Saturday afternoon, we drove to Pasadena with our friends, Paul and Karen, to tour The Gamble House. In the early nineteen hundreds, wealthy mid-westerners who wintered in Southern California began to build grand winter homes along a street known as Millionaire’s Row in Pasadena. In 1908, David and Mary Gamble (as in Proctor and Gamble) commissioned architects, Charles and Harry Green to build their winter home on Westmoreland Street, passing up Millionaire’s Row for more privacy. It was completed in 1909 and remained a Gamble residence until 1946, when they briefly considered selling it. Discovering that the buyer planned paint the beautiful wood interior white, they took it off the market and gifted it to the City of Pasadena under a joint arrangement with the USC School of Architecture in 1966. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978 and a complete restoration, inside and out was completed in 2004.
The house, considered the foremost example of the Arts and Craftsman style of architecture, is simply beautiful. The interior walls and surfaces are built with multiple types of wood, finished to show the grain and with all joinery exposed. Many of the windows are multi-layered stained glass while both the lighting fixtures and furniture were designed by the architects and built especially for the house. These are a few pictures I found on the web but you can see many more at the Gamble House website, here.
So, it’s Top Sites Tuesday #136 – Two Thoughts on Tuesday. Thought Number One is that this is one of the best tours we’ve ever taken, right up there with seeing Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. The best thing about our tour is that we arrived early and were lucky to be on a tour with only one other couple, giving us ample time to see the house with an excellent (much more than decent) docent. The tour took over an hour and as you might expect, guests were asked not to touch anything to preserve the surfaces. Older Eyes is a very tactile person and it was REALLY hard not to touch all that beautiful wood. Fortunately, we were allowed to hold the railings on the stairways, which satisfied my need to touch.
So, I’ve been thinking (I do a lot of that). The Gamble House was 58 years old when it was donated to the City of Pasedena and USC. It was 65 years old when it was designated a California Historic Landmark and 69 when it became and National Historic Landmark. I’m 67. I’ve got sixty-something aches and too much perma-fat. I’ve got wrinkles, dry skin and age spots. So here’s Thought Number Two: I could use a complete restoration inside and out. Would anyone out there like to designate Older Eyes a Historic Landmark? Anyone? I’ll even allow tours. No, no touching, not even my railings. No takers? Oh, well. At least push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #136. And if you ever get to Pasadena, be sure to visit the Gamble House.
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