A meticulously restored 1906 Victorian Transitional Bungalow, located in the Wuest tract of Alhambra, was recently honored with Alhambra Preservation Group’s 2014 Katherine Hildreth Memorial Heritage Home Award. In presenting the award, APG President Christine Olson remarked that in the three years since purchasing the home, its owner has done an extraordinary job of restoration, preparing this historic gem for another century of functional use.
This impressive home is located near the former Red Car line that carried passengers along Huntington Drive, to and from the business center in downtown Los Angeles. In 1906, the original owners, Fred and Emma Shuttleworth, purchased an unimproved lot from Samuel Wuest. Fred Shuttleworth, a Freemason, hired his fellow lodge member George W. May to build a five-room cottage for his family. Sixteen years later, in 1922, the Shuttleworths had a small guest house constructed at the rear of the property. It, too, was a one-story bungalow, which closely matched the style of the original home. As a rental unit, the additional income helped to ensure a comfortable retirement for the elderly owners.
The Shuttleworth home was designed as a Craftsman bungalow, incorporating elements of the earlier Victorian style in its window treatments and interior details, such as the Birdseye maple woodwork, dentil moldings, high ceilings and tall windows. The Craftsman style is characterized by the rustic texture of building materials, including shingles and redwood siding; a low-pitched roof with exposed rafter tails; and a covered front porch supported by substantial posts. There are two large bay windows – one in the front parlor, and another in the dining room. Most of the original double-hung windows are still present, featuring a distinctive diamond pattern in the upper section.
When the current owner first saw the home in 2011, she fell in love with its expansive dining room, which features a small Victorian fireplace and mantle, flanked by turned maple columns and detailed scrollwork. In restoration, instead of replacing the too-worn-to-be-refinished hardwood flooring with a less-expensive laminate material, the owner special-ordered maple floorboards to match the original. The beautiful grain of the new hardwood maple floors lends an elegant quality to the 108-year-old home.
Helping to transform the social dynamic on the street by creating a sense of neighborliness and community spirit, the owner installed a Little Free Library in her front yard, constructed from salvaged fencing material. This is the first such library to be officially registered in Alhambra. Even as this home celebrates its history and its place in the local community, its environmentally conscious upgrades (including solar panels and an electric vehicle charging station) position it solidly in the twenty-first century.
This is the last in a series of articles featuring the 2014 Heritage Home Award-winning residences.