Real Estate Report: Architect’s 1962 House in Pasadena


As the listing says: “Designed as a modernist Roman Villa for John Kelsey and his family, wrapping around an Impluvium (a pool open to the sky within the house). The formal entrance gallery is a grand Miesian glass box.”

The Basics: a 3-bed, 3.5-bath house on a .6-acre lot with a pool and guest house in Pasadena, built in 1962. On the market 1 day and asking $2.595M. It qualifies for tax exemptions under California’s Mills Act to protect historic or contributing structures.

Not So Basic: the house was designed by John Kelsey for his own use. Ladd & Kelsey— his business partner was the (then) slightly better-known Thornton Ladd— designed a number of important buildings in the LA area but are best remembered for the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. Whatever its ancient Roman origins, it’s a simple, well-ordered Modernist “H” on an axis.

The entry court, foyer and long pool run down the center, to a fountain:

In the living room, Noguchi, Jacobsen and Vasarely plus a dining room that gives new meaning to the term “formal”  with another Noguchi lamp and Cantilever chairs by Mies van der Rohe:

I’m liking the limited materials palette— low cut pile carpet, white plaster walls, seamless paneling and walls of glass. Whoever did the staging followed through on this with a muted, limited color palette and blasts of orange. A powder room to reckon with:

Another view of the pool, above right, and below, one side of the house opens to a deck and the woods, with a Bertoia chair that’s been cast out for being too purple”

And the kitchen, off the entry courtyard, looks like it’s been sensitively rehabbed from the original. More Bertoia, in orange:

Most of us would think of this as a big, comfortable house, a little formal, perhaps, but high-ceilinged and serene. Unsurprisingly, looking at the aerial view at the listing link below, we see it’s by far the smallest house on the block. At least two of which are actual chateaux.

Listing: 1160 Chateau Road, Pasadena  [Redfin]

More: For more about Ladd & Kelsey’s work, check out John Kelsey’s site. Plus we’re huge fans of Deasy Penner & Partners, the real estate firm that handles of lot of Los Angeles’ most interesting domestic architecture— here’s a few of their properties we’ve fallen for over the past year.