Letter from William Randolph Hearst to Julia Morgan, January 14, 1920

Hearst, William Randolph   1920-01-14   New York, New York

(Letterhead: New York American) January 14, 1920. Dear Miss Morgan: I have telegraphed about everything of any consequence and I will only repeat practically what I have telegraphed. Mrs. Hearst and I find the No. 2 elevations extremely satisfactory. First, we like the roof. Second, we have come to like the cornice and tile frieze arrangement, provided the cornice modeling can be made interesting. Third, we like the lobby entrance treatment. Fourth, we like the loggia. The only thing we do not like is the window treatment and decoration of the upper floor. We think the Renaissance windows on the front elevation of No. 1 are very good and should be adopted, but we doubt if the small planes in those windows are as good as larger panes. We think the Renaissance windows on the right wing of the rear elevation of Sketch No. 1 are good, and that they should be substituted for those in the elevation No. 2. You will know best how to arrange them. If we have two on each wing, we should have three in the middle. I think the center one of the three in the middle should be extra wide and have some extra emphasis in decoration. The middle one need not be a window that opens like a casement window. It could be a view window with a solid piece of glass, and the windows on each side of it could be casement windows. It seems to me that there should be some additional decoration of the arches in the loggia, and that the loggia should have a wooden beam ceiling or composition that looks like wood, as that I think is the usual Spanish treatment. I should think that all the front part of the loggia should be treated as an open air feature and that the back part -- that part corresponding to the two library wings above and the rear part of the sitting room cutting them -- should be treated as a wholly closed feature. This will make a long wall with a fireplace at each end, while the side toward the loggia, and constituting the back of the loggia, could be mostly windows and might be treated very much as you have treated the lobby entrance in front elevation No. 1. 2. We did not care for this treatment with so much glass for the lobby, but it might be well for this division between the loggia and the lower hall, as that lower hall is likely to be very dark and will need all the light it can get. We now come to consideration of the stairs that lead down from the lobby into the lower hall. If these can be made a decorative feature, let us retain them if they cannot be so made, let us omit them and reach the lower floor by the outside stairs. I think, however, that the stairs feature might be designed in a way to be a decorative feature of the lobby; by carrying some little columns to the ceiling, or something of that kind. The lobby, according to your suggestion, with the former ends removed, would run back on each side to the clothes closets, and should have some decorative feature on each end. Now, as to the entrance from the lobby into the main sitting room. I think the entrance should be direct where you have marked the arrow and the question mark, because it is more effective to come into the main sitting room than it is to go into one of the wings. However, I may be wrong about this, and the convenience of an entrance opposite the bedroom entrance may be more important. I would like full size windows looking out from the bedrooms on the little court, as we like a lot of airout on the ranch, and one of the objections to houses of this kind was that we could no longer sleep in the open. This objection can be largely overcome by having big windows. Then comes the question of screens. There is a screen on a roller that can be pulled down just like a curtain and I think this treatment is best. The casement windows can open inside and be fastened back and then a screen pulled down from above to cover the full opening of the window. Regarding the grills or rejas I think you are right. We would get a better effect by making our own grills, and I think it is a good idea to make them like shutters, with a perpendicular division in the middle, so that they can be folded back against the outside walls of the house as shown in some of your sketches. I believe it would be a good thing, however, to have them fitted with Yale locks or padlocks, so that when it is desirable to lock up the houses, they can be closed as securely as a door. 3. I telegraphed you to move house B as suggested, seven feet toward the main building and three feet back toward the pipe line. This will not greatly change the elevation, which is the main thing. I take it that house B is the house opposite my house and that house C is the center house. I repeat these letters because the telegram said something about a house D which I did not understand, and which might have been a mistake of the telegraph operator. I think now that practically all the questions in relation to the little houses have been settled, except the interior finish, the bath room furnishings, etc. May I ask when you expect these little houses to be finished if we start at once and continue to work uninterruptedly? I would like to aim for the first of June. Sincerely yours, s/ WR Hearst

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