Charles and Henry Greene, Architects, 1906, Garrett Van Pelt, FAIA, 1929, The Dr. W.T. Bolton House. Few architects have defined Southern California vernacular architecture more than Charles and Henry Greene. With their ability to blend Asian, British, and South Asian designs during the burgeoning Arts and Crafts movement in the United States, the Greene's forged their names in the annals of architectural history by designing some of the most significant architectural works in the country, including Pasadena's Gamble House and Blacker House, both of which were completed after the Greene's finished the Bolton House. Consistent with their work, the Bolton House is both sculptural and organic. The soft edges, calm colors, exotic woods, simple joinery, and lack of superfluous ornamentation reinforce the Greene's belief that conspicuous consumption and pretentiousness found in the revivalist architecture being constructed throughout the region is an assault on the natural environment. Perhaps Charles Greene said it best that their goal was to 'make necessary and useful things pleasurable' which, perhaps, is the fait accompli they had in mind for the Bolton House and their subsequent works of art. The Bolton House has received a few modifications since the 1906 completion. Other longtime Greene & Greene clients followed the ownership of the Boltons (Dr. Bolton passed away prior to the completion of his home). Cordelia, Kate, and Margaret Culbertson purchased the home in 1918 and commissioned architect Garrett Van Pelt to add a two-story oriel window replacing a flat, articulated horizontal window that also lined the oversized staircase. And while not original to the Greene's 1906 design, the oriel window undoubtedly brought in a sense of modernity when complete and possibly prolonged the existence of the house during a time when Craftsman homes began falling out of favor and large estates like this met their demise. A multi-year restoration of the house began in the 1980s. During this time, existing woods such as Port Orford Cedar, a favorite of the Greenes and master builder Peter Hall, was restored or, in some cases, replaced. Teak, oak, and clear heart redwood paneling, floors, and cabinetry were given new life. There are two kitchens, one on the first floor and a commercial kitchen in the finished basement easily accessible by the three-story elevator or a staircase. There are 6 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms a two-car garage, a guest house, formal dining room.
Courtesy of DPP, Matthew Berkley,
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