“The Shipway House” or “House on the Knoll”, is perched atop lovely, lush grounds on the west side of the ranch. This charming french country home was designed and built by one of America’s first successful female architects, Verna Cook Shipway. It became the home for her and her husband Warren Shipway in 1947. This home embodies the unique qualities that are trademarks of Verna Shipway’s designs. Delicate colors, artistic door designs, ceiling detail, stonework, and multiple exterior patios underlie the charm and character of this home that transcends softness and harmony of materials and design.
Shipway was the first woman to study architecture at Columbia University in 1914. She also attended the Prestige Ecole Speciale D’Architecture in Paris where she was the only female among 126 students. She designed numerous homes in New York suburbs including Berkeley and Scarsdale. In 1936, she was selected to design the first “Ideal House” for HOUSE AND GARDEN. In 1939, Shipway designed a model home for the New York World’s Fair. She was the only female architect invited to design this example of new thinking of architecture designed to reflect the female desires of a home.
At the Mandeville Special Collections Library at UCSD there are over 1300 files on Verna Cook Shipway. They include sketches, architectural plans, photographs of her homes, details of interiors, measured drawings, furniture details, manuscript materials, and travel diaries. The current owner, Penelope Voisen, purchased the home in 1986. She has substantially remodeled and updated the home, yet has preserved the original representation of style and detail created by Verna Cook Shipway.
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