Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 15, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 15, 2012 

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


Architect Mary Chou grew up in the 
Pasadena area, and has always loved the 
community. She recently undertook the 
complete remodel of a secluded Pasadena 
estate in the tony Pasadena neighborhood of 
Madison Heights.

 Remodel isn’t quite the right word, though. 
Facelift isn’t right either. More like a 
complete personality change for the formerly 
“traditional” single level home, originally 
constructed in 1938.

 Chou fell in love with the home when first she saw it. In a recent 
interview, Chou reflected, “It was at twilight on a rainy day. I found 
it a beautiful magical setting that was super private. Yet, when you 
go in the house, it feels very open with views of the mature trees and 
landscape and the pool.”

 “It was cottage-like before,” Chou continued, “and we changed to a 
Spanish Hacienda style now, with a red tile roof, which helps to tie the 
style and floorplan together, with the new courtyard schemes.” Chou 
redesigned the perspectives and indoor to outdoor flow, adding a 
large, new front courtyard with a large fountain, to take full advantage 
of views of the enormous oak in the front yard.

Previously, “The house didn’t really have a usable front space, so we 
added a large front courtyard to the house that is really framed by this 
heritage oak. Now, when you’re sitting in front courtyard, you feel you 
are in a private wooded escape. From the street side, though, no one 
would know you were there.”

 The site is also unusual, as it is set above the street, and on a shared 
driveway, offering even more seclusion from the street. For those 
commuting downtown, the 110 freeway access and Gold Line train are 
nearby, for a quick trip downtown.

 Chou chose the home for its secluded, yet what she calls its “dual 
personality” location. “It is close to the Langham and surrounded by 
gorgeous historical houses that often run up to $10 million.” In fact, a 
home about a block away at 1266 S. Oakland was listed for $52 million. 

 On the preservation and restoration front, two key features were 
important to reincorporate into the “new” home. First, peg and groove 
hardwood flooring, believed to be original, was restored, anchoring the home in its vintage history. Chou also discovered that unusual door hardware, a latch system was used on the home’s doors, instead 
of the mainstream door handles. “They were all in great condition, so we were able to re-use them,” providing a distinctive character and a unique mechanical bent to the home’s doors.

 Chou was captivated by the unusual floorplan, and capitalized on its strong points. “Almost every room in the house has some type of access to an outside space,” she commented. “There are no real hallways 
in the house, and the rooms have two sources of light, which is very unique, and gives the home its airy feeling.”

Perfect for our Southern California entertaining and relaxation, this extensive use of outside access provides a seamless indoor to outdoor lifestyle, opening to the courtyards, the fountains and the new 
“French Gray” plastered pool. 

 Inside, the architect merged and repurposed several areas, to create a more cohesive and appealing floorplan. The guest and the main house were merged. Then the original garage became the spacious family 
room, and a new garage was then constructed. The result provides ultimate privacy for the master 
suite, as it is situated separately from the three other bedrooms. 

According to Tink Cheney, listing agent, “The single level floorplan, the complete remodel with nearly 
every component new from the roof, the energy efficient windows, the mechanical systems, down to 
the faucets, and the low maintenance landscape make the property an interesting alternative to condo 
living. We had several accolades from previewing agents, suggesting this home is a great option when 
downsizing from a larger home with a large lawn and aging systems.”

 1405 S. Oakland is offered at $1,980,000 and offers four bedrooms plus four and one half baths on a .52 acre 
homesite. For more information, visit the home’s website at or contact 
Catherine “Tink” Cheney, listing agent at Coldwell Banker of Pasadena at 626-356-8129 or at www.TinkCheney.


They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in real estate, a picture could be worth a thousand 
dollars (or more). Most agents aren’t photography professionals, but there is an understanding 
that better photos get listings more attention, and ultimately, a higher selling price.

The absolutely best photos are taken not with "point and click" cameras, but with SLR (single-
lens-reflex) cameras. Without getting too technical, just know that SLR cameras give the photographer 
more control and produce higher quality images. 

While an SLR camera costs more than your average point-and-click shooter, consider that a 
recent study found that listings with high quality photos sold for anywhere between $934 and 
$116,076 more than their average listing photo counterparts. If your agent doesn't have an SLR 
camera, then you could easily recoup your investment by purchasing one yourself.

Even though better photos attract more online attention, only about 15% of listings make use 
of the superior technology. Obviously, high-end listings stand to reap the greatest benefits, so if 
you've got a million dollar home, why would you skimp on such an important facet of marketing 

However, there is a caveat: the study found that homes listed under $300,000 didn't see any real 
difference in sales price with the finer photos, so realistic and competitive pricing is the most 

effective marketing tool in those cases.

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