Alongtime resident of Southern California, architect Douglas S. Ewing, AIA, and his wife have a love for the older sections of Los Angeles. As an accomplished architect, he also has a deep appreciation for the history of residential design, particularly those forms that first took hold in L.A. in the early part of the last century and spread elsewhere in the country.
There is no section of town that is older or more desirable than central Pasadena, nor is there a form of architecture as closely related to this town than the Craftsman style. Many Craftsman masterpieces line its older streets.
One home, in particular, situated in a very central location, had been neglected and went vacant for over a decade before Ewing and his wife entered negotiations to purchase the dilapidated Craftsman chalet. And though those negotiations did not result in a sale, as luck would have it, Ewing was recommended by the broker and brought in to completely restore the home for the eventual owners, a young family.
After more than three years of research, design and construction, Ewing completely restored the home very close to its original condition. For its efforts, the Ewing team received a preservation award from the city of Pasadena, and at the Remodeling Show last month, the architecture firm also received a Gold Award from this magazine in the category of Historic Restoration.
“To me it is symbolic of the Adirondack mountains. It is a woodsy kind of place,” says Ewing. “There are houses in the Adirondacks — a place where I have traveled extensively — that have this kind of feel. That is why I liked it.”
Researching its Origins
The home had lost many of its original features by the early 2000s, when Ewing first encountered the property. It was clearly built in the Craftsman style, but much of the exterior trim had been replaced. Very little of the trellis work in front of the house and in the yard remained. On the inside, the home’s kitchens and bathrooms had been gutted and replaced at some point during the late 1950s or early 1960s. The key for Ewing was to try to locate original plans for the house and perhaps to obtain the name of architect in the process. Unfortunately, records for the house were almost non-existent. A breakthrough did come, however, in the form of a 1920s newspaper article about the home, complete with a color lithograph of the front elevation with the caption: “Residence of Dr. F.K. Ledyard.”