Saturday, December 20, 2008

"God is in the details"

Veteran guide John Hamm passes out small flashlights and slips on his white gloves in preparation for the Gamble House's Behind the Velvet Ropes tour. Held on the second Wednesday of every month, the BVR, as it is called, is a leisurely 2 1/2 -hour stroll through the iconic 1908 Pasadena landmark designed by architects Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene. The tour gives visitors a close-up glimpse at the exquisite detail of the unique Arts and Crafts home and its furnishings.

Your request is the guide's command as you step beyond the velvet ropes into the rooms once occupied by David Gamble, son of one of the founding partners of Procter & Gamble, and his wife, Mary. Hamm delights in opening secret doors, revealing hidden compartments and pulling out drawers to show off complex mortise-and-tenon joints. Ask him to see the underside of a dresser -- the one belonging to Aunt Julia, Mary's maiden sister -- and he'll crawl on all fours to highlight the bottom of the vanity, finished as deftly as the top. Clearly, for the Greene brothers -- and docent Hamm -- God is in the details.

For information and reservations for the BVR tour ($40) or the standard one-hour tour ($7 or $10), call (626) 793-3334 or go to For a sampling of even more rooms on the BVR tour, check out the photo gallery online:

No comments: