Bringing the Garden Indoors

Bringing the Garden Indoors

Spring 2022

Visit the House to learn how Filoli’s builders, Agnes and William Bourn, brought the garden indoors. They connected the inside of their home to their lush garden outside through fresh floral arrangements, architecture, decor, and art. The design philosophy was continued by the House’s second owners, Lurline and Bill Roth.

The Collection

Filoli StrokeLine

Each room in the House blurs the line between indoors and outdoors. In the Drawing Room, Agnes Bourn’s Romantic-era mezzotints come alive with sounds of simple garden pleasures. In the Dining Room, Bourn dinner guests chat as they enjoy dessert on floral porcelain plates once owned by the last King of France. In the WWII-era Kitchen, hear wartime tunes and learn how gardening in the 1940s was for victory and food, not for flowers. In the Family Room, Lurline and Bill Roth watch television, play cards, and discuss Lurline’s day in Filoli’s Garden. In the Ballroom, the Irish music of string quartets and life-sized landscape murals transport you to Muckross - the Bourns’ inspiration for Filoli. 

The beauty of the garden is also abundant in Filoli’s decorative arts collection. Garden scenes are woven into fabrics and tapestries. Furniture is intricately inlaid with flowers. The Coromandel screen will be reversed to reveal the back which is decorated with individual floral scenes, landscapes, and still lifes. Filoli will feature rare floral-themed pieces from the extensive porcelain collection. We’ll contrast French, English, and Asian techniques and motifs, and the Bourns’ eclectic collection with the Roths mid-century modernist pieces. And don’t miss the floral wallcoverings throughout the House, especially the newly recreated peonies in the Gentlemen’s Lounge.

Slow Flowers Summit 2021

Flowers Indoors

The floral story told in the House spans both families and present day. Agnes and William Bourn built their home with sweeping views of the Santa Cruz mountains from numerous rooms and added a central room just for floral arranging. Architectural details further blur the lines between indoors and outdoors as leaves and flowers top columns and run throughout molding. When the Roths purchased Filoli, they converted berry cages to flower beds to make more fresh flowers available for the House. Roth’s parties were known for over-the-top, floor to 18-foot ceiling floral arrangements. Modern floral designers and horticulturalists continue Bringing the Garden Indoors through fresh arrangements and floral design parties for Filoli visitors.