A pair of repolished Greene & Greene gems

Times Staff Writer

Like a well-preserved antique with its palette of gleaming Port Orford cedar, redwood and maple, the Duncan-Irwin House recalls a genteel era when wealthy Easterners and Midwesterners made their way to orange-blossom-scented Pasadena.

The origins of this house can be traced to Kate Duncan. A dress designer for wealthy society women, she purchased a lot in the Park Place tract overlooking the Arroyo Seco and in 1901 had a six-room cottage moved onto her property, according to research by Pasadena building biographer Tim Gregory.

Physician Theodore M. Irwin Jr. bought the home in 1906 and asked Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene (the design team known as Greene & Greene) to remodel it and add a second story.

The result was one of their first Japanese-inspired Craftsman bungalows, two stories loaded with woodwork, from the shining golden-oak floors of the first floor to the dark-stained, exposed rafters on the second floor.


To bring the outdoors in, Greene & Greene placed a balcony around the existing inner courtyard with its original fountain.

Subsequent owners have turned the maids’ quarters into two guest bedrooms, remodeled the kitchen and added a pool and spa.

About this house: The Duncan-Irwin House, named for its first two owners, is one of 11 Greene & Greenes in the Park Place tract, including the Gamble House and the James Culbertson House. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house is also in the California Register of Historical Resources.

Asking price: $4.5 million


Size: The house has seven bedrooms and five bathrooms in 6,400 square feet.

Features: Ornamental woodwork; art-glass windows; high ceilings in the master suite; five fireplaces, two with original Grueby tiles (green in the formal dining room and blue in the formal library); a game room with a skylight; guest quarters with living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom over the garage; and terraces and porches.

Where: Pasadena, overlooking the Rose Bowl.

Listing Agent: Steve Davis, (626) 796-2707