Listing of the Day
Location: Pasadena, California
Price: $6.85 million
Step back more than a century into the Cordelia A. Culbertson House in Pasadena, California. Completed in 1913 by architects Charles and Henry Greene, it has an open, U-shaped floor plan that surrounds a landscaped courtyard. The home, somewhat of a design departure for the Greene brothers, who were known for Arts & Crafts-style bungalows, features 130 windows and “takes advantage more of the California light and climate,” said broker Catherine “Tink” Cheney.
Although the Culbertson house has been renovated to include a modern kitchen and bathrooms, it retains its early 20th-century feel. The current owners have worked to keep many of the original features, from having the tiger oak herringbone floors restored by hand to finding the perfect fabric to re-upholster the walls. They “have studied and learned how to bring it back to the original,” Ms. Cheney said. As they prepare to move on, they hope to find a buyer who will be “a steward of the property.”
A historical note: Culbertson was the unmarried sister of James A. Culbertson (not to be confused with the former U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands), a business man from Illinois who was one of Greene & Greene’s regular clients. Cordelia and her two younger sisters, Kate and Margaret, lived in the house for only four years.
This seven-bedroom, six-bath home is 8,559 square feet on a more than 30,000-square-foot lot.
The public space features formal living and dining rooms, a garden and sitting room, the large kitchen and pantry, plus a separate butler’s pantry. The master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom with marble tub, as well as an adjacent sitting room and a dressing room. Two other bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms, which include the original Greene & Greene cabinetry.
Not only does the home include much of the original Greene & Greene woodwork, the current owners have tracked down at least one piece of furniture designed for the house. A large library cabinet that had belonged to the house was found on a Warner Bros. auction lot. It was restored by a local woodworker and will be included with the property.
The home also has a ballroom on the lower level, which has been reappointed with silk fabric on the ceiling for the acoustics and is perfect for hosting a few dozen friends and a string quartet. For overnight guests, there is an additional suite across from the ballroom with a bedroom and sitting room, bath and a separate entrance.
Persimmon, citrus and ginkgo trees, as well as succulents and cactus, are just some of the exquisite plantings in the courtyard, also designed by the Greenes. Walkways are lined with distinctive Grueby tiles and the fountain was made by Pewabic Pottery in Detroit, Michigan.
At the time it was commissioned, the brothers had just been traveling in Europe and Asia, which “opened their eyes to other styles” of architecture, said Ms. Cheney. Additionally, the Culbertson sister gave the Greenes no budget and no style restrictions for the house. The result is “entirely different” from their other designs, which are more traditional Arts & Crafts bungalows. The Culbertson House is on the National Register of Historic Places and has received recognition from Pasadena Heritage, an architectural preservation organization.
Pasadena is “rich in architectural properties,” Ms. Cheney said, with many pristine houses from the 1910s and 1920s. Its center is a dining and shopping destination, as well as Art Deco and Victorian buildings, and the city is home to the college football clash known as the Rose Bowl.
Agent: Catherine “Tink” Cheney, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
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