Robert R. Blacker House

Robert R. Blacker House
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The work of the Greene brothers epitomized the high end of Art and Crafts architecture and design, and their Blacker House in Pasadena fulfilled the ideal of the Gesamtkunstwerk—a complete work of art integrated with its surroundings. The Blacker House was one of the commissions the brothers received between 1907 and 1909, which have become known as the “ultimate bungalows.” For this house, the architects were responsible not only for the building and its gardens, but also for the furniture, light fixtures, and much of the metalwork.

The Greenes united the house with the landscape using pergolas, terraces, balconies, and projecting timbers. Their medium was wood: redwood, pine, and cedar for the beams and shingles. The exterior of the house displayed these modest materials together with brick, chosen for its association with the immediate surroundings and for its pleasingly irregular shapes. The interiors demonstrate the Greenes’ equal delight in exotic woods, as well as their passion for the arts of Asia. The entry hall cabinet is made of teak and ebony with elaborately carved panels depicting California oaks. Furnishings for other rooms are made of the finest mahogany, often with fruitwood inlay. There are examples of the Greenes’ keen interest in structural revelation throughout the house, demonstrating exactly how the wood had been joined, interlocked, and sculpted.

- Wendy Kaplan (2005)