field trip: fdr's house


We stopped by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home in Hyde Park, NY on Saturday. Owned by his family since 1867, FDR was literally born in the house (actually, in that very bed, above) and visited there often during much of his four terms as president, until he died in 1945. Also in the house, wife Eleanor and his notoriously strong-willed mom, Sara; one can only imagine the arguments that must have taken place over the decor, like the lovely chintz wallpaper in the upstairs guest bedroom. (See next page for more photos.) These days you can take a guided tour that points out many details of his life reflected in the house, from the stuffed birds he hunted as a boy to the manual elevator built to accommodate his wheelchair. The downstairs level was a little too dark and gloomy to take good photos, but the bedrooms on the second floor were impressive with their classic early American furniture and stately manor. We especially loved the carved beds and embroidered white linens. A national historic site, the home is open to visitors all year round. Visit for more info.

Franklin D’s bedroom had a beautiful tasseled bed spread.

Churchill in Chintz? He was one of the guests who slept here.

Detail of the wallpaper.


Who’s this pretty child? Franklin as young boy.

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awesome. I hope the field trips become a continuing feature. I love historic houses, they nicely combine my interests in history and interior design. FDR’s summer “cottage” on Campobello Island, in the Bay of Fundy, is also worth checking out if you are in the area.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » new obsession: cast metal doorstops

[…] One of the things I discovered last weekend, when we visited FDR’s house, was a new appreciation of doorstops. Perhaps because we have so few doors to worry about in our place, I had never really thought of them before. But in the historic mansion, each of the rooms had a door that was propped open by a cast iron doorstop. Some were animals, some were little two-dimensional cottages, some were dancing girls. A quick seplace on eBay shows that these are quite common — especially if you’re looking for one of the canine variety. But this week, while perusing through a weighty pile of mail, I came across this little guy in the Sundance catalog. How cute is he? Made of cast iron brass, I’m sure he could hold his own against the heftiest of doors. Now all we need is a few more of those, and I’ll have a good excuse to buy one of these. –Angela M. […]