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True blue to Greene ethics

Home of the Week

The Gould home in Ventura was designed in the 1920s by Henry Mather Greene, one of the famed brothers.

October 15, 2006|Diane Wedner | Times Staff Writer

When one thinks of Greene & Greene architecture, Ventura doesn't usually spring to mind. But Tom and Mabel Gould commissioned Henry Mather Greene to design their family home -- a two-story Craftsman bungalow -- on the 10 acres Tom's parents purchased there in 1890 and gave to the young couple as a wedding gift in 1911. The home, the only Greene & Greene in Ventura, has remained in the family for more than 80 years.

Construction of the handcrafted home began in 1923, following a couple of delays, including the addition of 50 acres to the site. Greene spent a weekend with the family to become acquainted with the Goulds' "country lifestyle," according to family records, and to assist in the selection of the building site.

While Greene contemplated how best to construct the house for maximum natural light, Mabel Gould sketched the floor plan. Mabel, an avid gardener, also had a hand in the landscaping, designed by California native-plant pioneer Theodore Payne. She shared his interest in native plants.

The Goulds and their children, Richard and Margaret, moved into the house in January 1925. Over the years, acreage has been sold. Today, the house, garage and gardens occupy about three-quarters of an acre; the rest of the land is undeveloped.

Most of the house has retained its original design, with the exception of the renovated kitchen, a hall, one bedroom on the first floor and the dining-room china cabinet. Two bedrooms and a sitting room were added on the second floor.

About this house: It is considered one of the most well-documented of the Greene & Greene collection. The Goulds have maintained "every scrap of correspondence that transpired between Greene, the family and contractors," said Cynthia Thompson, the historic preservation consultant who handled the home's nomination and acceptance to the National Register of Historic Places. She added that the house also is considered by Greene & Greene scholars to be the most important example of Henry Mather Greene's work. His brother, Charles, was considered the artist, while Henry typically contributed the conceptual vision. Also, it's the only Greene house on the register that is attributed to just one brother.

In addition to its national register designation, the property has a conservation easement on the land, facade and interior, which legally spells out the original Greene designs, which cannot be altered. Pasadena Heritage monitors the easement. That organization's annual Craftsman Weekend, which includes a tour, will be held on Friday at the Gould House. Reservations are required, and bus transportation is provided; call (626) 441-6333.

Asking price: $2,450,000

Size: The 4,300-square-foot house has five bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms. The property consists of three separate but contiguous parcels on nearly 2 acres.

Features: The house is sited to maximize views of the ocean in front and the Ventura hills in the back. It includes a large, open living room with oak floors, handmade bookcases, a Batchelder-tiled English fireplace and Greene-designed mirror; a sitting room with tiled fireplace; large dining room with a hand-made leaded, stained-glass china buffet also designed by Greene; custom redwood molding and baseboards throughout the home; hallway with maple flooring and barrel ceiling; custom handles on linen cabinets; an exterior breezeway with glass doors; a lily pond; outdoor terraces; and a native-plant garden.

Where: Ventura

Listing agents: Jerry Breiner, Re/Max Gold Coast Realtors, (805) 477-3666 and Crosby Doe, Mossler & Doe Inc., (310) 550-3579.

diane.wedner@latimes.com

To submit a candidate for Home of the Week, please send color interior and exterior photos (copies only, please; we cannot return the pictures) and a brief description of the house, including what makes the property unusual, to Ruth Ryon, Real Estate Section, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012; or e-mail homeoftheweek@ latimes.com.

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