Birth of the Cool

The first time I saw this hillside residence in Pasadena, it felt like I had traveled back in time to the 1950’s. The previous owner had built the modest, two-bedroom home for himself in 1952 and all of his original furniture and artwork remained in the house. There was even a “Cal Tjader and the Modern Mambo Quartet “album on the turntable next to the fireplace ready to go.

The new owners wanted to respect the original design and maintain the dramatic hillside vistas as they modified and updated the spaces to meet their needs. The new kitchen opens into the dining room/living room with high, vaulted ceilings and clerestories that maximize the views of tree canopy. Lighting, music and a new screening room can be controlled with a few clicks of a smart phone. The spaces provide a new home for the original furnishings, including the dining room table and chairs, side tables, light fixtures, artwork and living room chairs.

An airy, new master bedroom suite opens onto a new deck with a built-in spa and fountain. Sliding Shoji screens mounted with exposed hardware provide privacy for the bath and closet areas when desired.

Wide, telescoping Fleetwood doors blur the separation of interior and exterior spaces, bringing the sounds of the birds and the fountain into the living spaces to create a tranquil retreat in a busy, metropolitan area.