A 1908 Craftsman home on Mar Vista Avenue has all the things you would expect on the Bungalow Heaven Home Tour — beautiful moldings, a fireplace with vintage tiles and an inviting porch. But it is what’s behind the house that makes it unique.
Steve and Kari Salinas, along with their three children, share the backyard with a goat, two dogs, three chickens, two cats, three rabbits, a miniature horse and Bonnie the turkey, who loves to have her head scratched.
“My intention was to one day have a farm,” Kari Salinas said. “This is where we stayed, so I have just made it my little patch of heaven.”
The Salinas home is one of eight that will be open for the 23rd Annual Bungalow Heaven Home Tour on April 29. The event includes self-guided tours of the homes, a Living History House, demonstrations, stalls of books, music, food and lectures.
This will be the second time that the Salinas home is on the tour. Steve Salinas said that having a thousand people over to visit is very motivating. The couple, who along with friends, do most home projects on their own, are installing tile around the fireplace and painting the exterior of the house to get ready.
“Tour day is fun,” said Steve, whose family has lived in the Altadena and Pasadena areas for seven generations. “You get to talk to people and they really are interested in the house and the neighborhood.”
For the fourth time, the tour will feature a Living History House where visitors can experience what it would have been like to like in the neighborhood during a different time period.
“This year’s Living History House is far out,” said Kristin Stone who writes, casts, acts in and produces the event.
In the selected house, which was built in 1907, guests will “meet” Ellen Peterson (the homeowner from 1958-1976) in 1976 when she has the house for sale. Ellen is having difficulty with the showings, because her current tenant, the very single Bruce Manwich, is in no hurry to move out. He’s overly congenial to prospective homebuyers and often dominates their visits with his own experiences and observations about living in his bungalow “man cave.”
Visitors will also “meet” Bruce, and will see and learn about the significant features of the home.
“The house is beautifully furnished with both authentic and inspired 1970s decor, and the look is fantastic,” said Stone, explaining why she choose the 1970s for the Living History house.
“It is fascinating to see how the 1907 house is transformed with contemporary furnishings,” Stone said. “We also selected the house because it retains much of its 1907 original bungalow features, including an oversized fireplace with clinker brick and stone. The fireplace is alone worth the visit.”
Bungalow Heaven is Pasadena’s first Landmark District. It is also listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places.
Hundreds of Craftsman-style houses, known as California bungalows, were constructed in the neighborhood between 1905 and 1925. The architecture reflected a movement away from ornate Victorian sensibilities to simpler structures in harmony with nature through the use of materials such as river rock and redwood shingles, and incorporating wide verandas and expansive windows.
“Bungalow Heaven is a very special place in Pasadena,” Stone said. “Often when people think of bungalows, they think of an Arts and Crafts style bungalow, but there are many styles of bungalows and Bungalow Heaven has a wonderful variety of these homes.”
– Jennifer Errico