The Blinn House, built in 1906, was designed by Chicago architect, George Washington Maher in the Midwestern Prairie School style.
Consistent with the Prairie School philosophy, Maher designed the interior of the house using harmonious, natural materials – the rich, warm tones of mahogany and oak and embellished it with repetitive patterns of trailing wisteria vines from nature to create the illusion that the house was a natural extension of the environment.
Wisteria vines along the front of the house, growing on the pergolas and trellises are repeated in the leaded glass windows and the glass tile fireplace.
In his design for the Blinn House, Maher used a segmental or “broken-arch” theme throughout the house. The front door cut to an arch shape and on either side lanterns echo the same design.
The broken-arch pattern shapes the outdoor trellises, frames the panels of the staircase railings, fireplace, light fixtures, and is repeated in four dramatic corner bay windows that project from the second story.
Although initially the fireplace mosaic glass design was attributed to Tiffany, it is now believed to be the work of Chicago glass artist Orlando Gianinni, who did similar work for other Maher homes.
The wisteria design motif artfully borders the broken-arch windows and is repeated on the floor to ceiling mosaic of trailing wisteria vines surrounding the fireplace. Tiles in warm gold, green, and brown tones create an illusion of nature that dominates the living room.
In 1905, the Blinns decided to leave Oak Park for the warm climate and stimulating cultural life they had discovered in Pasadena. They purchased a lot in the exclusive Ford Place, one of Pasadena's first subdivisions, and set out to build their dream home and what was to become a historic masterpiece a century later.
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