The Ringling Estate Interior
The central hall (measuring ll’l” x 27’8″) provides access to the principal rooms of the house. At the head of the hall is the main staircase to the second floor. The landing contains a large triple window in a leaded floral design. The ceiling of the hall contains nine , transverse false beams in oak above a dentilled frieze. At the staircase end, a larger transverse beam supporting the landing rests on elaborately carved oak brackets. The free side of the staircase, the small panel between the two flights, and the underside of the upper flight are panelled in the same oak with simple moldings. The turned balusters and the molded hand rail terminate in a square fluted newel at the base. A chair rail runs around the hall and continues up the stairs. The wall beneath it is of the original painted canvas. Below the upper flight of stairs is a paneled oak door with inset glazing. It provides access by one step to a lower rear hall, which contains to the right a cloakroom and a toilet, and to the left a step up to the library. At the back of the hall is a paneled oak door leading to the porte cochere.
The bookcases rise to the same height as the paneling along the other walls. Above the bookcases is a wide tripartite leaded glass window with the same stylized floral motif. The glass is thought to be by the Chicago Glass Company as it resembles some of their designs. On the west side of the room is a bay window, 4’9″ in depth, the opening from the room framed in mahogany. At the center of the south wall is a fireplace of green Wisconsin marble. The mahogany surround lacks a mantelpiece, instead , above the fireplace is an oval panel framed by two pilasters. The pilasters rise from the floor and support a heavily molded pediment with a carved fleur-de-lis at its center. The entire composition rises to nearly ceiling height. The ceiling is decorated with false beams with carved supports, also in mahogany. The polished bronze chandelier hanging in the room is original, converted from gas jets to electricity.