The huge two-story Gamble House, built in 1908 as a California vacation home for the wealthy family of Procter and Gamble fame, is a sublime example of Arts and Crafts architecture. The interior, designed by the famous Pasadena-based Greene and Greene architectural team, abounds with handcraftsmanship, including intricately carved teak cornices, custom-designed furnishings, elaborate carpets, and a fantastic Tiffany glass door. No detail was overlooked: Every oak wedge, downspout, air vent, and switch plate contributes to the unified design. Admission is by 1-hour guided tour only, which departs every 15 to 20 minutes. Tickets go on sale on tour days in the bookstore at 10am Thursday through Saturday, and at 11:30am on Sunday. No reservations are necessary, but tours are often sold out, especially on weekends, by 2pm. And don't wear high heels or they'll make you put on slippers. No interior photography is allowed either.
If you can't fit the tour into your schedule but have an affection for Craftsman design, visit the well-stocked bookstore and museum shop, located in the former garage (you can also see the exterior and grounds of the house this way). The bookstore is open Tuesday through Saturday 10am to 5pm, and Sunday 11:30am to 5pm.
Additional elegant Greene and Greene creations (still privately owned) abound 2 blocks away along Arroyo Terrace, including nos. 368, 370, 400, 408, 424, and 440. The Gamble House bookstore can give you a walking-tour map ($1.50). For occasional opportunities to actually go inside the homes, there's the annual Craftsman Weekend in October, and Bungalow Heaven in April.
House Hygiene -- The restoration of the Gamble House was so meticulous that workers used dental picks to scrape gunk from the home's 262 rafters.