Last weekend, I entered what seemed to be a new nation located in a tucked away neighborhood in North-West Washington, D.C.
At first glance inside the Hillwood Estate, Museuem & Gardens, I thought I was in a home inspired by New York’s Frick Collection. Hillwood has been a longtime favorite of art and history buffs, but leaves little room for those who lack a love of glamor. The estate was brought to life by heiress and philanthropist, Marjorie Merriweather Post, the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. C.W. Post (Founder of the General Foods Corporation, formerly known as the Postum Cereal Company). A well-heeled and enormously skilled entertainer, Marjorie truly embodied beauty, elegance, and grace. She had long desired her estate to be a public place in which people from all walks of life could enter her “white-gloved world” and be charmed by the exquisite property she created.
The French gardens greeted me with boxwoods and whimsical terra-cotta statues overlooking impressive Lunar Lawns. Flowing channels of water throughout the property gave a calm and peaceful energy, and made me excited to see what the inside had in store. I stepped into the entrance of the home to a grand staircase highlighting a portrait of Catherine The Great with a quote, “she finishes what she had begun.” As I walked up the stairs, each ornate detail created a sensory experience. Inspired by both French and Russian influence, Marjorie decorated her home with heavenly blue porcelain, gilded brass embellishments, and art pieces from the Russian Orthodox Church. Our experience at Hillwood fell nothing short of Post’s main mission; to delight and amaze.
Here are 10 Lessons We Learned from The Famous Mrs. Post:
1. If your hat is too high to fit in your limo, then raise the roof.
2. If the shoe fits, then buy them in every color (Exhibit A)
3. Eliminate dressing frustration. Only fill your main closet with outfits for your schedule that week (alternate weekly, of course). (Exhibit B).
…and line your drawers with pink lace lingerie!
4. One library is not enough.
5. Any bad mood can be eased with a stroll through your Japanese garden and a cup of Postum roast coffee. (Exhibit C).
6. Get a Japanese garden!
7. Always display your finest China in the most exposed areas of your mansion, but save an extra set to entertain celebrities.
8. It is only good manners to install a gold “do not disturb” plate on guest rooms. No body wants cranky guests at the dinner table; napping is essential. (Exhibit D).
9. When your poodle passes avoid the temptation to just bury him or her anywhere; build the pooch a memorial!
10. Refrain from “working out.” Instead exercise like an aristocrat and take up dancing and golf.
For more information on The Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, or to inquiry about membership please visit their website here.
Hillwood Estate, Museuem & Gardens,
4155 Linnean Avenue
NW Washington, DC 20008