James A. Culbertson House
The Greenes sited the Culbertson house near the northwest corner
of its lot in the Park Place tract of Pasadena, affording views
of the Arroyo Seco below and the San Gabriel Mountains in the
distance to the north. The preliminary front elevation design
relates closely to an English-inspired design published by Boston
architect Ralph Adams Cram in 1901. The Greenes’ design
would be more compact but fully expressive of the Anglo-craftsman
ideal then being promoted in Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman
magazine and elsewhere. James Culbertson deserves credit for
fostering a climate in which the Greenes could exercise new
design ideas that were coming from England and the Continent.
In reply to a letter from his client, Charles Greene wrote that
he was in sympathy with the “William Morris movement”
and that the interior of the house was inspired by his work.
Culbertson possibly encouraged the Greenes' budding interest
in Asian design and decorative arts, too. The Greenes' design
for the living room's dark-stained, cedar interior (in its original
1902 phase) shows their earliest use of an Asian-inspired bracket
detail over the window seat. The Greenes designed numerous additions
and alterations for the house until James Culbertson’s
death in 1915.