Gamble Mansion History and Preservation

The Gamble Mansion, often referred to as the David B. Gamble House, is a famous American Craftsman residence in Pasadena, California, and it was created by the architectural company Greene and Greene. The Gamble House is the best illustration of Craftsman style construction from the early 20th century.

All of its original furnishings, which were originally created by the architects, have been maintained. On the National Register of Historic Places is where the house is listed.

Gamble House History and Status

The Gamble home has important historical and contemporary architectural significance. Even now, the site receives up to 22,000 visitors a year who come to admire the distinctive aesthetic of the Greene brothers’ creations.

Because of its significance in the Arts and Crafts movement and the outstanding work done by the City of Pasadena and the University of Southern California (USC) School of Architecture, the piece is significant. The Greene brothers and the Gamble House were both constructed during the Arts and Crafts movement.

The Victorian era, when frills and decoration were prevalent, gave way to a far more straightforward design. The Arts and Crafts movement’s American Bungalow design epitomizes its formative years as a significant architectural trend.

Gamble House Design and Architecture

The Gamble Mansion: Floor Plan and Interior

The three-story wood framed Gamble Mansion is built using an attractive common area layout and elaborate woodworking. A guest bedroom, dining room, den, kitchen with pantry and cold room, four bathrooms, and an entryway with handcrafted red mission tilework make up the first floor of the house.

The Gamble family’s more private living quarters were intended to be on the second floor of the building. There are six bedrooms on the second storey, all of which have center hall layouts.

The bedrooms on the second level used to be personal quarters for the Gamble family as well as quarters for household personnel. The Greene and Greene memorial library is located on the third floor of the house, which was formerly used as a pool room. The house also has a full basement with rooms for storage, a heating system, a darkroom, and laundry.

Style of the Gamble Mansion

The Greene brothers believed that nature and the outdoors were essential to their feelings of personal and professional style. In their work, but particularly in their approaches to Arts and Crafts architecture, they had a penchant for fusing the natural world with the marvels of architecture. One of the Greene brothers’ biggest accomplishments is the hybrid style they developed between Arts and Crafts and Japanese architecture.

Like many other visionaries of architecture, including Frank Lloyd Wright, the Greenes desired complete control over the buildings they worked on. Rich people hired the Greene brothers to design and build not only the interiors and exteriors of their homes, but frequently also the unique furniture and accessories that went into their finished designs.

The Gamble House Interior

The house’s rooms were constructed from a variety of woods. Sequential placement of surfaces made of teak, maple, oak, Port Orford cedar, and mahogany highlights differences in color, tone, and texture. The fast, interlocking joinery on the main staircase was left exposed, and the inlay in the custom furniture created by the architects matches the inlay in the tiled fireplace surrounds.

One of the wooden panels in the foyer opens to a coat closet, while another panel conceals a door that leads to the kitchen.

Flowers and trees that are carved in the windows, doors, and lanterns bring the deep connections to the outside inside as well. The dining room table’s contour, the cloud lift in each window’s transom bar, the recessed handles on drawers, and the ebony frame of the master bedroom furnishings are just a few examples of the indigenous Japanese shapes that can be seen throughout the entire home.

The cantilevered second story over the front terrace, the window boxes and shingles on exterior walls, the long roof lines and Swiss-style exterior elevation south of the front door, the living room inglenook, and the Gothic fireplace in the den are additional features of the design that have European influences.

Exterior of The Gamble Mansion

The facade of Gamble House is very impressive. Several porches are present on the property, including three sizable sleeping porches that protrude from the second level of the house and are adjacent to the family’s private bedrooms. Handmade brick and terra cotta terraces flank the staircase leading up to the front door of the house on the first level of the exterior. A distinctive feature of California bungalow architecture is this interior-exterior living.

The extended porches are supported by round, tapered beams that protrude from the outside of the house, giving the home’s exterior design an artistic flourish. The house is insulated with thick layers of shingles, and even today the roof’s unique shape keeps the interior cool without the need for air conditioning.

Incorporating stone and bricks was done for both functional and aesthetic purposes. The complex external woodwork is perched above stone or brick components that operate to shield the wood from the possibility of rotting by balancing it away from the flat surfaces below that may have encouraged wood rot or other moisture issues to influence the stability of the structure.

Restoration of the Gamble House

On October 1, 2003, the general contractor, Voss Industries, pushed their temporary office trailer at the south end of The Gamble House driveway to start the restoration process. Six years have passed since the initial consideration of restoration, and now, following extensive planning, study, evaluation by historic consultants, and campaigning, we are entering the quickest but most exciting phase: the restoration itself. It is anticipated that this stage of the work will take nine months.

In August 2004, the exterior renovation of the Gamble Mansion is finished. The goals of reducing the impacts of 95 years of exposure to the sun and weather and maintaining the historic fabric into the future have been achieved. 262 Douglas fir rafter tails and beam ends had rotten and diseased wood gently removed before being filled with a breathable epoxy. The external redwood shakes were cleaned and treated with wood preservative, and the roof was replaced with a comparable material. Doors, window frames, and screen windows were also fixed and restored. The guiding principle was to interpret the outside without harming the existing structure and to bring it back into line with the architects’ original intent.

Gamble House Tours

On Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays, they are accessible for tours.
Reservations should be made in advance.

Gamble House Virtual Tour

The Gamble House is often available for tours, however Covid offers a virtual tour that describes the house’s architecture and history.

Questions and Answers

Why is the Gamble Mansion famous?

  • The Gamble House is the best illustration of Craftsman style construction from the early 20th century. All of its original furnishings, which were originally created by the architects, have been maintained. On the National Register of Historic Places is where the house is listed.

Why is it called the Gamble Mansion?

  • The architects of gamble house greene and greene created the Gamble House in 1908. As a winter home, David and Mary Gamble of Cincinnati, Ohio, commissioned it.

What is significant about the Gamble Mansion?

  • The Gamble House is a noteworthy piece of architecture because it is the best representation of Greene and Greene’s work in the Los Angeles region. The building’s design is among the best examples of both California bungalow and Arts and Crafts architecture. The residence has cultural significance as the backdrop for the 1985 film Back to the Future.

What was the Gamble Mansion made out of?

  • The majority of the Gamble House is composed of wood. Along with handcrafted brick and tile work, stone is also employed in the exterior construction. Both the façade and interior of the house have wood as its main element.

The Gamble Mansionis a what kind of house?

  • One of the best illustrations of the American Arts and Crafts movement is The Gamble House. Due to its distinctive exterior elements, the house is frequently referred to as an American Craftsman or California Bungalow.

Is the Gamble House in Back to the Future?

  • Yes, the Gamble House’s exterior can be seen in the Back to the Future movie from 1985. It serves as Doc Brown’s imagined residence and workshop in the movie. The interiors of the residence and carriage house were reproduced on a sound stage due to the delicate nature of the furnishings adorning the interior of the home, even though the exteriors of the buildings were used in the movie.

Who is the owner of the Pasadena Gamble Mansion?

  • The Gamble family gifted the property to the City of Pasadena, who now owns the Gamble Mansion in Pasadena, California. The family’s determination to preserve the historic home prevented a sale from going through, therefore the house was given to the city in 1966.

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