Greene & Greene Virtual Archives
Theodore Irwin, Jr. House
Pasadena, California, 1906-07
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Theodore Irwin, Jr. House
Pasadena, California

In 1906, Theodore Irwin and his wife, of Oswego, New York, hired the Greenes to redesign a home they had purchased from Katherine Duncan. The home is in the Japanese tradition with landscape, terraces, and walkways carefully composed to harmonize with the house and one another. On the upper level, the horizontal lines of the house are established with casement windows, balcony railings, rafter tails, and protruding beam-ends. On the west elevation there is a two-story gabled tower and a massive brick-and-boulder chimneystack. A courtyard fountain is the main focus of the interior, and cross ventilation is provided via French doors that open onto the court’s patio. The living room has a broad raised hearth and fireplace and a window seat nearby that adds to the image of warmth and domestic comfort. On the east side of the dining room is the Greenes’ first actual use of Grueby tiles in their designs. The house had five entrances, none of which seemed primary, so in July 1908, Irwin asked the Greenes to design a more formal entry on the southwest by adding a portico, door and steps from the walkway to the terrace to make a more obvious pedestrian entrance. Some additional interior alterations were to remove a defunct staircase landing from the middle of the living room. Around the same time a bath and closet was added. In 1917, the Greenes designed a wood base and monogram for a bronze Buddha at the house. In 1926, Henry Greene designed a second-level garage addition for Thomas P. Smith Jr., a later owner of the Irwin house.