In Pasadena, a Mid-Century Modern Home Returns to Grandeur

Breland-Harper 10 - The firm specializes in historic preservation and adaptive reuse

Breland-Harper specializes in historic preservation and adaptive reuse. Photos by Justin Chung


August 31, 2023

In Pasadena, California, Breland – Harper, cultivates an oasis in a 3,359-square-foot mid-century modern home nestled into the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Helmed by Michael Breland and Peter Harper, design firm Breland – Harper is known for adaptive reuse and historic preservation, invigorating residential, commercial, mixed-used, and hospitality projects alike. A core principle is to integrate landscape design into their architecture and interiors: rather than trying to tame nature, this restored home embraces it and lets it run wild.

Breland-Harper 01 - home camouflages

A core principle is to integrate landscape design into their architecture and interiors.

The 1965 home, which sold quickly after it was listed in July, nearly camouflages into its luscious environment. Long balconies encircle the house and connect to nearly every room, erasing the barrier between indoors and outdoors. Leafy oak trees beckon residents to step out and take in the vibrant green foliage, which paints the illusion of a remote and secluded environment in the populous suburb.

Breland-Harper 03: an inverted floor plan

With the inverted floor plan, the living room is on the second floor with views high into the canopy.

The entryway now has a 20-foot ceiling, breaking up the low headroom more typical in mid-century modern architecture. It gives an immediate glimpse into the inverted floor plan, where the first floor is home to three bedrooms, and the second floor takes in the fourth bedroom, office, living room, family room, kitchen, living room, and breakfast nook. Placing the living areas on the second floor further emphasizes the interplay between landscape and architecture. While entertaining, you’re lifted into the canopy, floating above the property’s newly laid garden and restored koi pond.

Breland-Harper 08

The same natural stone tile of the foyer’s floor surrounds the fireplace in the primary bedroom.

Breland – Harper put a lot of thought into repeating materials throughout the home. The foyer’s natural stone tile floor also surrounds the primary bedroom’s fireplace. Hardwood floors echo the timber ceilings, which are accented by steel beams. The same steel doubles as the stairway bannister, builds the balcony’s guardrails, and runs down moldings and across baseboards to define entryways.

Breland-Harper 04: Furnishings by Leibel

Furnishings provided by Leibel. The Luteca Butaque Chair is the perfect recliner for curling up with a book.

Nils Tims and Justin Chung’s photographs show off the natural toned furniture, some provided by Leibel, that was used to style the home. The Luteca Butaque Chair, designed by Clara Porset, is the perfect recliner for lounging with a book. Its form, which bends deeply like a hammock, looks like it should be set in the trees.

Breland-Harper 09: Bathroom

Bathroom with natural finishes

Breland-Harper 06: The kitchen

The kitchen seamlessly leads to common areas.

Breland-Harper 07: the backyard

The backyard has a sense of seclusion.