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Taking a Gamble

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Two architecture students from USC have the greatest dorm rooms in the greater Los Angeles area: They live in servants’ quarters of the 1908 Craftsman masterpiece the Gamble House in Pasadena. As you can imagine, competition is fierce.

We had never made the trip over the hill to see this Greene and Greene gem (even though we’d been enamored with it ever since it was featured as Dr. Emmett Brown’s house in Back to the Future), but we were lured over by visiting cool weather-dwellers David Womack and Alice Twemlow (plus our own visiting parents who were luckily fans of both Craftsman architecture and Christopher Lloyd).

One thing we were totally unprepared for: It’s dark in there. It’s so dark that the docent had to use a flashlight to point out the ornamental details in the woodwork. It’s so dark that when the Gamble family considered selling the house, a prospective buyer told his concerned wife, “Don’t worry, we can just paint all the woodwork white.” The house was taken off the market immediately.

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