Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 13, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 16



Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 13, 2011 

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


Nestled against the 
foothills of the San 
Gabriel Mountains 
just east of Pasadena, 
the quaint village of 
Sierra Madre leaves the 
hustle and bustle of Los 
Angeles behind. It’s a 
town where neighbors 
meet in town for 
summer lawn concerts 
or impromptu dinners at the many alfresco 
restaurants. Where pretension is left behind, 
but charm prevails. It’s a town without 
stoplights…where miles of mountain hiking 
trails toward Mt. Wilson abound, drawing 
nature lovers the same way they did when this 
historic home was built over a century ago. 

Four sisters, “The Misses Climie” as they 
were known in the Sierra Madre city directory 
of 1910, are said to be the original owners of 
this beautiful Grand View Avenue home. The 
Canadian women, in their thirties and forties, 
had the home built before the city was even 
incorporated, completed by 1907, according 
to the assessor. 

The gabled home on a deep .45 acre lot has 
provided grace, charm and permanence to the 
neighborhood, just a few blocks northeast of 
the delightful downtown Sierra Madre. Sierra 
Madre proudly holds on to its history and its 
past, a town tucked up against the foothills 
of the San Gabriels, it’s a place that’s happy 
to leave LA behind, and function without the 
“busy-ness” of surrounding communities. 

One of only forty-eight designated historic 
homes within the city, the property also has 
been designated a Mills Act property in 
Sierra Madre in 2005, according to the city 
development office. The Mills Act, renewable 
every ten years, provides significant property 
tax relief in exchange for the owner’s efforts 
and investment in preserving the exterior 
historic presentation and the neighborhood’s 
architectural context for future generations. 
It is also listed on the California Inventory of 
Historical Resources.

An old two wheeler, found in the basement 
years ago, is permanently affixed to a corner 
of the front yard, perched and waiting, kick 
stand down… seemingly ready to be ridden 
into town for an ice cream or soda. It’s said 
to have been left behind from the days of the 
Hardy boys, another family who resided there, 
though not the Hardy boys of mystery book 

A step onto the porch is a step back in time. 
Wicker chairs seem to invite a cool beverage 
to sit, take in the mountain views and chat 
with the neighbors who regularly amble by, 
seeming to remind us that taking a moment 
can restore the soul. 

Inside, the peaceful ambiance draws one 
in. The “wavy” glass windows, the cut glass 
foyer lighting, the beautifully preserved 
hardwood floors, the intricate millwork and 
built-ins, the window seats, the fireplaces, all 
bring a sense of history and permanence… 
and peacefulness.

 Often, homes have a fireplace in the living 
room, as this one does, but it’s unusual and 
romantic to have a fireplace in the dining 
room. Can’t you envision a cozy winter 
meal with friends and family, warmed by a 
crackling fire?

All the main floor rooms open through 
French doors on to the huge deck overlooking 
the gardens, pool and spa and the guest 
house. From here, one can enjoy shaded or 
sunny respite, the reflecting pond qualities of 
a still pool and the mature trees, or children 
at play in the yard and pool. At the far end 
of the property, mostly hidden from view are 
the vegetable garden from which the current 
owners dine daily, a potting shed (or artist’s 
studio?) and… another feature bridging the 
past to the present, a chicken coop. Fresh eggs 

Somewhere along the line, probably 
in the 1930’s, according to Tim Gregory, 
the Building Biographer, some additions 
were made to the original structure, which 
accommodates today’s lifestyle of an open 
kitchen and family room area, while retaining 
the century of charm. Recent millwork was 
carefully matched around doorways and 

The kitchen and family room enjoys 
beautiful front lawn and peaks of mountain 
views in one direction and back yard vistas 
from the other. The remodeled kitchen offers 
mahogany cabinetry, a six burner gas cooktop, 
double ovens, built-in Sub Zero® refrigerator/
freezer and breakfast bar seating. Glass front 
cabinetry in one corner allows for display as 
well as storage. 

A trip up the stairs requires a moment at 
the landing to enjoy the huge paned window 
overlooking the yard, which also brings natural 
light into the main floor. On the second floor, 
the master bedroom feels like a treehouse, 
with verdant leafy views of mature oaks all 
year long. In winter, the deciduous leaves fall, 
affording nighttime city lights views. Three 
other upstairs rooms plus a hall bath with 
a tub-shower combination are suitable for 
flexible used as bedroom or office space.

Many have postulated that this was one of 
the popular kit or pattern-book homes, popular 
a century ago, though no records are available 
to confirm this. The owner recalls that a visitor 
walked in, saying that they’d been in another 
historic home “just like this one” They also 
remember that some millwork, since replaced, 
was marked in a way suggesting the pre-cut, 
marked and numbered and rail car delivery 
process of that era.

Important to know for older homes, 
especially those built over a century ago… the 
main home systems were updated with 200 
amp electrical service, dual zone forced air 
heat and air conditioning, kitchen cabinetry 
and appliances, bathroom updates, recessed 
lighting and roof by previous owners. Sellers 
indicate that seismic retrofitting of the 
foundation and chimney reconstruction were 
also completed. Under the home, a walk-in 
basement, with exterior access and a recently 
poured concrete floor, provides ample storage. 

The 660 square foot guest house, perfect for 
a home office, extended family or as extended 
living space, was extensively updated since 
2006, with marble counters and floors, a 
separate bedroom, bath and a kitchenette.

This is not just a home, it’s a state of mind… 
blending a century of history with comfortable 
contemporary living!

Some information in this article was 
obtained from The Building Biographer, Tim 
Gregory. More information on this service is 
available at 
Contact the development office at the City of 
Sierra Madre for more information about the 
home’s historic and Mills Act status, 626-355-

Offered at $1,275,000, 252 E. Grand View 
Avenue, Sierra Madre is listed by Eileen 
Benson of Dilbeck Real Estate in Arcadia. For 
more information, contact Benson at 626-278-
0187 or view the property website, www.252- 

Just Listed! August 14th

Open House 

Sunday, August 14th

8 East Foothill Blvd., Arcadia, CA 91006

626-278-0187 | DRE#: 1880650

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: