With a similar jolt of creativity as the estate’s builder had, Jones immediately went to work on restoring Villa Rockledge to its original grandeur. The task of renovating a Victorian Arts & Crafts style estate with Mission influences was a daunting one for Jones.
“The Victorian Arts & Crafts interior needed extensive repairs,” he says. “The first repairs we made were to upgrade the apartments. Then we removed the drywall ceilings to expose original beams, and rerouted the electrical and plumbing lines. We also removed a loft bathroom that had been added.” The exterior needed to be addressed as well. “We removed a room that had been added over the terrace, above the turret. Then we stripped off white paint to expose original high-fire bricks,” Jones says.
His tireless work and that of the builders who laid the foundation did not go unrecognized. In 1984, Villa Rockledge was added to the National Registry of Historic Places. Once the renovations were out of the way, some cherished pieces could be brought in for decoration. “A carved antique breakfront and a Chinese carved antique cabinet in the Great Room are among my favorite pieces, along with a Queen Anne highboy,” he says.
When asked what his favorite room at Villa Rockledge is, Jones quickly replies that it’s the Great Room. “It’s spacious, with high ceilings, massive beams, leaded windows and mahogany flooring,” he explains.
Today, Villa Rockledge has been restored in accord with the original Victorian Arts & Crafts with Mission-style influences vision of Frank Miller and Arthur Benton, thanks to Roger Jones’ appreciation of its history.
“We are very fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to restore such a unique historic property,” Jones says. “It truly has been a labor of love.”
And the romantic aura that has surrounded Villa Rockledge from the beginning seems destined to endure, as each year couples in love make their way up the rocky bluff overlooking the ocean to celebrate their wedding day.
By Meryl Schoenbaum
Photography by Mark Tanner