Greene & Greene Virtual Archives
James A. Culbertson House
Pasadena, California, 1902-10
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James A. Culbertson House
Pasadena, California

The Greenes sited the Culbertson house near the northwest corner of its lot in the Park Place tract of Pasadena, affording views of the Arroyo Seco below and the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance to the north. The preliminary front elevation design relates closely to an English-inspired design published by Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram in 1901. The Greenes’ design would be more compact but fully expressive of the Anglo-craftsman ideal then being promoted in Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman magazine and elsewhere. James Culbertson deserves credit for fostering a climate in which the Greenes could exercise new design ideas that were coming from England and the Continent. In reply to a letter from his client, Charles Greene wrote that he was in sympathy with the “William Morris movement” and that the interior of the house was inspired by his work. Culbertson possibly encouraged the Greenes' budding interest in Asian design and decorative arts, too. The Greenes' design for the living room's dark-stained, cedar interior (in its original 1902 phase) shows their earliest use of an Asian-inspired bracket detail over the window seat. The Greenes designed numerous additions and alterations for the house until James Culbertson’s death in 1915.