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Walter Linwood Richardson House
Porterville, California, 1929
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Walter Linwood Richardson House
Porterville, California

The Richardson ranch house occupies a site overlooking Porterville's citrus fields. From the hill on which the house sits, the majestic, snow-capped Sierra Nevada range can be seen in the distance to the east. The rust-red walls of the house are adobe brick made from the earth of the hillside. Similarly, the foundation and chimney are of metamorphic rock extracted from the hill, and the terrace paving of sandstone flags was quarried from the site. Designed by Henry Greene, the modified U-shaped plan of the house was initially suggested by Walter Richardson, who probably knew that the Greenes had used the courtyard idea successfully in the past. The front door opens directly into the living room, a large space dominated by a massive stone chimney. Steel-sash casement windows open to views of the valley and mountains to the north and west. Overhead 14" x 14" Douglas fir beams support a ceiling of 2" x 14" redwood tongue-and-groove panels, brushed and finished with a wax coat over a silver-gray stain (the formula of which Henry Greene kept secret from his clients). Facing the garden on the rear terrace is a massive exterior fireplace on the back side of the living room chimney, a compelling focal point for outdoor life on cool evenings.