Our 1917 home was nominated (thanks, Renee) and has just WON the 2013 CITY OF PASADENA HISTORIC PRESERVATION AWARD – wow!   Kinda didn’t expect that but excited, nonetheless!   That makes THREE awards given to us by the City of Pasadena (the other two were for our sustainable & recycling practices).

We are so blessed to live in this beautiful city! Of course, this nomination and award came “out of blue” because we usually just go about our daily routine and are not aware of (for better or worse) such nominations being sought.

So, how did this one come to our attention?  One day, a farm stand customer brought along someone and that “someone” was so impressed by how this old house was slowly transformed over 27 years into as she said “one of the prettiest in the neighborhood.”   She bought some produce and bread and said she’d definitely be back.

The next thing I know she’s knocking on the door one morning and handing me some papers saying “you need to fill this out.”  “Ok,” I said, wondering if I could even find the time to write a 1,000 word essay with all that was/is on my plate.   I couldn’t let this lady who was soooo enthusiastic down, so I put it right at the top of the list and I only had about a week till I had to turn it in.    Well, I did find the time to write how this old fixer-upper home came to be “fixed.”  I also included some pictures.     It’s always fun and down right humbling to look back through old photographs to see the slow, but constant, evolution of our home.  Filling out the rest of the form was easy, up until I hit the spot where I was supposed to list contractors. I stared blankly at it because we did (and are still doing) the majority of the work ourselves.

Using sound, but second-hand (or more!), housing is being really “green” and necessary  in revitalizing older neighborhoods (like the one we are  in).  Northwest Pasadena is what some would consider “ghetto.”

(See Aerial Shots of our neighborhood or Street View)

 “Old is the New Green.”

The city promotes historic preservation as a great use of land and resources, and the ultimate in “green” building. Preserving older buildings minimizes the costs, waste, demolition, manufacturing, transportation, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with new construction.

Historic Preservation Awards


When I look back on all that brought us here, I am grateful to have had such an opportunity to, as one person so aptly put it, “turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.”  What’s even more special (I think) is that we accomplished this much without asking for any special grants and on very simple budget.

Through perseverance, hard work, and faith – anything is possible.



  1. Mitzy says:

    Congratulations! It looks beautiful!

  2. Christine Lefebvre says:

    Congratulations! I especially love the emphasis on “perseverance, hard work, and faith!”

  3. Eva says:

    Congratulations! You guys deserve it for all that hard work you do.
    That place is awesome. You guys are an inspiration to the rest of us.

  4. Cafe Pasadena says:

    I Am also happy you were recognized and won an award in this city of relative many “old” houses. And, thanks for being an owner who takes care of such historical properties.

  5. Sue says:

    Are there a lot of legal loopholes you need to jump through to sell organic produce direct from your back yard? We’ve heard stories of “backyard farmers” with surprise official visits but instead of receiving awards, they receive fines and threats from governent and legal officials. Is it tricky to sell direct to consumers and is there a lot of paperwork involved? Have you heard of experiences such as these, and how do they compare with your own?

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