The house was built out on the edge of town and beyond it lay open land - a desert- but in late winter it was covered with a haze of green and a carpet of wild flowers. In the absence of trees and air pollution the family could look out of these windows and see the majestic Sierras almost every day. It was this magnificent winter view that had so captivated Joseph Meux, Dr. Meux's brother, as he made a train trip through the valley, which he wrote back to the family in Tennessee urging them to come to this heavenly spot. The sweep of windows facing south and east give this room an incomparable quality of light. Even on the gloomiest of days the room is cheerful and elicits "ohs" and "ahs" from visitors. Mrs. Meux was not in good health when the family moved here and no doubt spent a great deal of time in this room. In her later years she was both deaf and blind. The family communicated with 'her by means of a glove she wore on which was embroidered the alphabet.
The five-sided bay is the second level of the tower, one of the main features of the exterior.
The walk through closet contains built-in drawers and a small cupboard plus hooks for hanging.
The exterior shutters on the second floor are very important as sun control devices. Their function can be understood especially well in this room since the windows are not covered with curtains. They can be opened and closed in different combinations according to seasonal needs. We really appreciated what an important function they perform when they were down for several months.
When the shutters are open several panes of old window glass are visible with their swirls and waves caused by varying thickness in the glass.
Panels in the three doors are decorated with a paint and glaze technique to look like fancy burl wood. This work is called faux bois (French for false wood - pronounced "foe bwa")
A transom above the hall door allows air circulation when the door is closed.
The walnut-stained mantel is decorated with an Eastlake incised design. Like the other five fireplaces in the house, this one was designed to burn coal.
The combination gas and electric ceiling fixture is one of the most elaborate in the house, combining brass and copper. The gas light bowls are original.
The corner wash basin has a marble top and splashback. The wallpaper is a fancy rococco design much in vogue during the Victorian period- it is not a reproduction of paper in the house. The carpeting, however, is a reproduction by the V'Soske Carpet Co. Although it arrears to be a wall-to-wall piece, it is actually 27"strips carefully matched. When the old carpeting was removed, underneath was a craft paper padding made by Bier Bros., a firm whose factory was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and never rebuilt.
The walnut bed in a typical imposing Victorian style is a standard double bed size. It appears smaller because of the height of the headboard and also because we are used to seeing larger size beds. In the winter it is covered with a covering in the style of the old crazy quilt made for the Meux Home by the Genealogical Society. In the summer the spread and pillow shams are of white linen and lace.
On the East wall is a fashion print in a fine old frame decorated with incised design. The lace curtains are approximately 60 years old . The lace pattern is unusual and features a picot edge at the selvage. The curtains are long enough that they lay amply on the floor- a sign of an affluent family. They are tied back with clusters of silk flowers.
Often shown in this room are a lady's parasol of green taffeta and a man and woman's nightgowns - the lady's gown of white cotton and eyelet embroidery and the man's nightshirt made of pure linen (a real beast to iron!)
By the window is a walnut spinet desk on which are arranged the following items: a small glass basket of silk and dried flowers; a 1900 calendar featuring William Cullen Bryant which was owned by Anne Meux; a mother-of-pearl pen; a music box clock; a kerosene lamp with a base of spelter formed as the bust of a woman (Columbia?); a pair of spectacles and a lovely book Sleeping Beauty and Other Fairy Tales, illustrated by Edward Dulac, 1906; plus mother-of-pearl opera glasses.
The pair of side chairs with the green velvet seats is English and made of solid rosewood. Lift them and see how heavy they are. The seats are padded with horsehair stuffing. The very graceful upholstered armchair with the carved walnut frame is a lady's chair.
The marble top table in the bay is late Victorian in style. Note the wooden casters.
Anecdote: A visitor noted the lilacs in the wallpaper before any of the staff did. She mentioned that she had something that would look nice in that room. She returned with the table cover decorated with bowls of lilacs embroidered in French knots. It is the perfect touch for that.
On the table the following items: velvet and painted cellule satin lined vanity box with elaborately decorated mirror and brush backs (this was donated by the Veterinary Wives Auxiliary;) a kerosene lamp; a lavender hair pin and sewing tin cushion with painted celluloid band; a fancy silk lace-trimmed handkerchief; and a family photo album (not the Max's.) On the floor is A black leather Doctor's Bag. The walnut shaving stand has room for all the gentleman's personal items: a straight razor- a souvenir of the 1893 Colombian Exposition with a scene engraved on the blade; a leather razor strop used to sharpen the razor hanging beside the mirror; shaving mug and brush; sharpening stone for traveling; silver backed clothes brushes and man's hair brush; talcum cans (not old;) Oriental lacquer ware collar box containing collar with studs and cufflinks in the center box. (Oriental art and furnishings became very popular after the Centennial Exposition of 1876.)
On the corner sink is a collar in a folding collar holder used for traveling. Hanging on the wall is a large tintype of an unknown couple. It is in a nice old frame and dates to the 1860's.
On the mantel is a pair of classical bisque figures; a pink glass vase with enameled floral design; a photograph of the house in Tennessee where Dr. Meux was born and raised (the house was built around the original log cabin so that the cabin just inside the walls of the entry hall the big house burned down in the last ten years because of a careless tenant;) a snapshot of Dr. T. Meux with two grandsons - Jack Barbour, age 6, and Richard Barbour, an infant; and a family photograph of Edna and John, Anne, Henry and Mary Barbour, Mollie and Dr. Meux.
As we leave the Masters Bed Room, we will enter Mary's Room.