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Charming bungalow in historic Gartz Court

The bungalow court was born in Pasadena in 1909. It was an instant hit for families who wanted their own homes at more affordable prices by sharing upkeep and community space. For the next 20 years, it was the main form of multi-family housing in Southern California … and a charming highlight of the architectural scene.

Just a year after the idea emerged, noted architects Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey built a bungalow court in Pasadena for Kate Crane Gartz, whose family founded the Crane plumbing company. Today, it’s one of the oldest in the city, and chances to own a bungalow there are rare. Number 6 Gartz Court at 745 North Pasadena Avenue is now on the market, listed by Maggie Navarro of John Aaroe Group Pasadena at $539,000.

Hunt and Grey borrowed from several architectural traditions to create these winsome cottages. Their applied half-timbering reflects both Japanese and Tudor styles, while arroyo stone chimneys add a Craftsman touch. Inside, the cozy homes feature brick fireplaces, beamed living room ceilings and hardwood floors.

Number 6, a one-bedroom, one-bath bungalow, greets visitors with an inviting front porch whose built-in bench is ideal for enjoying the courtyard. The lovely updated kitchen has warm granite countertops and a utility room. Upgrades include copper plumbing, updated wiring, central air and a rebuilt chimney and foundation. A detached two-car garage features built-in cabinetry and a storage attic. The shady private rear garden has a delightful deck and raised planter bed.

This picturesque landmark almost didn’t live to see the 21st Century. In the 1980s, it narrowly escaped demolition when the City of Pasadena and Pasadena Heritage stepped in to move it two blocks to its current location. Now, sensitively restored and converted to an affordable condominium complex, it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and enjoys Mills Act Property Tax Abatement status. As the small house movement grows, Gartz Court is gracefully entering a new era.

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