Staff Dining Room
Beginning in August, 2014, capture a glimpse of the modern and efficient side of Hillwood. Feel free to sit at the period-inspired table and chairs to browse Living Artfully: At Home with Marjorie Merriweather Post, the 2013 publication that inspired the re-creation of this space.
I don’t think that there were, at that time, many pieces of property [in the mid-1950s], if any, the size of Hillwood that required the staff that we had. This was just her domestic staff to run the property. — Financial manager Donald Handelman
Ever mindful of the well-being of her staff, Marjorie Post took great care to ensure comfortable accommodations for them. The staff of the house alone numbered sixteen to eighteen and included the butler, footmen, and maids. Six security personnel worked rotating shifts, protecting Post and the property. Post provided the typical room and board for live-in staff, but also paid compensation up to thirty-five percent higher than average and offered generous perks, such as tailored work clothes and laundry service paid for by the estate.
Adjacent to the Kitchen, the re-creation of the room where staff dined offers an inside look at life at Hillwoood. Though not among the original furnishings, which included a Zenith portable television, yellow curtains, flower vases, and smoking accessories, here, a staff organization chart details the flow of the people employed and graciously managed by Marjorie in order to maintain the flawless style of living and entertaining that she achieved during her seasons at Hillwood and her other residences. In stark contrast to the period interiors in the rest of the Mansion, Post's instructions for remodeling the kitchen and butler’s pantry—that is, the staff work areas—when she purchased Hillwood were for them to be ultramodern, including glass-front metal cabinets in yellow or green with stainless steel work surfaces.
For meals, the staff used a service by the English firm Furnvial Limited. It is in the style of Royal Copenhagen’s blue fluted design. Staff breakfast was at 8:00 a.m., complete with ham or bacon and eggs. At ten o’clock, the staff took a very civilized coffee break and enjoyed hot buns.