Real Estate Report: 1956 Modernism with Japanese Influences



Buff, Straub & Hensman was one of Los Angeles area’s most influential and successful architectural firms, and their career started with post-and-beam houses like this one in Pasadena. It just hit the market this week, asking $1.375M, and it surprisingly kid-friendly for the 1950’s.

The Basics: A 7-bed, 2.5-bath house from 1956 on almost an acre in Pasadena, just above the Rose Bowl in the Arroyo Secco.

Not So Basic: Taking their cues from an earlier Japanese garden on the site, Buff, Straub & Hensman designed one of their most serene post-and-beam houses, and it retains much of its original features. The house is underpriced for the area, but it’s also on the National Register as a significant property, and we’re expecting a bidding war among house collectors. Below, images from the listing, some vintage. The house wraps around an already-vintage Japanese garden— previous construction from the late-19th century estate that once occupied the site– and the property also has it’s own native oak grove. Below, views of the living room:

There are seven bedrooms, and it lo0ks like the kid’s are down a long hall open to the deck, opening with sliding doors that double as chalk boards. A parent-approved way of writing on walls:

Below, the tightly-organized, skylit kitchen with original finishes:

It opens into a huge family room. Someone might want to re-think the laundry placement, although this could also be the biggest laundry room anyone’s ever seen. Below, the dining room:

The Mello House, as it’s known, is not far from Greene & Greene’s 1908 Gamble House, another Pasadena landmark that takes its cues from Japanese design. It needs work, a few new bathrooms to bring it up to 21st century standards, plus some sensitive landscape restoration. Good stuff, though— commenters at Curbed LA went wild over it– hope you do, too.

Listing: 541 Fremont Drive, Pasadena  [Redfin]