Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, May 5, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 13



 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 5, 2012 

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

Completed in 1923, 
the Folts House was 
designated a Pasadena 
Landmark in 2008, 
due to its exemplary 
Italian Renaissance 
Revival designed 
by Pasadena “favorite son” Cyril Bennett. 
After apprenticing with Greene and 
Greene, architects of the Gamble House in 
Pasadena and many other beloved Pasadena 
architectural treasures, as well as Sylvanus 
Marston, Bennett, 1891-1957, was soon 
recognized for the inspiration and attention 
to detail in his own designs. 

 Bennett, who went on to craft many noted 
residential and institutional buildings in 
Pasadena and the region, is particularly 
known for his design of the Pasadena Civic 
Auditorium and the Raymond Theater.

1155 N. Hill in Pasadena, offers a 3266 
square foot (per assessor) main home with 
five bedrooms and two baths, a guest house 
with bath, pool and a vintage, Chinese style, 
redwood gazebo. 

 Named for the original owner H.C. Folts, 
an “electricist” of his era, an expert in all 
things electrical, the home was constructed 
by an elite group of contractors active in the 
Pasadena community at the time. They were 
a civic minded group, and actively involved in 
the Tournament of Roses.

 The beautiful front door includes Italianate 
pillar, pediment and millwork detailing 
indicative of Bennett’s quality design. 
Hexagonal Batchelder tiles outside the front 
door blend this sought after, period signature 
material with the Mediterranean flavor and 
presentation of the home. Inside, intricate 
Batchelder tiles adorn the fireplace. 

 In a tribute to the current owner’s respect 
and devotion to preserving the home’s 
architectural integrity the tiles were carefully 
detached and numbered for re-installation 
when they undertook earthquake retrofitting 
work during the 1990’s.

 Original wall sconces hardwood floors, 
french doors and built-ins have been lovingly 
preserved and, if needed, restored throughout 
the home. Even the heat registers have been 
carefully returned to a beautiful brass finish 
by a local Pasadena brass polishing service. 

The original five furnace, gravity system, 
built by Ohrmund Brothers of Pasadena, is 
a true piece of mechanical art. Though it is 
nearly ninety years old, it is fully functional 
and an elegant, exemplary component of 
the home’s craftsmanship, with zone heating 
and temperature adjustment by a button 
system in the hallway.

 Bennett and Folts collaborated to create 
a floorplan that accommodated Mrs. 
Folts’ piano teaching business. The room 
currently configured as a family/media 
room, purposely provided students easy 
access and minimal intrusion on the 
family’s lifestyle. A private telephone room 
in the main floor hallway, preserved today, 
was designed, as Folts also believed that 
telephone conversations should not disrupt 
the family.

 The second floor balcony remains a favorite 
place for relaxation and entertaining, and 
family members of former owners happily 
recall watching Independence Day fireworks 
displays from the Rose Bowl. 

 A guest house was fashioned from a large 
utility area attached to the garage, and now 
includes a kitchenette, bath, plus living or 
entertaining area adjacent to the back yard 
pool. A redwood lath gazebo, very similar 
in design and materials to another Pasadena 
structure built by Greene and Greene, still 
stands today, honoring the quality and 
integrity of both its design and original 

 When applying for Pasadena’s Landmark 
status as part of the Mills Act, the current 
owner chuckles that the garage’s original and 
beautifully intact bran-style garage doors 
engendered particular interest and delight by 
city officials at a site visit before approval. “I 
thought the Batchelder tile work would be the 
focus of their interest. No… it was the garage 
doors!” so they are still part of the property, 
as they can be seen from the street. 

 Katherine Lippincott, co-listing agent, 
explained the importance of the home’s 
property tax status in the Mills Act. “With its 
Declaration of Landmark Designation, this 
property has qualified for the Mills Act which 
provides substantial property tax savings. 
The Mills Act program allows owners of 
designated historic properties to enter into a 
contract with the City to reduce their property 
taxes in exchange for agreeing to maintain 
the historic character of their property in 
accordance with established guidelines. Past 
participants have saved between 20% and 
75% on their property taxes, with an average 
savings around 50%.”

 Pasadena mayor, Bill Bogaard reflected, “In 
my view, the granting of landmark status to a 
home in Pasadena is a cause for celebration. 
It spotlights the City’s historic architecture, it 
preserves the home as a community resource, 
and it benefits the owner and the neighbors 
who are attracted to the beauty of the home. 
I am always grateful to property owners who 
seek landmark designation for their property.”

For more information on the Mills Act, 
please visit the California State Parks Office 
of Historic Preservation website (http:// and the 
City of Pasadena Planning Division website 

Folts House, located at 1155 N. Hill in 
Pasadena, is offered at $1,250,000 by 
Katherine Lippincott and Barbara Wheeler 
at John Aaroe Group Real Estate. For 
more information, call 626-818-3914 or 
visit either or www. Photos courtesy of 
Lippincott Group.

Folts House: Cyril Bennett Designed

Lovingly Preserved Home Just Listed