Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, July 30, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 16



 Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 30, 2011 

One Of A Kind: Featuring unique homes and gardens and the people whoe create them. Story by Chris Bertrand and Photographs by Ron Stinnett 

Just Listed: Classic Robert Ainsworth Italian Revival Perched on the Arroyo with Miles of Views

Noted architect, Robert 
H. Ainsworth, designed 
this gracious Pasadena 
home in 1930. The 3472 
square foot, five bedrooms 
and five bath villa 
could be considered a 
small jewel, as Ainsworth 
went on to design homes 
three times the size in 
Oak Knoll and San Marino 

Lovingly cared for by just a few owners in its 
eighty year history, the home was owned by Dr. 
Robin Bennett for four of those decades. In a 
1997 Star News article about it’s first and only 
major renovation by the architect’s grandson after 
Bennett’s passing, author Janette Williams 
says, “For professional and middle class African-
American families in the 1950’s success meant 
living ‘on the arroyo,” in a home perched on 
the rim of Northwest Pasadena with spectacular 
views across to the Linda Vista Hills.” 

Bennett, an obstetrician and gynecologist who 
spent a lifetime delivering babies to the African 
American community, brought his family to the 
home as the first black residents of North Arroyo. 
Despite initial backlash, Bennett remained in residence 
for the next forty years. 

The villa was restored and benefit tours were 
offered in Spring of 1997, touting several professional 
designer’s ideas while preserving the 
home’s elegance and character and livability. 

Son, Teddy Bennett, returned to the home to 
view the remodel, according to Williams, commenting 
that his father left everything intact after 
his mother’s passing in 1966. Up to the day 
he died in 1995, “Not a thing would be changed. 
Not a thing would be moved.” Since time nearly 
stood still in the house for almost thirty years, the 
1997 remodel was “simple” and didn’t require Ainsworth’s 
grandson, Stephen Ainsworth Kuchenski, 
to undo any interim changes to restore the 
home to its former glory. 

The current owners share the enthusiasm of all 
the owners in preserving this very livable home. 
They proudly and eagerly shared their stories and 
documentation of its architectural and human history. 
“Several of the neighbors from Bennett’s 
time still walk the neighborhood, noting details 
preserved from the doctor’s time there,” they 
said, including Mrs. Bennett’s roses, some of 
which still grace the front gardens.

Ainsworth is frequently called prolific, and according 
to the Pacific Coast Architects Database, 
the architect, who lived 1895-1970, designed a 
wide array of over seventy five Southland structures 
in addition to beautiful homes, including 
Pasadena’s Grover Cleveland and Eugene Field 
Elementary Schools, the Hastings Ranch library, 
the Pasadena Humane Society, the campus plan 
for Pasadena City College, the BOQ and OR at 
Coronado’s North Island Naval Air Station, and 
his own Sierra Madre home on Orange Grove.

In an April 2009 Pasadena Weekly article about 
another Ainsworth Mediterranean Revival home, 
author B.J. Lorenzo quotes designer Jeff Valenson 
as he sums up the Ainsworth style, “The structures 
have a unique and irreplaceable character, 
history and charm.”

One feels that unique and irreplaceable character, 
history and charm from the first curbside 
view. The pleasing symmetry features a front garden 
with some of Mrs. Bennett’s roses, a reflection 
area to enjoy both the view and the central 
fountain. The structure’s repeated arches soften 
the square lines, including beautiful original 
arched French doors. 

A gated side driveway leads to the beautiful 
yard, pool, garage and extra parking, though 
since there are no homes on the Arroyo side of 
the street, guest parking is not a problem. When 
the pool was renovated, plumbing for a spa was 
added for the ease of this addition, should a buyer 

The sellers have thoroughly enjoyed their perch 
above the Rose Bowl. “We’re UCLA fans, so it’s 
been a wonderful bonus to have the games nearby, 
and haven’t ever been bothered by traffic or 
games. We’ve loved the views, the golf course 
and all amenities of the Rose Bowl, the wildlife 
the venture up from the Arroyo. It’s a rich life 

The floorplan, though essentially intact, has 
aged gracefully, with gorgeous hardwood flooring 
in two species, sumptuous intricate millwork, 
tying the rooms together. The kitchen and casual 
dining area includes several functional areas, including 
three sink areas. The original wood counter 
sink offers a butler’s pantry area serving both 
the casual and formal dining area. Beyond, the 
main kitchen includes a gourmet stainless steel 
gas stove. A service area with laundry facilities 
and another sink, allow several cooks to help in 
cuisine preparation.

The back sun room, which opens to the pool, 
was enclosed at some time, providing expansive 
casual living space protected from the elements. 
A main floor bedroom suite is situated separately, 
perfect for guests, au pair or extended family accommodations. 
The fifth bedroom is currently 
configured as a library.

The west facing views get even better after ascending 
the stunning curved staircase to the second 
floor, when Brookside Golf Course, located 
below the home, comes into view. A central nook 
above the front door offers a computer station 
with a simply mesmerizing view, as well as entry 
to the viewing balcony, to enjoy a favorite beverage 
and watch the sunset over the foothills.

Three more second floor bedrooms, include a 
wonderful master suite with dressing room, private 
bath and balcony with those elevated western 
Arroyo views, plus two bedrooms with a connecting 

1320 N. Arroyo in Pasadena is offered at 
$1,295,000 by Shereen Kelly of Prudential California 
Realty. For more information visit the 
home’s website at www.1320NorthArroyoBlvd.
com or contact Kelly at 626-827-5000. 


While indicators show that housing is 
making a comeback, the glut of negative 
reporting is still making people skittish 
about buying a home. This has created a hot 
rental market, with few places available to 
lease and rising rent rates. Consider some 
reasons why it’s always better to own than 
to rent.

 First, as owner, you are your own landlord. 
You won’t be kicked out for any reason other 
than not making your mortgage payments. 
You control every other aspect of how you 
choose to live in your home.

 Even more important, those monthly 
payments are a kind of forced savings, 
helping you to build equity. Although it’s 
possible that home values could fall further, 
the same could happen to your 401(k). But 
over the long term, both types of investment 
are more likely to see gains.

 Right now, interest rates are still very low, 
which means that if you choose a fixed-rate 
mortgage, that rate will never change, and 
you will build equity at an even quicker pace.

 Another reason to opt for the ownership 
route is that you’ll find - particularly now 
with so few leases available - that the nicest 
homes in the safest neighborhoods with the 
best schools will be offered for sale and not 
for rent. Consult with an agent and turn 
that rent payment into savings and security