Greene & Greene at Auction, redux

Greene for Sale

Greenespinksblueprint The Los Angeles Times reports on Henry Greene's Spinks House hitting the market - the asking price is $5.35 million:

Charles Greene, the chief designer of the Greene & Greene firm, needed a break. So in 1909 he took his family back to London, where he and his wife had honeymooned, according to "Greene & Greene Masterworks," by Bruce Smith and Alexander Vertikoff. During his respite, his brother, Henry, stepped in to fill the void.

While Charles visited England, Henry completed the Spinks Craftsman house for retired Judge William Ward Spinks and his wife, Margaret B.S. Clapham Spinks. They had recently moved from Victoria, Canada, because the judge had accepted the presidency of the Pasadena Hotel Co.

The Spinks House cost a princely $11,000 at a time when few homes cost more than $2,000 to build.

As in their other homes, Henry Greene continued to use a variety of woods, such as Port Orford cedar and redwood, to make the Spinks home compatible with nature. Henry — known for his linear designs — gave the home a rectangular shape.

The Spinks House sits atop a slope on a nearly 1.5-acre property in the Oak Knoll neighborhood. Its meadow-like setting provides privacy. Isabelle Greene, granddaughter of Henry Greene, restored and redesigned some of the gardens in 1989. It has extensive terraces and porches, as well as a balcony.

Ted Wells of Living : Simple believes that the price of the Spinks home is more than a little off, even for a Greene & Greene property in this neighborhood, perhaps due to the owner's pricing the parcel for future subdivision:

Not mentioned in the article is that the exceptionally high price for the Spinks house, relative to comparable sales in the neighborhood, is because the the sellers (seem to have) priced the house based on the subdivision of the lot and the development of the lower portion to add a speculative house accessed from the street below. One joy of this house is the property - and by subdividing it and losing the lower part of the slope (as was disastrously done at the Culbertson house down the street from the Spinks house, across from the Blacker house) a major component of the Greenes' siting of the Spinks house, the setting of the house far back on the lot and the perceived isolation and privacy of the house, will be lost.

The shame is that we bemoan the loss - on the same street! - of the property around the Blacker House and downslope from the Culbertson House, shaking our heads in disbelief that "people back then" would allow such subdividing to occur, and reminding ourselves that we are so much more enlightened today and that nothing like that would happen now; yet it happens, and will continue to happen, and no one bats an eye.