By Dorothy Calhoun
Motion Picture magazine, August 1934
No wonder Clark is a “home” man! Read about the attractiveness of his new house—and its solid comfort! Clark and Mrs. Gable both had ideas about the interior decorating and the ideas harmonized. How would some of them go in your own home?
This is the story of the house that a million women have dreamed about and have wanted to know about—Clark Gable’s new home. And when men read about Clark’s surroundings, he will rate even higher with them as a he-man than he already does. Don’t miss this vivid pen-picture of the interior of his home, which will give you new ideas of your own!—Editor.
Clark Gable’s new home is distinctly a compromise between the California landscape with its mimosas and eucalyptus trees and the Colonial background of its occupants: a compromise between a masculine house, with its wood-paneling and mounted deer heads, its sporting prints and heavy, comfortable furniture—and a feminine home for the charming women who live in it…his wife and stepdaughter.
Monterey in type—long, low, solid and unpretentious—it nestles into its landscape as though it had been there for years, instead of a few months. Since Clark spends much of his time on horseback when away from the studio, his home is situated near the foothills with their bridle paths, and he and his stepsons—one of them only four years younger than himself—hunt, fish, ride and hike to their hearts’ content.
There is nothing of the “I’m-a-movie-star-and-must-show-off” flavor about Clark’s home, with its plain white walls, red roof and prim balcony across the front. Too many Monterey houses have a tea-roomy, gift-shoppe look, overdressed as they are with allas, window boxes, pottery and strings of peppers. And the first glimpse of the interior as you step into the hall is as unpretentious and honest as the outside.
What You See First
Bare oak floors, beautifully polished and darkened, contrast with the plain ivory paneling. Your eye catches an uncarpeted spiral stairway, which curves upward with sturdy spindles and rails. The huge grandfather’s clock recalls Clark’s odd phobia for looking at the time every few minutes. Every room in his home is amply decorated with timepieces.
The curtains, except in the living room and dining room, are all bright and cheery glazed chintzes, without fussy valances or stiff draping. In the living room, however, the curtains are green brocade. Plain ivory wall surfaces give rest to the eye, and the light tan carpet running from wall to wall is, obviously, the choice of a man. Masculine, too, are the deep, heavy, easy chairs upholstered in the brocade of the windows, and the big wine-red davenport, not too elaborate to lounge on, not too dainty to be spoiled by riding breeches, not too “period” to be comfortable.
This color scheme, by the way—tan carpet, ivory walls, red brick fireplace, and wine-red davenport—offers suggestions to anyone looking for decorative hints for a home. The plain rug admits color notes in the upholstery, and may be brightened by one gorgeous throw rug, as in the Gable living room. Instead of the green drapes, a simpler and less expensive curtain material would be a brown glazed chintz decorated with dahlias in all of their winey, rusty colors.
A painting of Georgiana, the daughter of the house, hangs above the lounge. (She is planning a screen career, and we understand Clark has offered her the use of his last name if she chooses, to give her the publicity so necessary for beginners.) There are antique gold-framed mirrors, in-laid low-boys bearing white lamps, and several delicate antique chairs to show that a woman has had a voice in the room’s furnishings. Mrs. Gable, Clark’s wife, has the reputation of being a charming hostess and was once a social leader in her native Texas town.
Clark’s Own Special Room
If Clark should find the living-room a trifle elegant for his outdoor tastes, he has a game room and study close by, where he can scatter ashes from his pipe to his heart’s content—and loaf on a man-size, built-in davenport. Heads of animals, which have fallen by his own rifle, adorn the pine-panelled walls, and his guns and fishing rods hang from the pegs where no dust-cloth can disturb them. On one wall is a wood-carving of Clark with his dogs.
Red, tan and brown are the colors of the drapes, the chair cushions and the davenport upholstery; and the Oriental rugs on the bare board floor repeat the same shades. Pipe stands, tobacco jars, humidors and ash trays are lavishly scattered about. Clark’s books have all been rebound in gorgeous leather-tooled bindings and form part of the decorative scheme—as books always should.
With three men in the family, Mrs. Gable showed great sense in having a purely masculine room which can’t be hurt by boots, tobacco ashes, fishing tackle, gun grease or pipe smoke. (Why not, when you are building a new home, sacrifice some space somewhere to give the men of the family a place of their own?) Clark is especially rich in private rooms. A small upstairs sitting room, adjoining his bedroom, has a huge carved oak desk and a plain bookcase for the overflow volumes which he likes to read in bed.
The dining-room has an elaborate wallpaper with water lilies in silver, gray and white. The simplicity of the mahogany chairs, table and buffet harmonizes well with this background, and an Oriental rug gives life to the room. The substantial chairs with their leather seats and heavy table (Duncan Phyfe style) suit a man far better than a suite of rose-velvet dining room chairs. An exquisite crystal-and-silver chandelier over the table lightens the heaviness of so much mahogany. You can learn balance and good taste in following the setting of Clark Gable’s dining room!
Where He Rests in Comfort
The master bedroom in the Gable house repeats the color scheme of the living-room, with the all-over tan carpet, ivory walls, tan chintz with old rose figures, and—oh, gorgeous innovation!—a davenport in deep rose, built for solid comfort and genuine lounging. It’s unorthodox perhaps, but what a livable idea! So is the huge lounge chair covered with the same material, and the very practical writing desk by the window. The rose taffeta covers on the twin beds reveal the feminine touch; the massive walnut furniture, the masculine. Rose-quartz figures hold up two dresser lamps which stand on jade bases. Clark’s picture adorns the desk—as it probably adorns the bedrooms of half-million women all over the United States.
There are bed lights, for reading, and a clock beside Clark’s bed. (Why does he continually consult the time? Does he fear his moments of glory are fleeting?) Plenty of tables with ash trays and cigarette boxes and pillows on the couches all aid in lending a homey and charming touch. If a tired movie star couldn’t rest in such a room, he had better give up acting!
Across the hall is the bedroom of the two stepsons, very study with redwood chests and four-posters, and white quilts monogrammed in red. Maize-colored walls, deep brown monks’ cloth drapes and tan rug complete a practical color scheme. A radio by the bed is a hint to any woman who has boys around the house.
Georgiana’s bedroom is the one uncompromising room in the whole house. It is utterly, unmistakably, the room of a woman, and a young and pretty woman, too. All white, it has a rose rug and white antiqued furniture. Almost any girl could have such a room without a famous stepfather. The bed-spread is white satin, corded with rose, and the hangings of the dressing-table repeat the same material. The white chintz curtains are ruffled with rose. Miniatures break the plain surfaces of the ivory walls. White lamps, and white Wedgewood vases and porcelains keep the air of fragility. A cabinet of this dainty bric-a-brac hangs on the wall above Georgiana’s writing desk.
This is a charming idea for a young girl’s room. The articles and ornaments collected need not be museum pieces. There are hundreds of fragile china and blown-glass pieces for sale in the shops at small prices. One can even find curiously fantastic glass animals in the five-and-ten-cent store. One girl I know has a collection of a hundred china dogs scattered around on painted shelves that are bracketed to the wall.
Even Sun Room is Masculine
Except for this little oasis of femininity (and, of course, the kitchen), the comfort and tastes of a very masculine, outdoor type of man have been considered in the purchase of almost every piece of furniture in Clark Gable’s home. Even the sun room has particularly sturdy cane furnishings, with cushions of heavy red leather, instead of the usual cretonne.
There isn’t a chair in the house that would quiver or groan if a tired hundred-and-eighty-pound man flung himself into it; there isn’t a couch that can’t be sprawled on, or a table that doesn’t carry smoking equipment. There isn’t a rug that dusty riding-boots or muddy hunting-boots will ruin. A normal man’s predilection for red, in color, has been humored. There is none of the fragile, easily-tipped-over, useless side tables, ferneries, statues-on-pillars, ottomans, smoking-stands, and mended antiques that fill any he-man with the fervent desire to kick them across the room.
The fact is that Clark Gable spends most of his time in his own home (when he isn’t working at the studio or off hunting or shooting) must prove that it suits him! If you are planning a house that men will live in, and want to make it popular with them you will get many hints from the Gable ménage.