The Gamble House in Pasadena is one of the most significant houses ever built in America, and a quintessential example of the Arts and Crafts movement. Here are two descriptions, under their links:
The David B. Gamble house, constructed in 1908, is the internationally recognized masterpiece of the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts Movement in America. Built for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Company, the house is the most complete and best preserved example of the work of architects Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene who made a profound impact on the development of contemporary American architecture.
Greene and Greene broke sharply from the academic traditions of their time, using nature as a guide rather than the dictates of popular historical styles. The design of the Gamble House, while in part inspired by the wood-building vernacular traditions of such cultures as the Swiss and the Japanese, is a unique statement drawn from the life and character of Southern California. Wide terraces and open sleeping porches facilitate indoor-outdoor living, careful siting and cross-ventilation capture the cool breezes of the nearby Arroyo Seco, and broad, overhanging eaves shelter the house from the hot California sun. Wood is celebrated in the Greenes’ use of articulated joinery, exposed structural timbers and shingles which blend sensitively with the landscape.
In the Gamble House, furniture, built-in cabinetry, paneling, wood carvings, rugs, lighting, leaded stained glass, accessories and landscaping are all custom-designed by the architects, and were created in the true hand-crafted spirit of the Arts and Crafts movement. No detail was overlooked. Every peg, oak wedge, downspout, air vent, hardware fitting and switchplate is a contributing part of the design statement and harmonious living environment.
The Gamble House was designed in 1908 by architects Greene & Greene. It was commissioned by David and Mary Gamble, of Cincinnati, Ohio, as a retirement residence.
David Berry Gamble, a second generation member of the Procter and Gamble Company in Cincinnati, had retired from active work in 1895, and with his wife, Mary Huggins Gamble, began to spend winters in Pasadena, residing in the area’s resort hotels. By 1907, the couple had decided to build a permanent home in Pasadena. In June of that year, they bought a lot on the short, private street, Westmoreland Place, passing up the more fashionable address, South Orange Grove, known at that time as “Millionaires’ Row.”
At the same time the Gambles were selecting their lot on Westmoreland Place, a house designed by the firm of Greene & Greene was being built for John Cole on the adjacent property. Perhaps meeting the architects at the construction site, and certainly impressed with the other Greene & Greene houses in the neighborhood, the Gambles met with the brothers and agreed on a commission.
The architects worked closely with the Gambles in the design of the house, incorporating specific design elements to complement art pieces belonging to the family. Drawings for the house were completed in February 1908, and ground was broken in March. Ten months later, the house was completed, the first pieces of custom furniture were delivered, and The Gamble House became home to David Gamble, his wife Mary, and two of their three sons: Sidney and Clarence. (Their son Cecil was 24 at the time, and on his own.) In addition, Mary’s sister, Julia Huggins, came from Ohio to live with the family. By the summer of 1910, all the custom-designed furniture was in place.
Not bad for a house built in 1908. Take a tour!