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Pasadena Craftsman maintains historical integrity

Designed in 1910 by architect Arthur S. Heineman, the home is a treasure trove of original woodwork, leaded glass and period lighting fixtures.

July 17, 2011|By Dinah Eng
  • Ron Stinnett
Ron Stinnett (63195515.jpg )

This light and airy Mission Revival Craftsman house in Pasadena, designed in 1910 by architect Arthur S. Heineman, is a treasure trove of original woodwork, leaded glass and period lighting fixtures.

Heineman, along with his brother Alfred, created many of the Craftsman-era houses still standing in the Pasadena area. This home, in the city's Prospect Park National Register Historic District, often hosted gatherings of well-known Pasadena artists and members of the Caltech and Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientific communities.

More recently, the gated estate was the family home for Albert Hibbs and his wife, Marka. Hibbs, a pioneer space physicist, was known for decades as "the voice of JPL," explaining America's space missions to audiences through radio and television.

"My parents needed a place big enough for a blended family of four teenagers and the two of them," said Victoria Hibbs, a math and science teacher who lives in the home. "At the time, Craftsman wasn't hip or cool, and they knew the house needed work. But my dad was an engineer and a physicist, and embraced the challenge. The family ethic was to maintain the historical integrity of the house."

The mahogany front door opens to a two-story reception area with a rock fireplace and built-in Craftsman-style pendulum clock, original to the house. Higher ceiling heights and windows bring light into every room, and French doors open to terraces and balconies throughout.

To one side of the entry is the dining room, with original linen wall coverings, a fireplace and doors with leaded glass that open to the breakfast room. A butler's pantry leads to the kitchen, which features a center island cook stove, built-in desk and bookcase. The wood, windows and storage space in the room reflect the Craftsman era.

On the other side of the entry is a round room with curved glass windows that can be used as an office or reading room. The living room, which includes a large picture window with built-in seating and bookcases, also has a fireplace with an artistic copper hood.

Beyond the living room is a wing of bedrooms, including a bathroom with the original tub and shower. Across the hall is a media room that Hibbs originally used as his darkroom.

Transom windows above each of the bedroom doors create cross-ventilation through the wing.

The master bedroom has a fireplace, four closets and a dressing alcove with built-in storage that leads to the sitting area. The sitting area flows into an enclosed sleeping porch that opens to the pool outside. The master bathroom has original mini-Subway tiles and a claw-footed tub.

Upstairs, two bedrooms share a full bathroom with shower. One bedroom opens to an outdoor balcony patio space.

Although most of the house has maple flooring, one side of the upstairs wing is done with fir wood flooring, once delineating the servants' quarters. A back staircase leads to a hallway downstairs.

Outdoors, an 800-square-foot swimming lagoon is lined with boulders found behind JPL that were placed on the property in 1971. The entertainment area includes a changing room with full bathroom, a wet bar with sink and refrigerator, and a conversation grotto framed by ferns and greenery.

To submit a candidate for Home of the Week, send high-resolution, un-retouched color photos on a CD, written permission from the photographer to publish the images and a description of the house to Lauren Beale, Business, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Send questions to

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