Tregarnet Hall was built in 1899 in a neo-Jacobean style by the architect Samuel Wilbur Hywll, a friend of Edwin Lutyens. It replaced an older farmhouse, a large building dating from the early 18th Century. Sir Lewis Tregarnet, the property owner, commissioned the house after he had made a small fortune as a shipping magnate based in Falmouth.
The building measures appx. 115 by 55 feet, and for the main part is three stories tall. Granite is the main construction material, although the window frames, door lintels, etc. are of Portland stone. On the west side of the main facade is a five-story tower resembling a 15th Century castle tower. The northern part of the house is mainly taken up by service areas, except on the east where it contains library, study, bedrooms, and the children's nursery. The land slopes considerably to the north, leading into a ravine. This enabled the architect to build cellars under the kitchen area. There is also a 'wilderness' garden to the northeast, accessed from a terrace outside the drawing room. The house will be described top down, since that is the way the floor plans are laid out.
Tower Top. A stairway caphouse and a summer room, generally used in season as a private recreation area; there are two parapeted terraces at this level.
Third Floor. Designed to be used as Sir Lewis's hobby area -- he collected rare tropical plants, mainly orchids, but was also a noted experimenter in the natural sciences. Note the skylight in the conservatory. The bedroom was for the use of his private secretary and lab assistant, one Gervase L'Orphan.
Second Floor. Clockwise from upper left: The butler's bedroom, a livery closet, the manservants' dormitory with a bathroom (could sleep 6 on bunk beds), top of the main staircase, with a sitting nook halfway down. Then the children's area. When the house was built Sir Lewis had infant children, three sons and two daughters; later, the area was converted for use by teenagers; and now it has been subdivided into small bedrooms. Milady's suite had a bedroom and w.c. in the tower, a dressing room, a small parlor, and anteroom, and her privy chamber (the bedroom there was for the nannie, later the personal maid). There are skylights in the privy chamber and the children's room.
First Floor. Again, clockwise: The serving maids' dormitory and bathroom (sleeps 6), the housekeeper's bedroom, the linen closet, and the butler's pantry -- actually a fancy sitting room for butler and housekeeper. The main staircase has a sitting nook at mid-flight (like the one above it); an archway leads to a balcony that overlooks two sides of the entrance hall, which rises two stories. Next to the staircase is the guest suite, then on the east side are three bedrooms and a large parlor or music room. Milord's suite takes up the tower wing on this floor, and consists of Sir Lewis's privy chamber, which was his business office, a small parlor, a bedroom for his valet, a dressing room, and his sleeping chamber in the tower, with a small bathroom. Note that there was no room for tubs in either milord's or milady's bathrooms, so they are provided with a very early version of a shower bath.
Ground Floor. Going clockwise from the top left, there is the servants' hall or parlor/dining room, with its large oriel window. Between this and the tower is the back entrance to the house, leading into a walled courtyard (which also contains stables and other outbuildings, not shown here, mostly dating back to the original farm). Pantry and larder follow, then the kitchen with its large fireplace and baking oven and a scullery contained in a projecting oriel; stairs lead down to the cellars, which run under the pantry, larder, and kitchen only. The main staircase has doorways to the kitchen and the lavatory, and a round arch to the entrance hall. Next is the library with its adjoining study or office; note the semi-octagonal projection, which contains a reading area, with a northern light. The garden terrace has already been mentioned. A postern doorway connects it with the drawing room, a large cruciform chamber with a big fireplace and inglenook in a projecting wing. There is a lobby serving as the main entrance, which leads into the two-storied front hall; from this room one enters the drawing room, library, stairwell, and dining room. Two small rooms west of the dining room function as a servery area (both food, and plate and cutlery) and a breakfast room or informal dining area. Finally, there is a 'snug' or smoking room, and a game room (cards, billiards, bar -- it has varied over time) with a small water closet.