About "R" House
The Rengstorff House, Mountain View's oldest house, is one of the finest examples of Victorian Italianate architecture on the West Coast.
The Italianate design is evident in a hip roof with a central gable crowned by a widow's walk, the front portico and symmetrical room layout. The five-paneled front door with beaded detailing and pairs of high, double-hung windows with arched tops is typical of the Victorian era.
Each half of the front of the house is a mirror reflection of the other. Matching bay windows flank the front door with identical arched windows above them. A pair of square columns supporting the front portico and two matching brick chimneys complete the balanced look of the house.
The house was constructed of Douglas fir with redwood rustic siding, wainscoting and gutters. On the inside, "Peek-a-boo" cabinets have been installed on both sides of the front door to reveal the original construction.
This 12-room, 3,955 square foot house has 10-foot ceilings on the second story and 11-foot ceilings at the first floor.
Four ornate marble fireplaces adorn the four main rooms on the first floor. These include the formal parlor, the library parlor, the family parlor, and the men's smoking parlor, which has the only black marble fireplace in the house. The present fireplaces are reproductions in the same style as the Rengstorff House originals. A large dining room, kitchen and wraparound porch complete the downstairs.
The second story had four family bedrooms, a sewing room and servants quarters, used today for Shoreline staff offices.
The dining room and parlors are decorated with period decor wallpapers similar to those available in the 1860s to 1890s. These rooms are framed by cove mouldings, picture rails and chair rails.
The stately newel post at the bottom of the staircase, characteristic of the Italianate style, was recreated especially for the house. The newel post and handrail are crafted from solid mahogany. The staircase, with its hand-turned balusters, is a good example of the high quality of craftsmanship in a fine Victorian home. Oak hardwood floors throughout the downstairs add to the grandeur.
Many ornate brass chandeliers, once lit by gas, descend from Victorian plaster rosettes on the ceiling. Push-button light switches of the type used when homes were electrified may be seen throughout the house.
A modern kitchen for catering and restrooms have been added to bring Rengstorff House up to date. Contemporary smoke and fire detectors, a security system, and wiring for computers also have been added.