my next door neighbor

I'm what you call a little fish in a big pond. My house is really small in a neighborhood of really big estates. It can be somewhat intimidating. The house below is my next door neighbor. It's called Kimberly Crest Mansion, of the Kimberly Clark Corporation. You know, Kleenex. The french chateau styled home was built in 1899. It is 7k sq. ft and sits on a little over 6 acres. It was built by Cornelia Hill a widow from New York. In 1905 the house was purchased by J. Alfred Kimberly (co-founder of the Kimberly Clark Corporation) and his wife. Their widowed daughter, Mary Kimberly Shirk lived there from 1920 until her death in 1979.

In 1963 the community raised enough money to purchase Prospect Park (a 39 acre botanical park adjacent to Kimberly Crest) for the city of Redlands. To motivate this effort Mrs. Shirk promised to give her house to the people of Redlands, if the needed funds were raised. The city acquired the park in 1968 and in her will Mrs. Shirk left her home to the people of Redlands.

The Italian terraced gardens were designed by G. Edwin Bergstrom, a son-in-law of the Kimberlys. The beautiful house and gardens provide the perfect place for weddings and special events. Throughout the spring and summer I garden to beautiful music wafting through the air from these special events.

This concludes today's local history lesson. I hope you enjoy these pictures I took while the house was decorated for Christmas.

(above) A huge Sago Palm. Disneyland wanted to purchase it.

(above) The newly restored carriage house that today serves as a gift boutique. My house sits right behind it.

(above) They have a clothes-line just like me!

(above) In the spring this Wisteria is gorgeous.


  1. Wow. That IS quite the neighbor.

  2. Oh Dear God in Heaven, The GORGEOUSNESS!!!!!! It must be quite inspirational having a neighbouring home like that. It's all very attractive. Do the visitors bother you? Or are you secluded from them? Hope your garden is going well. Mine's wilting in this 36 degree heat. x

  3. Wow! Honestly, I like yours much better. Thanks for visiting my new blog and for the compliment!
    You have a beautiful home~I especially love the kitchen floor and your dining room makeover. I love the layout of the rooms as well.
    p.s. I, too, don't eat meat. I'm looking forward to trying some of your ideas for meals.

  4. Hi Kirsten,

    No, we don't have a problem with guests. Sometimes they do get lost though and we have to direct them. But it's really not a bother. Also, we love to go over and watch the set-up for the receptions. They are always quite lavish.

  5. Gorgeous house, but I like the carriage house better! And your house even more! I think smaller is better.


  6. thanks claudia, you are so sweet. great minds do think alike!

  7. That is a huge mansion! Lovely that the city of Redlands could save it. Heritage buildings frequently come under the wrecking ball and with all that land it might have been over developed.
    I too have a small home and really there is a lot to be said for small spaces. It is greener, as we use less power and heating, not to mention how much faster one can tidy up and clean house.
    I did wish for a bigger home back when my son brought home 5 or 6 friends and they dropped their backpacks and took off their size 12 (or larger) shoes...and left them in the front hall for me to navigate around when I got home!
    Your home is full of charm and I admire your decorating style.

  8. Amazing house in an amazing setting. You are so lucky to live in such beauty and nice weather! I enjoyed seeing these pictures, thank you.


  9. Hi Janet, I just love these old estates. What a wonderful neighbor to have! The grounds, the architecture, beautiful music...the history, it's all so lovely. And the pictures are so beautiful...and the California sun so radiant. There's a crispness to the California sunshine that's like no other place. xoTrina

  10. Well you know what they say - Location, Location, Location! And yours is in the best!! What a beautiful house and how interesting to hear about the background to it aswell...Just gorgeous but I would be happier I think living in the carriage house. Love the combination of those colours too - the stone with the grey roof - divine...
    S x

  11. Hi Janet - Such a spectacular house! How fun to live next to such an interesting and beautiful place! I don't think I'd ever get tired of looking at that house.

  12. What a wonderful place to live! That houses are fantastic but yours too. Kisses, Ana

  13. I know that place! What a great area you're in. I'd gladly live in a teeny house (prefer it actually-can you imagine their heating bills!!) if it meant I got to cruise around that neighborhood every day. Thanks for the tour. Stay dry this weekend!

  14. Janet, I've been thinking about your location and lovely surrounds all day- you are lucky. It is BOILING here. Only the strong plants are surviving and don't get me started on the humidity. x

  15. pretty!

    I love the historical things in our communities in California and it is to cool that you live inside the gates of one!

    Please show more neat goodies of Redlands~*~kelley

    ps I heard a rumor that you guys got some SNOW?

  16. Hola querida Janet, I think you are lucky to have that beautiful home right next to your property to watch it everyday, I think it is a great inspiration, great arquitecture and more great gardens!!!! But I really do love your cottage much more!!!!!
    And answering your questions, I take care of my garden, with a helper man who comes once a week, he mainly cut the grass and do the hard work, all by my supervision. I make compost which I think is the responsable for the beautiful flowers I´m having, besides of tons of love for my garden.
    Second, I have a kind of big property, no flat, only hill and everything, including the house, is on terraces. My house is big (too big) and I don´t have a garden in the whole property, just a few part of it.
    I think you live in a beautiful place and that you must be very proud of your cottage, because it is so lovely.
    Muchos cariños,
    Maria Cecilia

  17. That is one incredible neighbourhood. I have just joined your blog, via another blog I love (Faux Fuschia). I must say though that I prefer your cottage - it is just picture perfect. I live in a small workers cottage which has ornate ceilings and old hoop pine floorboards and seriously would not have it any other way. Large spaces can be so wasted. I love the fact that every part of my house and garden has a purpose and use. Also prevents the build up of clutter and is easy to clean and maintain. Simply love your kitchen!

  18. Wow! That is some house. It must be amazing leaving near it.

    - The Tablescaper

  19. What a beautiful neighbor you have and how wonderful that you don'have to worry about some new homeowner moving in and deciding to ruin it or tear it down. And how delightful that you get to listen to the beautiful music drifting your way.



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