Designed and built in 1967 by architect and former Pasadena Mayor Mortimer J. Matthews, this post-and-beam house was left in its original condition for nearly half a century—and with good reason. It was a rare specimen.
Architect David Montalba’s charge was to fix what ailed the tired residence and bring it up to current fire safety standards, all the while preserving its mid-century modern spirit, distinctive cruciform footprint, and folded “gull wing” roof planes.
He did so with a few subtle, yet transformative moves. Although the existing structure enjoyed floor-to-ceiling windows and doors with sweeping views, its interiors were dark. To remedy this problem, the architect worked with Sarlan Builders to knock out partition walls, replace the glazing, and strategically lift portions of the roof to channel more natural light into the home’s central axis. The west elevations were elongated and outfitted with full-height glass doors and clerestories to capture evening light.
Blending contemporary and mid-mod sensibilities, the restored house now integrates both old and new materials. Decaying portions of its redwood cladding were replaced, while vintage teak millwork was restored. At the same time, complementary new elements such as polished concrete and terrazzo floors and acid-washed concrete outdoor seating were introduced.
The harmonic mix of old and new is perhaps best represented in a master bath featuring a custom terrazzo bathing pool, walnut cabinetry, and stainless steel fixtures. Layering elements of opacity and transparency, the serene space features a glass curtain wall that disappears into the exterior redwood siding. From there, it opens onto a semi-enclosed private courtyard with succulent plantings, obscured glass walls, and a “floating” ceiling with an open-air skylight.