La Jolla’s WindanSea home by noted architect gets historical nod

A property in WindanSea received unanimous support for historical designation from the San Diego Historical Resources Board (HRB) during its Aug. 24 meeting downtown. The designation request was listed on the “consent agenda,” which means there was no discussion on the item. The designation had the support of HRB staff, the current property owner and La Jolla Historical Society.

The Herbert and Alexina Childs/Thomas L. Shepherd House (so named because Herbert and Alexina Childs constructed the home as their residence with Master Architect Thomas L. Shepherd) is located at 210 Westbourne St. The house is currently owned by the Laughlin/Sage Family Trust.

According to HRB staff recommendations, the motion to designate the property was based on two findings:

1) “The resource (house) embodies the distinctive characteristics through the retention of character-defining features of the French Eclectic style with Georgian influences and retains a good level of architectural integrity from its 1950 to 1971 period of significance. Specifically, the resource retains its high-pitched roof, exterior stucco, upward flaring eaves, an asymmetrical façade, cedar shingle roof, decorative quoin (external angle of a wall or building) detailing at the corners and around the main entrance, wood divided light windows and doors, Doric pilasters; wide plaster cornice and the main entry door with entablature.”

2) “The resource is representative of a notable work of Master Architect Thomas L. Shepherd and retains integrity as it relates to his original design and his later modifications. Specifically, the resource reflects Shepherd’s distinctive and immediately recognizable style, blending classic revival styles of the past with a mid-century design aesthetic. Shepherd was responsible for the design of the both the original house and the later 1971 additions, which maintained the original styling that was so distinctive of his work.”

According to the City of San Diego Report to the Historical Resources Board, Thomas Shepherd was born in 1897 in Wisconsin and studied architecture at Columbia University. His designs were influenced by his travels in Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean region. In 1926, he relocated to La Jolla and designed residences in new subdivisions in La Jolla, but also throughout San Diego. In addition to his houses, he designed the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the Marine Room, the Spanish-style Arcade building and an addition to the La Valencia Hotel.

Shepherd passed away in 1979 at age 82.