A Thoughtfully Restored Pasadena Post-and-Beam Lists For $2.1M
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A Thoughtfully Restored Pasadena Post-and-Beam Lists For $2.1M

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
A midcentury post-and-beam by architect Calvin Straub is brought back to its original intent.

Although Calvin Straub originally designed 725 Burleigh Drive to be his own personal residence, the noted midcentury architect never actually lived in the home. Instead of moving into the home in 1957, Straub, the former dean of Architecture at USC, helped form the famous partnership of Buff, Straub, and Hensman—a firm responsible for many classic post-and-beam homes across California, including Case Study House No.20, a design which cemented their place in Los Angeles Modernist history.  

HabHouse discovered that the home originally featured an earthy color palette of browns, grays, and greens. The home's current colors are inspired by another Straub design, The Thompson House on Poppy Peak Street in Pasadena. 

Last year, the Pasadena home was purchased by HabHouse, a Los Angeles design and development firm. Andreas Larsson, the firm's co-owner and designer, had first noticed the property years ago when walking his dog through the neighborhood. The house sat empty for a decade, and although Larsson didn't know who had designed it, he always knew the home was something special. When it finally listed, Larsson and Mike Landry (the other co-owner of HabHouse) jumped on the chance to buy it.  The icing on the cake: "After a trip to the permit office, we discovered that it was actually designed by Calvin Straub," says Larsson. 

The entrance is an artistic mix of midcentury lines and features globe pendant lighting.

Unfortunately, the house had undergone an unsympathetic renovation in 2008 that changed the roofline and removed some of the authentic midcentury details. This meant that HabHouse needed to start from scratch in order to bring the home back to the way Straub had designed it.  The process started with Larsson making a visit to Arizona State University to research Straub's archives and "determine exactly how the house needed to be put back together." 

The open-plan dining and living areas, awash in natural light. 

The authenticity of the home is thanks to a renovation that stayed true to Straub's vision. The open-plan living space features a fireplace and access to the backyard to effortlessly enjoy indoor-outdoor living. 

The living space also features a tongue-and-groove ceiling, globe pendant lighting, and cork flooring throughout.  

"My intention with this project was not just to restore the original design, but also to make it livable for the modern person. This lost piece of architecture needed to be saved." Andreas Larsson 

The kitchen is completely new but designed according to its original footprint. The materials were chosen in accordance with Straub's favored materials: vertical grain Douglas Fir. 

Glass sliders line the wall providing ample natural lighting and leading to the outdoor terrace. 

The firm renovated absolutely every surface in the house. The kitchen is completely new; however, it was designed according to its original footprint. The materials were chosen in accordance with HabHouse's research, which revealed that Straub used vertical grain Douglas Fir cabinetry in most of his projects. "We made some modern modifications to the kitchen, but stayed true to the intended design and feel," says Larsson. Both bathrooms were also modernized and updated in a manner that was respectful to the original design. 

The master bedroom also opens to the outdoor space via sliding glass doors. 

The glass provides lots of natural light and serene views of the surrounding greenery. 

The master is relatively large for a midcentury space and has an ensuite bathroom. 

The original color study of the house was revealed to be an earthy mix of browns, grays, and greens. In Larsson's color research, he visited several houses designed by Straub. The homeowners were incredibly helpful, assisting him with his discovery of Straub's color vision. The home's current colors are inspired by Straub's 1957 commission, The Thompson House on Poppy Peak St. in Pasadena. "This color combination helps the house appear more integrated into its natural environment, per Straub's organic architectural philosophy," says Larsson. 

The bathrooms were all updated and the vanities were built according to Straub's specifications. 

Original Prescolite light fixtures were used and the tiles and hard surfaces were provided by Heath Tiles.

A peek at the second bedroom. 


The second bedroom also has sliders leading to an outdoor terrace. 

Ultimately, the project was a huge undertaking that took an entire year to complete. "To build a true 1957 post and beam home with current 2019 building codes presents a massive challenge. We constantly had to be creative in our structural solutions to respect its original design and still meet code," they share. A true labor of love, and one that yielded spectacular results. 

Larsson designed the backyard himself after some research into Straub's use of landscape design. "In our research, we found that Straub's landscape influence was a 'sexy' Japanese garden," he says. 

The renovation has a perfectly preserved feel both inside and out. 

Related reading: Mad Men Producer Puts His Pasadena Midcentury Up For Auction Starting at $1.7M

725 Burleigh DrivePasadena is currently listed for $2,088,888 by Michelle St. Clair and Joey Kiralla of Sotheby's International Realty.  

Project Credits

Architect: HabHouse LLC / @andreaseglarsson 

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