Homes Sweet Homes: Bungalow Heaven Home Tour – Pasadena

Homes Sweet Homes:  Bungalow Heaven 2017 Home Tour – Pasadena

P1010032Wow, has it already been a year?  If you love to view the interior of historic homes (and not be arrested for trespassing) while strolling along beautiful tree-lined streets, then the 28th Annual Bungalow Heaven Home Tour on Sunday, April 30, is right up your driveway.  Oh, and the gorgeous exterior of houses you will see along the way make for a fantastic day.

The theme for the 2017 Tour is “It’s All In the Details” and “celebrates beautiful wood, tile, concrete and brick that skilled artisans used in Bungalow Heaven’s many characteristic Arts & Crafts-era, Spanish revival and English-style homes.”

P1040984Here is your brief Bungalow Heaven history lesson.

P1040957Bungalow Heaven is a 16-block area of Pasadena, CA (north of the 210 freeway), bordered by Orange Grove Blvd. and Washington Blvd; and Lake and Hill avenues.  Most of the homes in this area were constructed in the early 20th century (the photos of the homes you see here are ones I took roaming the streets during the last two home tours, and all are indicative of the entire neighborhood).

P1000989                P1040952From the Bungalow Heaven website: “The Arts and Crafts movement stood in opposition to the increasing industrialization of the time, emphasizing the artistry of the individual craftsman and the subtle beauty of nature. The bungalows of Bungalow Heaven reflect these principles through their unique architectural details and the wide use of natural and native materials. The typical bungalow is one-and-a-half stories high, with an open floor plan, wide verandas and a sloping roof. The interior features many built-ins, including cabinets, shelves and seats.”

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Besides the Arts & Craft homes, there are other architectural styles such as Spanish Revival, English-style homes and others.

P1040978According to one story I read, back in 1985, a developer tore down an historic two-story craftsman in Bungalow Heaven, and soon the neighborhood had a not-so-lovely looking apartment building.  Banding together, neighbors took to the streets with petitions to preserve this historic area and prevent that kind of nonsense from happening again.  Four years later, Bungalow Heaven became the first Historic Landmark District in Pasadena.  Even though we moved here in 1996, they allowed our street to join, too.

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Bungalow Heaven has also received national attention.  In 2009, the Bungalow Heaven Landmark District was designated as one of the 10 great places in America by the American Planning Association due to its “significantly important historic homes. Bungalow Heaven is truly remarkable in that there are more than a thousand historic homes in the neighborhood.”

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In 2002, Sunset magazine named Bungalow Heaven as the “Best Neighborhood in the West.”  Obviously they didn’t hear my music playing.

P1010021On April 30 you will have the opportunity to visit several of these historic homes.  Once again our home will not be included on the tour since I refuse to make the bed.  The tours are led by docents who describe the history and architectural highlights of each home (no photos are allowed inside the houses).

P1040982If you get hungry along the walk, there are food trucks…

P1010046 (1)…and even some entertainment to enjoy as you munch your lunch.

P1010047Our dogs really love the home tour, but are not allowed inside any of them.

P1040967It seems their barking makes it difficult to hear the docents.

Demonstrations of restoration work…

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…can be viewed outside of various homes along the walking route.

P1010017Other corgis and dogs also can be seen throughout the day (by the way dog owners, bring along your poop bags!).

P1010024Speaking of which, should you get pooped during the tour, hop on the Bungalow Heaven Trolley and sing like you’re Judy Garland.  The trolley ride will once again offer 45-minute narrated tours of this Landmark District for $10 per person (I told you those streets are tree-lined).

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To give you an idea of what you might see and hear on this tour, I have chosen few houses (and a little of their history thanks to the booklet received when you purchase your ticket).

P1040944In 1915, the Sutton family hired the firm of famed architect John C. Austin (dubbed by many the “Dean of Los Angeles architects”).  Austin practiced from 1894 until the 1960s (his firm was also responsible for the Griffith Observatory, L.A. City Hall and many other important structures), and practice made perfect for the house his firm created on Mar Vista Avenue for the Suttons.

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The house has an unusual entry and a very cool porch.  The construction cost for this gorgeous home…$2,360!  That’s probably less than the monthly mortgage being paid now.

For a little added benefit, as we walked through the backyard of this house a couple of years ago, we were serenaded by some lovely ladies with terrific voices.

P1010037Unlike this guy in the little backyard pond, they did not fish for compliments.

P1010039This Spanish Revival home I visited on North Holliston Avenue a couple of years ago still retains many of the original features from when it was constructed in the mid 1920s…

P1010004…plus it had a very nice backyard to wander through, as well.

P1010009Next door we meandered through a 1925 English Tudor-style home.  It was designed by the same architect as the previous house, but was quite different in style.

P1010002The 1913 craftsman on Mar Vista looked interesting, but it was later on the day, and the line was too long; plus the corgis were ready for their nap.  However, the history of that home’s developer, James H. Gaut, is interesting…yet has a tragic ending.

P1010053Gaut’s wife, Helen Lukens Gaut, was the daughter of his former business partner, and she might have actually designed this house. In 1910, James was involved in a freak accident when his foot got caught in railroad tracks as a train rapidly approached.  At the last second, he freed himself and jumped, but the train ran over his right arm, severing it.  Four years later, the 36-year old Gaut was killed when his car lost its brakes going down a street. The car ended up careening over a cliff into the Arroyo Seco.

The final craftsman I toured (on North Chester) was constructed in 1913. The brochure said it boasted “a profusion of prominent gables,” yet Clark was nowhere to be found.

P1010014You’ve heard of tract homes?  Well, in Bungalow Heaven, I’ve  even seen a tractor home before.  I swear I wasn’t plowed.

IMG_3087The Bungalow Heaven Home Tour runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 if you purchase in advance and $25 on the day of event (ticketing tent at McDonald Park…corner of Mountain and Mar Vista).

P1000998Recently I walked around Bungalow Heaven as we do most weekends and many nights.  As you walk from house to house, check out the neighborhood.


Even the homes not on the tour are gorgeous.


Bungalow Heaven is a great place to stop…


…and smell the roses.

Some residents have gone native.


You might even get in a little reading along the way.

You’ll pass by houses larger…


…or a little smaller, but…

…they have one thing in common. They’re all beautiful!


MaiTaiTom’s helpful hint for you…Get there as close to 10 a.m. as possible.  If you pick up the early home tours, the lines are relatively minuscule.  As the day progresses, the lines become much longer, but it’s a good way to meet new people.

P1040936And if you’re lucky, you might run into a couple of cute corgis along the way.  You’ll be able to hear them coming!

Bungalow Heaven Home Tour
Sunday, April 30, 2017
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  • Advance Tickets: $25 (Day of Event: $30)

Advance ticket website:


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