2016 HERITAGE AWARD RECIPIENT
The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Vinton Gregory Home
216 Grandview Drive
Vinton Gregory Home
216 Grandview Drive
In the late 1920s, Redlands-born Mr. Vinton Gregory was enjoying success in several fields. Previously he had overseen the 1,000 acre Marigold Farm, near California Street, on which 3,000 head of cattle were raised. Gregory then became manager of the packing house group “Orangedale”, which he ran from 1929-1959, the busiest years of its history. He purchased over 200 acres of orange trees, owned a building on Orange Street, and built a house on Buena Vista Street. Gregory wanted a quality “Donald-built” home. Lots in the Carter-Terrace Tract started selling in 1924. He purchased lot #32, and in 1928 built his home at 216 Grandview Dr. with Gordon Donald as the contractor. At this time Mission Revival or the Spanish Colonial style was at its height of popularity in Redlands. Moorish elements such as the pointed windows and the use of decorative tiles were also incorporated. No building permit has been found, but the Redlands Daily Facts printed the cost of Gregory’s new home as $15,000. Subsequent printed descriptions stated the size to be a little over 2,000 sq. feet.
The outside of the house has changed little, with its asymmetrical structure and rough jazz-stucco finish. Other features include two small projected patios on the 2nd floor, and a Moorish pointed window and front door. One other interesting window, tucked away on the stairwell, was no doubt requested specifically by Vinton Gregory. It is a small round stained glass window, showing images of importance to him – his surname, a British shield, the image of a tree and sword, and other medieval designs. Glass-paned doors lead to a side yard and offer an extended space for entertaining. The outside wall of the living room contains a tapered chimney into which are set 3 groups of tile in graduated sizes. Flanking the chimney are open arched cutouts with thick stucco latticework. Behind these apertures, the living room is graced with two leaded glass windows. From the rear can be seen a back entrance, some of the many windows of varying sizes, and the projection of a 2-car garage. From the front, two windows that are seemingly part of the house are actually in the garage, making it invisible from the road. Capping it all is another manifestation of Mission Revival architecture – a shallow-pitched red tile roof which extends slightly beyond short rafter supports.
There have been three long-term families who lived here. The Gregory family left in the mid-1940s. A few years later came the Otto Knudsens. Mr. Knudsen first came to the area to visit his parents on their ranch in Yucaipa. WW1 had ended. Otto found it hard to settle into university life, so he established a transportation company. He had previous extensive experience with Caterpillar tractors. In the 1938 Diamond Jubilee book, Otto was described as having “a pet enthusiasm for the romance of trucking.” In 1956 the Knudsen’s expanded their property by buying adjacent lot #31, which had never been built on. Their teenage son, Chresten, eventually became a civil engineer and was instrumental in many Redlands road issues. He served on the Redlands City Council for most of the 1970s. Chresten Knudsen was honored in 1992 to have the interchange of Interstate 10 and Highway 30, near Tennessee Street named for him.
Donald and Phyllis Davis made 216 Grandview their home in 1963. He was a salesman at Pratt Brothers’ sporting goods store. Like the owners preceding them, the Davis family loved to entertain. Already on the property were an artist’s studio and a covered patio. To these, the Davises added a fountain and a firepit. They remained the owners for over 50 years.
The current owners are the Sauls’ family who purchased the home in late 2016. Matt is interested in good architecture and works for a home builder. Krista loves the Moorish, Islamic details of the house. The open-strut, heavy wooden beams in the living room strongly attracted both of them, and the ceiling in the dining room is also very interesting. It is constructed of radiating wooden planks. The ceiling and beams were painted white, along with the staircase. Matt and Krista hoped to return these textural details to the dark brown they believed were original. Before they even moved in, the team from the DIY television show Restored worked on these projects and re-vamped the Sauls’ kitchen. The DIY team were also responsible for the open look of the landscaping that allows a better view of the entrance to the house. Along with the owners, the Restored staff appreciated the many glazed ceramic tiles. The tiles are found on the fireplace surround, in a niche by the front door, and embedded into the outdoor chimney. They attributed most of the tiles to the Malibu Pottery Works, which was active from 1926-1931. There are also old tiles forming the floor of the covered patio.
The Sauls’ have already shown their love and consideration of the beautiful aspects of their newly acquired 1928 home. Their stewardship will be appreciated for many years. The Redlands Area Historical Society is pleased to present a 2017 Heritage Award to Matt and Krista Sauls.
Researcher: Robin Grube