Home of the Week: An Estate with a Prominent Pasadena Pedigree

Published on Sep 6, 2020


This grand estate at 870 S. San Rafael Ave., Pasadena, was the fruit of a brief partnership among three prominent Pasadena architects—Reginald Johnson, Bernard Kaufmann and Roland Coate. The Italian Period Revival manse on the edge of the Arroyo Seco was completed in 1923, during the golden age of Period Revival in Pasadena. It was built for the then-stratospheric cost of $41,850 for W.H. Allen, Jr., a financial company executive who shared the home with his wife, Elsie, an adult daughter Ruth and three live-in servants. It was one of numerous residential projects designed in the three-year lifespan of Johnson, Kaufmann & Coate, also known for churches, including Pasadena’s All Saints Episcopal Church.

An ad in a 1944 issue of the Los Angeles Times said the estate atop a bluff had “one of the finest views in Pasadena, overlooking Busch Gardens, all of the foothills with a clear view of the snow-capped mountains.” Improvements had been made to the main house, servant’s quarters, a gardener’s cottage and a four-car garage.

In its current incarnation, the six-bedroom, eight-bath Allen House includes an updated kitchen and bathrooms designed to complement its historical style. A long private drive winds through the 1.25-acre property, past a restored guesthouse and three-car garage to an ample parking plaza at the formal main entrance. Inside are a formal dining room, a library-family room, a sunroom, laundry, large basement, pool and spa.

Christina Hildebrand of Crosby Doe Associates holds the listing.

WHERE: 870 S. San Rafael Ave., Pasadena

HOW MUCH: $7,495,000

WHAT YOU GET: 6 beds, 8 baths, pool, guest house, formal dining room

SIZE: 6,469 square feet on 1.25 acres


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