A Craftsman in Pasadena: The Frederick C. Grable House

by hookedonhouses on February 12, 2012

There’s something about a classic Craftsman house like this that always grabs my attention–starting with that great front door. It was built in 1907 by Frederick C. Grable and Clarence Austin, whose architectural firm was responsible for designing many beautiful homes in Pasadena in the early 1900s.

The listing says, “This historic home was a passion project for the current owner who completed the renovations with painstaking attention to detail and in the highest quality.” It’s on the market for $1,775,000, so let’s take a look!

The house has new solar panels that generate enough electricity to run the entire property (which means no electric bill!).

I was surprised by the kitchen–didn’t expect it to be so white! According to the floorplans, there’s a breakfast room off the kitchen we can’t see here.

There are 4 bedrooms and 4 baths. This bedroom has a wall of built-in storage, including a ladder to help you reach the cabinets at the top:

The lower level family room:

The kitchenette in the lower level is closer to what I expected the main kitchen to look like:

The Pasadena Heritage Society chose it as one of five architecturally significant houses featured during the 2010 Craftsman Home Tour.

Want it? Check the listing by Ted Clark & Partners for more photos and information.

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Sara Paffhausen February 12, 2012 at 8:49 am

Beautiful… I love it. It reminds of Doc’s house in Back to the Future. Maybe they used this or a similar home for that movie.

Tami February 12, 2012 at 10:43 am

Sara, It looks very similar to the house in Back to the Future but that was The Gamble house by Greene & Greene. Also located in Pasadena. If you are ever in town you can take a docent guided tour of that one.

meghan February 12, 2012 at 9:00 am

I think I will be one of your only readers to say I really dislike this house. LOL It’s way to dark for my taste & a little weird layout for me :>) Although if someone gave it to me I’d happily live there.

pickygirl February 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I don’t like it either. Too brown for my taste, and it doesn’t look like there is anywhere comfortable to sit! (There is that one couch in the basement, but leather is often cold).

I think the shower is a lovely idea, but realistically, cold air would blow in on you….you really need a partial glass partition. And a filing cabinet for a bedside table? Really?

I love white kitchens but I find this one incongruous.

Just my .02.

Parnassus February 12, 2012 at 9:06 am

A wonderful house with beautiful and interesting rooms. The only room I don’t like is the bath with the green tiles–it’s really creepy to be surrounded by dark when bathing, and those diagonally-set tiles above are just plain ugly. The other problem is the small lot. With such a large house, and with all the greenery we can see out the windows, I was surprised to see the the house occupies almost half the lot.

I do love the woodwork and the rambling floor plan–always something interesting around the corner.

bermudaonion (Kathy) February 12, 2012 at 9:08 am

It is gorgeous! I would love to have solar panels and no electric bill!

Jo Batzer February 12, 2012 at 9:48 am

LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing. Even though the craftsman style is not for everyone-you can’t deny the craftsmanship and details that go into them. The very white kitchens are typical of that style during that time period. It was meant to appear more clean and sterile. Another great example-some would say the ‘posterchild’ of craftsman excellence is the Gamble House-also in Pasedena built by Greene and Greene. http://www.gamblehouse.org/

hookedonhouses February 12, 2012 at 10:01 am

Thanks, Jo!

Shari D. May 18, 2013 at 12:41 am

The primary thing that made Craftsman style homes so popular with the public at the time is they were just learning about why their little children were dying of those dreaded diseases that they just had no explanation or effective treatment for. All they could do before the germ theories were proposed and proven, was sit and watch their children die. And they did it mostly in those germ-trap Victorians that were packed full of things that were impossible to keep clean and hard to ventilate. All those heavy carpets, wall hangings and heavy velvet upholstered furniture and drapes, knick-knacks galore, table cloths on every table, wooden bedsteads that couldn’t be washed down and eventually got replaced with iron or brass. Kitchens with wooden floors and not very effective sanitary supplies, or food storage besides a wooden icebox. It all contributed.
Bungalows/Craftsmans offered them a way out of those bacteria traps and into something they could scrub and keep clean much easier. More effective cleaning supplies were also on the way, like bleach and Lysol.The bath and kitchen supply vendors grabbed on to that market with a vengeance, and marketed their “clean, sterile, white” tile and appliance stock everywhere they could. Even the Hoosier/Sellers cabinets were enameled or made partially out of steel that was washable. One woman’s magazine even started publishing a series of articles each month explaining the basic bacteriology and biology involved in keeping their houses clean, and why germs were the problem and where they came from.
The other thing was that kitchens had generally been the province of servants, and decorating the kitchens in the latest styles and colors was not a primary goal. This is also one reason they tended to be smaller – they were workrooms. Not family gathering places like they are today. Also, the grocery market did not consist of primarily packaged foods like we have today and need storage space for, so built in cabinets were sparse, and the rooms were smaller because of that as well.

Holley February 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

It is gorgeous! I think the white kitchen would be okay had they not gone with the pale yellow for the walls.

The bedroom with the built-in storage is fantastic. I remember that top shade of green in my grandfather’s house.

Love a good craftsman. I’m happy with my mid-century ranch, but I adore a craftsman. Anyone have some money they could lend me?

Karena February 12, 2012 at 10:01 am

I love the architecture and the kitchen!! The house is a bit dark for me, but absolutely historically significant!

Art by Karena

Pat February 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

While I greatly admire the design of the craftsman style, it is too dark for my taste. I know it would be a sin to lighten it up, but that would make it so much more appealing to me!

Sarah @ housecrazy February 12, 2012 at 11:38 am

Gosh – it’s amazing! They have some really nice period antiques in there as well. Just gorgeous!

Luciane at Homebunch.com February 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Honestly? There’s somethings I love about this house, the architecture is fantastic, but it feels a bit too dark for me. It might be the pictures or maybe I’m craving some light since it’s February and I live in Canada, which means, I’m missing sunshine! :-)

Wishing you a blessed week, my friend!


Luciane at HomeBunch.com

A.Men February 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm

not for me!

Erin February 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Love those Pasadena craftsmans, even though I think the living area is a little dark for today’s tastes. I used to live in Pasadena and loved to wander the streets near the Rose Bowl looking at houses.

Love the landscaping too — that’s exactly ‘right’ for a Pasadena craftsman.

ShabbyChick February 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm

How refreshing to see that someone kept a it craftsman! Far too many people buy these gorgeous homes and modernize them to death, paint all the woodwork and kill the spirit of them. The only jarring note in this house is that white kitchen!

Lisa Antoniou February 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Thank for bringing us so many beautiful homes to look at and read about. I do love the craftsman style but as many others feel, it is a bit dark. The woodwork is amazing! It makes me homesick for California as I sit here in my adoptive home of Queensland Australia! Thank you again for allowing me to have a connection with my home state!
Love your blog!

Marsha February 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Love it !!!!!

Karen February 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Just lovely! I imagine there have been walls removed in this house, though. In 1907, I don’t think Craftsman houses were built with huge living rooms like this one appears to have. I owned a house built in 1906, and it had warrens of tiny rooms. I understand that was for heating purposes, but that was on the cold east coast so maybe it was different in sunny Pasadena in those days. In any case, if I had a couple million to spare, I sure wouldn’t mind buying this house!

Sharon Reid February 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Love this house. I agree about the kitchen. My Dad was carpenter and could and did build a ranch style home with built in furniture for us, furniture for my apartment and a cottage! He taught carpentry and also was involved in the renovation to one of Canada’s historic inns.

Kim February 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm

What a gorgeous house. I just love the design and details of craftsman styled homes. They are definitely one of my favorite styles.

This home kind of reminds me of the one that was used as Dylan McKay’s house in “Beverly Hills 90210″ , but I know they aren’t the same house.

Dava February 12, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I agree – this old home reminds me of the legendary Gamble House – the ‘poster child’ of Craftsman excellence – well put! My boyfriend (a contractor out of Pasadena) actually worked on the Gamble House in the early ’80′s which is now owned by USC’s School of Architecture and open to the public. You can also check out it’s “sister home” online – The Blacker House. At the moment, he’s restoring the kitchen of a grand old Craftsman in Old Pasadena and I got the “nickel tour” by the owner – one of the perks of being a contractor’s girlfriend!

Pasadena Showcase House February 13, 2012 at 3:36 am

Beautiful home in our town – we are lucky to have some of the nicest craftsman houses in Pasadena!

Arie @ The Ugly Barn Farm February 13, 2012 at 10:14 am

I really like the step-down shower with the dark oil rubbed bronze fixtures. That’s my kind of shower! I think they did a marvelous job on restoring the home, you can see the craftsmanship, however the house is not my taste.

Paul February 13, 2012 at 10:56 am

I love this style of house. It feels very family friendly and casual but nice. Would anyone have a guess on what species of wood is used for the doors and trim?

Aryn February 13, 2012 at 11:57 am

Ooh! I like it!

I definitely like the kitchenette more than the main kitchen. Kind of a disappointment.

There’s a cute Craftsman in the Jennifer Garner movie “Catch & Release.” I think it was filmed in Vancouver though it’s set in Colorado. Cute movie, cute house!

hookedonhouses February 13, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I’ve seen “Catch & Release”–that’s a good one (the house, I mean!). :-)

theSavvySeeker February 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE craftsman style! Did I mention that I LOVE it? This home is amazing…so much character and wonderful woodwork throughout. Love the furniture and lighting. Thanks so much for sharing this kind of home on your blog!

Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess February 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I love when people do such faithful restorations of craftsman bungalows. And Pasadena is chock-full of beautiful ones. (But I agree… that white kitchen is completely unexpected! Not that it’s bad, it’s just… well… I can’t decide.) :-)

Lacy @ downMODERNhome.com February 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Love this house! The blend with the landscape and the wood finishes are lovely.

Kadie Kowalewski February 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm

This is an exceptionally great house, So much attention to detail even before you walk in. In my opinion there is nothing quite like an old house…so much history, charm, and unique character overall. I grew up in an old house and plan on owning one someday .(fingers crossed)

Elizabeth February 14, 2012 at 4:32 am

I love craftsman style, but this house was underwhelming to me. One small chair in front of the fireplace? Really?

Becky February 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Of all the decorating styles, it seems to me that Mission is the most incessantly demanding that EVERY single thing you put/build into the rooms has to follow the formula. Very rigid. That aspect alone puts me on guard. Grrr.

hookedonhouses February 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Very true. A lot of the furniture is built in so you can’t move it!

excitingLA February 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm

this house has a cute, little “whimsy” feel to it….it makes me want to snuggle up with a book and just enjoy a nice relaxing day. i especially love all the small details that really make the property unique, like: the front door, and the house numbers on the light, etc… those little touches really set the house apart.

Kathryn Griffin March 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Like the craftsman style, but wouldn’t want one of my own. Thanks for sharing . Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

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