AKA: Green Gables, Woodside, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: De Wolfe, Elsie, Interior Designer (firm); Greene and Greene, Architects (firm); Muzzie De Wolfe (interior designer); Charles Sumner Greene (architect); Henry Mather Greene (architect); Leroy Hulbert (architectural photographer)

Dates: constructed 1911-1912

Woodside, CA

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map

According to the Greenes biographer and archivist, Edward R. Bosley, Charles Greene took the design lead on the country house built for the San Francisco businessman and financier, Mortimer Fleishhacker, Sr., (1866-1953), President, in 1912, of the Great Western Power Company. The interior was designed by the New York firm of Elsie de Wolfe (1865-1950) and the San Francisco design house of Vickery, Atkins and Torrey. The Fleishhacker family asked that their house be an English Style cottage, ideally with a thatched roof. The hamlet of Woodside, CA, located in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, was susceptible to summer fires, making the construction of a grass-roofed residence unrealistic. The Greenes used shingles to clad the roof and the new "Gunite" process to spray concrete onto the exterior of the house. The Gunite gun used an air compressor to shoot an even coating of concrete onto a surface quickly, theoretically cutting labor costs. According to Bosley, "Its easily manipulated spraying action allowed for complete coverage, and in the right hands could even allow for the spontaneous creation of uneven, sculptural surfaces." (See Edward R. Bosley, Greene and Greene, [London: Phaidon Press, 2000], p. 149.) Images of the Fleishhacker House's Gunite exterior were illustrated in the article, "The Cement Gun," Western Architect and Engineer, 28:4, 04/1912, p. 44, 46.)

PCAD id: 7145