Among the great artist-sibling groups, like the Beach Boys or the Coen brothers, includes Charles and Henry Greene. Two brothers born to a homeopathic physician father in the late 19th century who helped define Arts and Crafts architecture in the United States.

Arts and Crafts architecture might seem stuffy to some. You have large wooden furniture, grandma-esque lamps, and big fireplaces, and it could be confusing when you hear that Dieter Rams studied architecture at the School of Arts and Crafts in Germany, or that for several months Steve Jobs only had a Tiffany lamp and a stereo system in his apartment because he said that was all he needed. Yet, when you take a close look at the architecture of Greene and Greene, you can begin to make sense of these champions of modern design and their stained glass lamp shades.

Gamble House Exterior, Greene and Greene - Adsum
The Gamble House. Pasadena, CA.
Charles and Henry Greene.

Don’t let the wooden beams and persian rugs fool you, the Greenes had a modern sensibility to their designs. Early on, their father taught them the importance of circulating air and sunlight as a part of his practice, and they cunningly incorporated it into theirs. Many of their homes have large windows, wrap around porches, and beautiful landscape design. The Gamble house has a stunning tiered garden and a koi pond that is a part of its architecture.

Gamble House Exterior
Gamble House Garden Wall, made from a mix of stones and brick.

They also attended a trade school for metal and wood working early in life that taught them the importance of materials and construction. Similar to Mies van der Rohe, their buildings showcased their structure but to a different effect. Instead of giving a sense of lightness, the structure of Greene and Greene architecture gives a sense of warmth and protection.

Gamble House Sleeping Porch, Greene and Greene - Adsum
The sleeping porch at the Gamble house.

What we love about the Arts and Crafts movement, and Greene and Greene, is that it’s modern design 1.0; it has the same idea, but without the mass manufacturing behind it. It showcases craftsmanship and refinement, but when you get in close, you can see the evidence that it was made by a human hand.