A 1908 Arts & Crafts treasure that was joinery-built without a single nail showing, this former family home (designed for the co-founder of Procter & Gamble) is the feather in the cap of famed architecture firm Greene & Greene.
The hand-crafted mansion graces almost an entire grassy block of Pasadena's upscale Arroyo Seco neighborhood. Sumptuous woodwork (including delicately hand-carved floral-form friezes), leaded art-glass windows and fixtures, hand-glazed tilework and furniture custom-designed to fit each room make the Gamble House look and feel like an enormous work of art. In the 1960s, the home was almost sold to a couple who wanted to lighten up the interior by painting everything white; instead, it was purchased by the University of Southern California and preserved as a tourist attraction and architectural teaching tool.
Guided tours are the only way to see the home's interior; docents provide engaging one-hour introductions, while more in-depth tours last two to three hours and are often led by craftspeople that have made meticulous renovations within the house. Advance reservations are required for in-depth tours, and recommended for one-hour tours.
The best route to take by transit: Bus: 267/264.