Greene & Greene Virtual Archives
Mrs. Metilde Phillips House
Pasadena, California, 1902
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Mrs. Metilde Phillips House
Pasadena, California

In 1902, the combined two-story house and dressmaking shop for Mrs. Metilde Phillips of Pasadena gave the Greenes an opportunity to test their uncomplicated aesthetic. Although the plan is not particularly adventurous, the simplicity of the surface materials and gathering of forms is striking when compared with the firm’s earlier work. For the first time, the Greenes incorporated a slightly oriental lift to the ridgeline of the shingled roof. Always interested in octagonal geometry, the Greenes designed an octagonal, one-story pavilion that extends toward the street. This octagon room is the strongest feature of the front elevation and serves to unify the design. From it, through diamond-pane casement windows, Mrs. Phillips could discreetly observe the arrival of her customers. It is interesting to note that the second level of the Phillips house describes a new sense of order in composition for the Greenes, while the first floor still draws from Victorian sensibility.