Greene & Greene Virtual Archives
Mrs. L.A. Robinson House
Pasadena, California, 1905-06
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Mrs. L.A. Robinson House
Pasadena, California

Laurabelle Arms Robinson, heiress to a Youngstown, Ohio, iron fortune, married attorney Henry M. Robinson, protegé of her uncle, David Tod Ford. For the Robinsons, the Greenes designed a residence, its furniture, lighting fixtures, leaded art-glass, metalwork, and landscaping. Plans were prepared in August 1905. The landscape plan was orchestrated to give ceremony to the approach to the house. The house is not the elaborate lodge of split shakes and boulders that one might have expected based on the Greenes’ work to date, but it is instead an imposing mass of stucco and half-timbering. The influence of Japan resonates in the exposed structural posts and profiled beams. The half-timbering recalls Germanic and English traditions. The tapered, stucco buttresses on the exterior may have been suggested to the Greenes through Charles's familiarity with the work of C. F. A. Voysey, who used the device often. Another possible influence--the adobe buttresses of early Spanish mission architecture of the Southwest--also merits consideration. Details in the Robinson's den resonate with American Indian design themes, too, including the stylized feathers depicted in the leaded-art-glass casement windows, and table lamp of red oak, designed by Greene & Greene in 1906, that includes Indian motifs.