Vintage SoCal: Pasadena villa stands as a tribute to its first owner

This Italian Revival villa in Pasadena is the product of the life experiences and sensibilities of its original owner, Katherine S. Van Dyke.

The wealthy and accomplished widow had studied art in Paris and traveled throughout Europe. While in Italy, she became enamored of a Tuscan winery and wanted to re-create it as her personal residence.

Designed by architect Edward C. Kent and built in 1930, the home’s front facade maintains a striking resemblance to the mansion at the center of the Beaux Arts-style Villa del Cigliano winery in the Chianti Classico area.

The mother of two decorated the residence with a collection of Chinese art, according to research by building biographer Tim Gregory.


Among Van Dyke’s many talents, she was a pastel portraitist, an interior decorator, an avid golfer and she put on amateur theatrical productions. Her pursuits often made the pages of local newspapers.

Inside the nearly 7,000-square-foot main house is a grand two-story salon, a formal dining room, a formal living room, a conservatory/family room, a modernized kitchen and an office. Tall ceilings, iron window grates and period authentic stonework are among the details.

There are six bedrooms and seven bathrooms in the main house. The studio-style guest cottage has another bedroom and bathroom.

In keeping with its vineyard inspiration, the home contains a 1,300-bottle climate-controlled wine cellar with an additional storage room.


A grape vine-covered allée leads to a workroom off the two-car garage, which has a mechanics pit under one of the spaces.

Formal gardens, brick pathways and a swimming pool with a changing room complete the more than half-acre grounds.

The property, at 815 Fairfield Circle in Pasadena, is priced at $5.985 million. Tracy Alderson and Susanne Kallis-Hayek of Compass are the listing agents.

This occasional feature celebrates Southern California’s architectural heritage through residences built before 1960. Submit candidates for Vintage SoCal to