Last Sunday offered a perfectly cool and sunny day for the fabulous Bungalow Heaven Tour! Eight gorgeous houses from the early 1900s, were lined up and ready to be showcased. The homes did not disappoint one bit. Our team at Pasadena Views, had lots of fun touring the homes. Here are our takeaways from the day…..
The Bungalow Heaven Landmark district was founded 1989, with the purpose “to preserve the historic qualities of the area and to deter demolition, destruction, alteration, misuse, or neglect of architecturally significant buildings that form an important link to Pasadena’s past”. What triggered the formation of Landmark District was the demolition of a large Craftsman from 1913, in order to build a two-story stucco apartment building on the corner of North Wilson and East Washington Blvd, in 1985. Today, homeowners in this neighborhood who want to alter their house (especially the front part, facing the street) have to obtain special permits which can be a very rigorous process.
Our first stop was at a Craftsman Bungalow on Chester Ave, designed by Charles Buchanan & Leon Brockway. The house has been boarded up since the 1980s and was opened up about a year ago. As such, many of it’s original features (pocket windows, wood trim, closets and more) have remained untouched. According to the docent the main thing that needed attention after years of being empty, was the wooden floor in the living and dining area.
A very rare feature of this house is the embossed leatherette wall covering in the dining room that gives beautiful texture to the wainscot. An interesting feature is the California Cooler, which is a pantry with wire shelves and floor and ceiling vents. This allows air flow from the basement right through the pantry, keeping vegetables and fruits cool. Pretty neat!
After seeing all the houses we can conclude that very common for the time period, was the usage of cheaper Douglas Fir wood flooring in the private part of the house (bedrooms and back of the house) and more expensive oak flooring in the common or guest areas (living and dining room). Also recurring features are gable vents for ventilation of attic space, outside California basement doors or “Dorothy Doors” (from the Wizard of Oz!), a tucked away front porch, wide oak entry doors, built-in casework separating living and dining area, plate rails, picture moulding, casement windows, decorated fireplaces flanked by built-ins. Out of respect for the homeowners’ privacy we couldn’t take any interior pictures…..just use your imagination instead 🙂
Overall it was a really educational and interesting day. Music, food trucks and demonstrations of painting, pottery, quilting and stained glass made the day complete! Read more about the Bungalow Heaven Landmark District and see the latest updates for next year’s tour, HERE!!