The Duke Mansion was a private home for 81 years before it became the upscale bed and breakfast and public living museum it is today.
“My goal is, I want guests to think ‘Oh, I could actually live here,'” Duke Mansion general manager Becky Sagadin said. “We want you to experience the Duke Mansion like a guest and owner of the home.”
History: The Duke Mansion was built in 1915 and designed by Zeb Taylor. James Buchanan Duke was the second owner and is one of the most notable people to live there. His legacies include Duke University, Duke Energy and the Duke Endowment.
James B. Duke had one daughter, Doris, and when he purchased the home, he tripled it in size to include 13 bedrooms. Renowned Charlotte residential architect C.C. Hook did the renovation. The Duke Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today the mansion is 32,000 square feet with 20 bedrooms, each with a private bath.
The house has three shared sleeping porches attached to six of the bedrooms, two breakfast/dining rooms, a living room, 4 1/2 acres of lush gardens, meeting and private event spaces, and more. The blueprint of the house hasn’t changed much over time, Becky said.
How it’s used now: Becky called the mansion a “living, breathing museum.” It’s an upscale bed and breakfast, so you can rent one of the 20 rooms, which range from $140-$400 a night, on average. The idea is that when you stay, you are using the house just as the Dukes or any of the owners would have used it; most of the rooms have served the same function throughout time.
You can roam the gardens, grab a drink at the bar, and even pre-order a chef-prepared picnic to enjoy on the property ($95) — as long as there isn’t a private event (the mansion is also a popular wedding venue).
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Design: The Duke Mansion is an example of Colonial Revival Architecture. And the interior has been artfully decorated to reflect timeless, classic, Southern style.
In the hallways you’ll see portraits of past owners and their family members, along with panels briefly explaining the history and significance of the home. Here’s a look around the home.