get to see most of the rooms - and Michael's stuff... All of Michael's stuff... Oh my God... He had so much stuff! And he seemed to like big stuff the most!

      See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWzdyN10A7A&feature=plcp

    2. Oh, and enjoy the hideous marble clock in the foyer! :)

  2. And I forgot the most important part :
    Thank you , E , this was very lovely , looking forward to more !!

  3. What a lovely place it was.. and I have to laugh..yes Michael was definitely a clutterbug...I can't help but think of all the things he took from his fans..where did he keep it all...

    but you gotta luv him.....even he had faults..lol!

    1. OMG! The things he took from his fans... I never thought of them before. Yes, I wonder where he put all those stuffed animals and other tokens of love... There must have been enough to fill the entire house to the roof. :)

  4. Hey E.. After looking at the video you posted it reminded me of this one I saw on mtv...

    Michael Jackson cribs....It is in two parts and shows all of Michael's Neverland.. Hope you enjoy..and yes Michael was very much a clutterbug...



    1. Thank you very much for the links, Nancy! I am going to watch the videos tonight!

  5. There are so many thing to like about that beautiful house. I think my favorite space is the breakfast room, it looks so warm and inviting.

    Thanks ladies for the additional video clips. I had not seen all the footage together before. So much stuff, but that was or Michael. The clutter would have driven me a little crazy.

    1. Let me be honest here - the clutter would have driven me NUTS!
      I mean, seriously... Most of the house did not look like a place someone would actually live and call a home. It looked like a museum in need of more space.

      (I said this with love, Michael. Always with love.)

  6. Finally I had the opportunity of passing by the Neverland Ranch this past weekend (had never been there before). It was a dream because I loved and will love Michale Jackson FOREVER. I never got to go to one of his concerts so I never saw him in person. Is there a tour or a way to enter Neverland? I was allowed only to take pictures from outside. Will there be any furniture left that belonged to Michael when the ranch is sold?

    1. Hello Ana,
      I'm glad to hear you finally had a chance to make it past the ranch. It's a beautiful place. As of now there are no tours that will take you past the gates though, so we'll have to admire the place from a distance - unless you're rich enough to buy the place that is. :)
      I know that tours of the ranch have been a topic for discussion numerous times, but given the remote location of the ranch and the resistance of the locals, I very much doubt that there will ever be tours of the ranch.

      It seems the Estate of Michael Jackson is currently working on a museum which might include objects from the ranch, but it will located closer to LA - which could be interesting of course, but never the "real deal."

      None of the furniture that belonged to Michael is left on the ranch. I assume some of it (the valuable or important things) may be in storage for later use by his children - the rest may very well have been disposed of or auctioned off.

      I hope I was able to answer your questions!