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Resource Summary
Resource Summary
Address: 901 LAGUNA Rd APN: 5716-004-014 [print]

This property is designated by the city as an individual historic resource (see "designation type" field for the specific city designation type). *
Address: 901 LAGUNA Rd
City: Pasadena State: CA
Zip Code: 91105 County: Los Angeles
County Code: 37
Historic Name: Puelicher House Common Name: Puelicher House
APN: 5716-004-014 Zoning: RS-4
Building Sq. Ft: 1978 Site Size (Acres): 0.510
Year Built: 1960 Documented District:
District: Property Status: Designated
Resource Description:
The Site

The approximately half-acre sized hillside property is located just east of the Poppy Peak Historic District in a hillside area of Pasadena locally known as San Rafael Heights. The property is a generally rectangular shaped lot on the south side of Laguna Road, between San Remo Road and Hillside Terrace. The building is set closely to the street and the property slopes steeply downward to the southwest before facing a wooded glen. At the bottom of the glen is a small stream, which is fed by Thompson Lake to the west. Beyond the stream, the slope rises sharply again to crest at a ridge far above the house. A walkway crosses the small stream and leads to a small accessory structure. The neighborhood is characterized by hilly topography, mature trees, landscape, and gracious single-family houses.

Exterior Features of the Building

The design of the house responds to the unique hilly environmental setting and consists of a roughly T-shape building over three levels. The top (street facing north elevation) level of the house is a long, horizontally oriented, one-story volume that is relatively close to Laguna Road, which is a narrow street. This level features two sections, divided by the home’s recessed front entry which is accessed by a wooden deck offset from the front door. To the east of the entry, the kitchen’s north wall is glazed with large windows that are fronted by two narrow horizontally oriented wood panels centered in the windows. Each panel is attached to the west or east end of the space, with an unobstructed open space between them. To the west of the entry is a guest bathroom with a shallow interior sky lit garden and a larger garden. A deck for the west master bedroom’s north elevation is hidden from the street with a solid stucco wall. The original back wall of the carport at the east is also a full-height opaque wall, necessary for structural shear purposes (lateral stabilization).

As documented by the applicant, the house once had an unusual feature which has since been removed. A color snapshot shows a Mondrian-like field of horizontal rows of stripes of color and white arranged in four columns, a composition that occupied the broad front of the kitchen window. Each column appears to be about the width of a standard jalousie window, a window type that was popular mid-century for a time before energy and security concerns limited their use. Based on the applicant’s conversations with descendants of the original owners, it appears that this feature was not part of the original design, but was later designed and added by the original architect at the owners request to provide for more privacy for the interior space behind it.

The south elevation, although not visible from the street, contains many character defining features and appears to have been intended to serve as the primary elevation. This elevation embraces the natural character of the trees and stream facing the rear of the house and features a complex arrangement of solids to voids. A large glass box, containing the living room, projects south approximately 18 feet beyond the rest of the house and appears to float above the slope. This volume separates the street-level volume into two sections: the private wing of three bedrooms and two bathrooms to the west, and the more public and functional wing consisting of the kitchen, dining room, and garage to the east. Lower Level 1, immediately below, includes an original office and workshop designed for original client and owner Richard Puelicher. Across the adjacent recessed stair landing (leading from the dining area to the Lower Level I deck below) to the west, a small later addition is tucked below the dining room, also on Lower Level 1. This later addition is characterized by small, incompatible clerestory windows and contains a bathroom. Apart from a solid stucco shear wall defining the rear of the carport, this bathroom is the only other opaque wall on this level of the elevation.

The eastern end of Lower Level I, below the living room, also contains an open wood staircase leading from the living room to a large deck now containing barbeque equipment, while a wooden bridge from the southern end of the eastern deck crosses the stream and leads to a triangular-shape viewing station lined with benches. The viewing station is a tranquil resting point for observing the house. Several supporting round steel columns supporting the main structure and the lengths of concrete block retaining walls are also visible from the viewing station.

The western end of the street level south façade does not include a lower deck, and each southern wall of the two master bedrooms (connected in the middle by a small foyer) and the master bathroom is a full-height glass wall opening out to a shallow wood deck. Full-height stucco “fins” that project into the deck protect the bathroom user’s privacy. The overall composition is united by two means: the use of paint color (white and black) and the use of framing members doubling as an artistic arrangement of lines and planes. The structural framing members consists of three sizes: nominal 6x12 (horizontal) beams; 6x6 (vertical) posts, and 3x6 (horizontal) window dividers. Supporting the vertical loads above, the large, long beams are painted black. Separated by a four-foot offset in height between the street level volume and the living room and another four-foot offset again from the living room to Lower Level I, the organization interlocks the three volumes together. Another flight of stairs leads to Lower Level 2, and a later addition of a deck and a one-room office with tall windows on the south and east elevations.
Legal Description:
Primary Architectural Style: International /Modern Style
Secondary Architectural Style:
Architect: Boyd Georgi
Builder: R.T. Puelicher
Context: Recent Past 
Original Owner: R.T. Puelicher
Original Location:
Demolished: no
Moved: no
Date Moved: n/a
Designation Date: 10/29/2018
Mills Act: A contract and work program
was recorded in 12/31/2018

* This is a simplified statement of the property's status. Please review the NRHP Status Code field on the search screen for official, adopted status language.