Marble House is called Marble House because…you guessed it! It is made almost completely out of marble. And many different kinds too. Some from Italy, a bit from Egypt, a little from France. It was made out of marble because it would help cool the house in the summer (because all these “cottages” were summer homes).
The front of the house resembles the White House in design. It was done in Beaux Arts style, meaning that the house was very light with lots of windows facing the sea that was right in the backyard.
Marble House was owned by Alva Vanderbilt. Her husband, William, gave it to her as a 39th birthday present. Alva was a real rebel. She divorced her million dollar Vanderbilt husband, and then in two months was married again. She moved in with her new husband, and used Marble House as a giant storage unit. Everything she didn’t want in her house she put there. After her second husband’s death, she moved back in, but soon moved to France to be near her daughter, Consuleo Balsan.
The first floor was all you need in a mansion; A drawing room, a dining room, a sitting room, and a special room called the Mid-evil room. The Mid-evil room was a dark room with wood paneling and book cases. In this room Alva’s daughter was proposed to by a Duke. It was a loveless marriage, as was common then.
Consuleo, at the time, was secretly engaged to a man named Winthrop Rutherfurd, but was forced by her mother to marry. Alva went as far as to threaten to murder Rutherfurd after locking Consuleo in her room. Only when Alva fell ill did she consent to the marriage. It was said that she cried behind her veil, and they were not tears of happiness. In 1906 she and the Duke separated, divorced in 1921. Her marriage to the Duke was annulled in 1926.
Consuleo remarried in 1921 to a man named Jacques Balsan. Balsan was a balloonist and assisted the Wright Brother’s with their plane. Despite of this rough history, Consuleo and her mother got along very well.
Let’s move up to the second floor where all the bed rooms are. We started in Alva’s room. It was like walking into an explosion of purple. Purple or white furniture. Purple bedspread. Purple carpet. Purple wallpaper. Purple everything. I don’t think she could get it more purple if she tried.
The rest of the rooms weren’t as prominent as Alva’s room, but they were still quite nice.
When we finished the tour we went out on the lawn, to take pictures and look around. After Alva moved back in when her second husband died, she built a Chinese style tea house that looked out over the water. It was a very interesting house with an amazing history.
Marcus added the floor plans and traced the steps we took on all the tours.