Greene & Greene Virtual Archives
Charles Millard Pratt House
Nordhoff (Ojai), California, 1908-11
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Charles Millard Pratt House
Nordhoff (Ojai), California

Charles Millard Pratt became an officer in the Standard Oil Company after his father’s firm the Charles M. Pratt Company, which had developed “Astral Oil,” an internationally successful lighting kerosene, merged with Standard Oil. In 1908, the youngest Pratt wanted to build a winter home in the Ojai Valley north of Los Angeles on a fourteen-acre lot in a steep ravine. There were no suburban lot size constraints here as the Greenes had with the Blacker and Gamble houses and they used the hilly topography to define a less formal rural plan. Since the Pratts owned part interest in the nearby Foothills Hotel, which they used for entertaining, they only needed the house to serve as “sleeping quarters” and family relaxation. The house was designed in a V-shape with the pivotal point of the “V” to serve for reception; living room and entry hall while a two-story bedroom wing and kitchen wing completed the plan. The chimneys and foundations were constructed of sandstone boulders from the area and the house was sheathed in stained split-redwood shakes. The roofline mirrors the topography of the surrounding mountainside. Charles Greene designed the interior furnishings but it was Henry Greene who saw to the frequent visits for upkeep and alterations. The Pratts occupied the house for the first time in 1911; however, living room furniture that reflected the Greenes increasingly decorative approach was not designed until 1912. These pieces were among the Greenes’ finest works.