Williams House

Julia Morgan

Situated on a large corner lot, this elegant house, commissioned by Seldon and Elizabeth Glide Williams, illustrates Morgan's eclecticism. The front facade with its formal symmetry (seven windows across the second register and a central formal entrance), the quoins at the corners, and the frieze around the main door owe allegiances to Renaissance architecture. The iron balcony and Mission tile roof suggest Mediterranean influences. The wing to the right (seen below) and the garden facade have windows with Gothic tracery. Another window suggests Moorish influences. All combine to make this one of the most beautiful of Morgan's houses.


The formal entrance

Even though Morgan never identified herself as a feminist or a "woman" architect, throughout her career she hired many accomplished women artists. She hired Maxine Albro to design the fresco ornamentation around the entrance as well as a large fresco in the courtyard loggia in the rear of this house. Albro's later career included the design of frescoes in the Coit Tower and the entrance to the Hall of Natural Sciences at San Francisco State University (Boutelle 85).


The side of the wing to the right of the front

Morgan was famous for her attention to detail. These windows with Gothic tracery are but one example. The interior has beautiful carved doors, stenciled friezes, patterned marble floors, and decorative radiator covers. (See Boutelle 164-6 for color photographs of the interior.) Her attention to detail even included consideration of the orientation to the sun in various interior spaces.

Work Cited: Boutelle, Sara Holmes. Julia Morgan Architect. Revised and updated edition. New York: Abbeville Press, 1995.

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