Sep 24, 2019 - Things to Do

Home Tour: 17 photos and user’s guide to the Duke Mansion, a former private home with 20 bedrooms you can book

Duke Mansion Home Tour header

Duke Mansion Home Tour header

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.

back yard at duke mansion charlotte

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).

[Related Agenda stories: Have you heard about the luxury, all-inclusive package at The Duke Mansion? I booked it for a total of $262; Getting married? 10 best wedding venues in Charlotte — and their cost]

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.

Duke Mansion Home Tour exterior
Duke Mansion Home Tour original flooring
The iconic black and white marble flooring is an original feature to the home. Becky said the mansion’s staff babies the floors, but they recently heard from a neighbor who remembers roller blading down the hall when she was a little girl.
Duke Mansion Home Tour breakfast room
This is one of two breakfast rooms and one of the most beautiful spaces in the house. The crystal chandelier was a gift to one of the homeowner’s wives.
Duke Mansion Home Tour porch
The mansion has several screened-in porches which were critical to lounging in comfort pre-A/C. The South hasn’t gotten any cooler, so this is still a popular hangout spot.
Duke Mansion Home Tour Dorris painting
This is a painting of Doris Duke when she was a young girl. When her father died, she became known in newspapers as “the richest little girl in the world.”
Duke Mansion Home Tour bed
Duke Mansion Home Tour bedroom 1
Duke Mansion Home Tour guest bedroom
There are 20 different bedrooms, ranging from a double room to a king suite with a sleeping porch.
Duke Mansion Home Tour sleeping tour
Six of the rooms have sleeping porches, shared between two rooms (three sleeping porches total). I love this piece of Southern design history; even though they were built out of necessity (to keep cool on hot summer A/C-less nights), they’re still an enjoyable place to cozy up with a book, nap or get fresh air.
Duke Mansion Home Tour hallways
The halls have panels with interesting facts about the home and people who’ve lived there. You can see it still feels like the hallways of a large home (not a hotel).
Duke Mansion Home Tour fountain
The 4.5-acre garden has tons of nooks worth exploring. You don’t have to be a guest to take a stroll or enjoy the grounds. Becky said one of the Myers Park neighbors who knew the Duke Mansion when it was a private home, sits in the garden with the paper and a cup of coffee every weekend.
Duke Mansion Home Tour front porch
Duke Mansion Home Tour rocking chair
Duke Mansion Cocktails in the Courtyard drink
Duke Mansion Home Tour garden
Duke Mansion Home Tour yard

Interested in inviting us into your home? Email [email protected] for a chance to be featured. Want to see inside more interesting properties? Check out our Home Tour archive.


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