As you can probably tell, I've been spending long periods of the pandemic doing what the New York Times has dubbed Zillow Surfing—essentially diving deep into the US-based property search tool and not looking for things to purchase, but looking to escape the realities of being cooped up for so long (we'll save for another day why Canadian regulators refuse to allow Zillow to operate in Canada because this is a happy post, but grrrrrrr). So far, we've uncovered a couple beauties by Richard Neutra and a few from Frank Lloyd Wright. But as rare as those houses are, you almost never see a Greene & Greene house come up.
Who are Greene & Greene you may ask? Brothers Henry and Charles Greene grew up in St. Louis and both attended architecture school at M.I.T. After graduation they apprenticed at several prominent Boston firms before moving west and settling in the then-quaint town of Pasadena in 1892. And then they built houses—not auditoriums, or skyscrapers or bridges—just houses. Their style was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement coupled with advice from their father—an early homeopathic doctor—that homes needed access to sunlight and fresh circulation of air. They celebrated the structure of a house, refusing to cover or hide beams and joints, but instead highlighting their beautiful utility. Like early Frank Lloyd Wright, they often designed every aspect of their so-called "ultimate bungalows" including light fixtures, textiles and furniture. But unlike FLW or Neutra, they were largely uncelebrated during their working life and as a consequence finding examples of their work is rare.
This house, called the Culbertson/Prentiss House, is actually somewhat atypical for Greene & Greene. It has a U-shaped floor plan, features tile roofs and is clad in gunite—none of which were common for them. But even without the telltale Greene & Greene flourishes, the house is still a marvel. Take a look at the these photos and remind yourself that this house was built in 1911.
The house is much larger than most Greene & Greenes: it's almost 9,000 sq/ft with 6 beds, 7 baths. It's also on a large lot in a beautiful part of Pasadena, all of which contribute to its hefty price tag of $6,250,000 USD. Full listing is here.