The Brothers Behind the California Bungalow

Charles Greene (left) and Henry Greene. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Although they had no way of knowing it, the Hartwigs had bought a remnant of the Cora C. Hollister House, a Craftsman-style bungalow built in 1904 by Charles and Henry Greene, two of Southern California’s most admired and transformational residential architects. “In their 20 years of practice,” wrote the late Greene & Greene historian Randell L. Makinson, “they established an American architecture so fresh that it spread from Pasadena to all of Southern California and then over the entire country as the ‘California Bungalow’ style.” Artists in the truest sense of the word, the brothers created whole environments—livable spaces that harmonized with their surroundings. In the early 20th century, Greene & Greene had a thriving practice in Southern California, designing landmark Arts & Crafts residences like the Gamble and Blacker houses in Pasadena, the town in which their firm was based.

Steve Vaught writing in Los Angeles Magazine. Vaught’s piece follows the the unlikely journey of Greene & Greene’s Cora C. Hollister House, which was erected on Hollywood soil in 1904 and later made its way to the ranchlands of western Canada.

The California bungalow—a residential architectural style that took the country by storm in the early years of the twentieth century and remained popular until 1939—was simple in design. Form followed function, structural elements were exposed, and outdoor living was emphasized.  “Greene & Greene more or less invented the California Bungalow as a distinctive style,” according to Leon Whiteson of the Los Angeles Times

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