See the special bedrooms for the Dodge and Wilson family, including ensuite bathrooms, guest rooms and more!
To the left of the Sitting Alcove is the French Guest Room, which was the favorite place for Alfred Wilson’s parents to stay when they visited.
It was recently redecorated to return it to what it looked like originally; the furniture was moved and the original palace-sized Aubusson rug was returned. The new furniture placement allows for the closet door, which is typically concealed in the wall paneling, to be opened.
Here again, the architects’ attention to the preferences of individual family members is evident: wood carvings and hardware designs depict Dan’s interests in automobiles, airplanes and tales of adventure.
Though Dan’s bedroom – with its vaulted ceilings, stone arches and timbers – looks decidedly Tudor, close examination reveals elements of whimsy hidden in the room’s décor.
At the end of each wooden beam is the carving of a story book character, like Robinson Crusoe and Long John Silver. The door knocker is the logo of Graham-Paige automobiles, which the Wilson family did business with at this time.
Step into the room and look above the doorway. The small window allowed Dan to look into his room from his playroom.
West Guest Room
The photographs of planes are ones that Dan Dodge owned. Frequent visitors to this guest room were his cousins Oliver and Don, Jr. They lived in a house a mile down Adams Road.
Frances Dodge’s bedroom is different from the rest of The Hall for two reasons:
1. To prepare her to one day run a household of her own, she was allowed to choose the décor of her bedroom suite. She chose American Colonial, a very different choice from the mainly British and western European styles in the rest of the home.
2. After her mother’s death in 1967, Frances took some of her furnishings for her own children to use, making this one of the few rooms not decorated as it was when the family lived here. The Adopt-an-Artifact program is currently trying to restore this room.
Blue Guest Room
Frances' guest room was perfectly appointed for the comfort of her guests. Like her bedroom, it is decorated in a colonial style. Frances often had friends from her boarding school, Mount Vernon Seminary in Washington, D.C., visit in the summers.
Alfred’s bedroom, like Dan’s, is decorated in the more masculine Tudor revival style. It was customary for couples of wealth to have separate bedrooms, but Matilda’s is only next door and easily accessed through a private hallway.
His bed was custom made for him by the Hampton Shops of New York. Each of the four bed posts is different and matches one of the 39 chimneys atop The Hall. Proceed through the door to your right. Alfred’s bathroom is especially remarkable with its Rookwood tile and shower with fourteen gold-plated shower heads.
The immensity of this home – and the impeccable attention to detail during its 3-year construction – can truly be appreciated in this bedroom suite. Every suite had custom bed and bath linens, hangers and closet accessories, and furnishings, each with its own color palette and monogram style.
The closets were planned to perfectly suit their owner (note the differences when you reach Matilda’s suite). To the right of Alfred’s bed is a closet that has always been under lock and key. Alfred was a high-ranking member of the Masons, a secret men’s society, and he kept his uniform and materials in there.
After her first husband John Dodge’s death in 1920, Matilda took her three children to France for a year to help the family heal. There, she fell in love with French furniture, architecture and décor. Her bedroom is inspired by the Louis XV style.
A hall leads to a closet, dressing room, linen closet (not on view) and her bathroom. In the bathroom, the door in the right rear leads to the toilet and the door in the right front leads to a footbath.
It was here the family bathed Pete the Turtle, an African tortoise Frances brought back from her 1934 World Tour as a gift for younger siblings Richard and Barbara. Pete obviously couldn’t keep up with the children so the maids and nannies would carry him down the halls and up the stairs. When he got to be about 18 lbs., the family decided to donate him to the Detroit Children’s Zoo on Belle Isle. There, they found out Pete was actually a girl and she was renamed Murgatroyd. Pete was good friends with the beloved pet dogs in the family: note the Pekingese dog bed in Matilda’s dressing room.
In an age when doctors still made house calls, a closet dedicated to holding medicine and supplies made for an easy visit.
The seclusion of Meadow Brook made the family keep medical, cleaning and food supplies on hand. This room was always locked when the family was in residence.
Richard Wilson chose to move into this room after he left the nursery.
Though he later moved into Dan’s bedroom suite, he said this was his favorite because of the great view of the front circle from the window seat. He always knew who was coming and going!
Matilda Dodge Wilson devoted her talents, time and wealth to bettering the lives of others, and the Salvation Army served as catalyst in many of her ventures. She was Auxiliary President for the Salvation Army for a total of 24 years and helped build the Booth Memorial Hospital, Grace Hospital, The Evangeline, a subsidized apartment building for young working women, and Denby Children’s Home, which supported orphans and unwed mothers and their families.
Of these, the Denby Home was closest to Matilda’s heart. She provided some $100,000 for its 1931 construction and also paid to furnish two rooms inside. Her portrait hung in the entry. Every Christmas Eve, well into the 1960s, after wrapping 60 or so presents, the Wilson family visited the Denby Children’s Home. After watching the children perform a play, Matilda – and at times her family Alfred, Frances, Dan, Richard and Barbara – distributed gifts and shared cookies and milk. Matilda was said to know each child individually and she spent weeks personally picking out a new outfit and toys for each child. Children later recalled that the pockets of their dresses were filled with candies and trinkets.
Next, you will head one flight down the stairs and turn left to reach the dining room. If you need the elevator, press G and turn left to dead end in the dining room.