Old Black and White Photo of Mansion

 The Architecture of Falkirk

Falkirk was designed in what was then a relatively new style imported from England, the so-called Queen Anne. Introduced by the British architect R. Norman Shaw, the Queen Anne style became popular in the United States; it "usually emphasized rounded corner towers, shingles and a mixed ornamental style derived from other late-nineteenth and eighteenth-century architectural styles" though its solidity and brickwork tied it to seventeenth and eighteenth century British manor styles.

More substantial looking and calmer than the Victorian Gothic style that preceded it, the Queen Anne style often features a cluster of reception rooms around an impressive central hall with entrance (as does Falkirk) and from the exterior gives the impression of many assembled components--an array of rooftops sloping at different angles, turrets, bay windows, porches, balconies and other protrusions, giving the houses in this style a built-up, complex, many faceted appearance. Materials too are varied, with half-timbering, brick and shingles all contributing to the whole.

Leslie Simons of Marin Heritage writes of Falkirk, "This house is a very fine Queen Anne mansion set in a large hillside garden. It is an excellent example of its style, with its complex picturesque roofline of gables, chimneys and bays, its irregular plan, with large porches and differently shaped bays, its half-timbering and small paned windows, plaster relief panels, polychrome stonework in the chimney, leaded and stained glass windows, L-shaped veranda with oversized turned posts."

Eastlake style, which is also associated with Falkirk, is named after English designer and interior decorator Charles L. Eastlake, who was instrumental in curbing some of the more garish excesses of high Victorian taste. He emphasized appropriateness and restraint in interior design, as well as a respect for the function of each object and aspect of the home (abhorring, for example, the trend of decorating coal scuttles with photographs). Wood as a decorative medium is something Eastlake approved of, and his influence may be traced in the restrained opulence of the reception-hall mantelpiece, with its pillars and high shelf, and the wood panelling around the ground floor and main staircase of Falkirk, and certainly in the beautiful parquetry of the second-floor rooms.

Falkirk's two-story tall stained glass windows were part of the original house built for Ella Park, as are the fireplaces. (The shingled wing protruding from the eastern rear of the house was added in 1927).

Although the trees on the front lawn have stood a long time, much of the rest of the grounds has been transformed--one photograph from the early part of this century show succulents and other western-looking plants flanking the semicircular drive in front of the house.