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Weber House: The Best-Kept Little Secret in Riverside, California

by Eugenia Lazaris

Mar 7, 2023

© Eugenia Lazaris

Destinations / North America

Finding hidden gems is one of the best parts of exploring a destination, and Weber House gives family travelers to Riverside, California, the perfect chance to get a glimpse into the city’s past. Tucked away in the parking lot of Courtyard by Marriott, Weber House is the brainchild of Peter J. Weber, a local architect who wanted to create a home for his family while showcasing his work and unique talents.

 

exterior

© Eugenia Lazaris

In 1932, Weber began construction on the small workman’s house, which sat on an 8.8-acre citrus grove. Every detail of the home was designed and handcrafted by Weber himself and included features catering to his lifestyle, such as the sleeping roof, where he and his family slept throughout their entire residency at the home. A bedroom and indoor bathroom was added later to accommodate Weber’s growing family, which included his son Pete (lovingly nicknamed Re-Pete) and his mother-in-law.

 

The house features a number of interesting quirks and creative touches marrying artistry with function, such as a hand-built water heater using repurposed Model-T windshields built into the roof of the home. In fact, all materials used to build the home were salvaged and repurposed, including the tiles used in the bathroom. Other details include an Irish-style hook built into the fireplace for hanging pots to boil water or cook food, and an in-wall living room radio cabinet with a small panel opening on to the dining room so music can be heard throughout the house if desired.

 

guest room

© Eugenia Lazaris

Throughout the house, Weber’s artistic talent can be seen in the reclaimed pieces of hand-carved Douglass fir. These details are not only a testament to his craftsmanship but his commitment to using repurposed materials. Each piece of wood is adorned with North African designs and decorations Weber learned about on his honeymoon with this beloved wife, Clara. Each piece is finished with used motor oil. This process resulted in soft, smooth wood in both light and dark shades, depending on how used the oil was when Weber obtained it.

 

Although construction on Weber House ended in 1938, it was never completed. Today, it serves as headquarters for Old Riverside Foundation, which maintains and preserves the grounds and hosts salvage sales on the property for anyone looking to maintain an old home of their own. During these sales, visitors can find salvaged pieces to keep their homes furnished with vintage fixtures and finishings.

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