Sprawling over eight meticulously landscaped acres in Los Altos Hills is Stonebrook Court Manor, the ultimate in opulent architecture. The 30,000 square foot Tudor home was constructed in 1914 for business magnate, Percy Morgan and his wife, Daisy, the daughter of an affluent Oakland family.
Born in London in 1862, Percy attended Oxford University until age 14, acquiring accounting, auditing and other bookkeeping skills. After working for a London accounting firm, he left the United Kingdom for America at the age of 21 to work for London’s Nevada-based Victorine Gold Mining Company. After moving around the United States, he eventually settled in San Francisco in 1885 and by 1892, he was a fixture in the business community. At the close of the 19th century, Percy was a director of the Union Trust Company and Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank. He was also one of the instrumental founders of the California Wine Association, the largest wine-producing cooperative in the world and the catalyst of the Napa and Sonoma wine industries.
During a trip to England where he and Daisy visited Speke Hall Tudor manor in Liverpool, the couple came home and employed San Francisco architect, John Powers, to build them a mansion in the same style. Taking two years to complete, it was officially dubbed Lantarnam Hall after the district of Llantarnam in Southeast Wales, from which Morgan’s family originated.
The total cost of construction, furnishing, and decorating the manor came to a whopping $400,000, a considerable fortune in 1916. The home includes 7 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, wine cellar, ballroom, game room, guesthouse, gym, swimming pool, and parking for 20 cars.
Lantarnam Hall has a prolific chronicle of interesting residents after the Morgans, including the ostentatious San Bruno nightclub owner, Gypsy Buys and her husband, Jerry, east-coast religious leader, Father Devine, and John Carter Ford, who modernized the home’s wiring, heating and plumbing before transforming the mansion into Ford County Day School.
After the school shut down some years later, Lantarnam Hall sat unattended, eventually falling into a state of significant disrepair. It was finally put on the market in the 1990s and was purchased by venture capitalist Kelly Porter. The decaying manor ‘looked like a beat-up fraternity house with broken windows, cracked chimney pots and neglected grounds’ and as such, Porter and his wife, Christina, hired an architect to restore the home to its prior splendor. As the home was on the Federal Historic Register, restoration had to adhere to strict standards, with additions perfectly matching the original building. The Porters enhanced the Tudor architecture with their own taste and had the external entryway completely refashioned. Once restoration was complete, they rechristened it Stonebrook Court Manor, the name it retains to this day.
In May of 2013, Stonebrook Court was once again up for sale, the price tag a cool $27 million. Whoever the current owners may be, they most certainly live in one of Los Altos Hills most splendid and significant homes.