By Isiah REYES
This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Pasadena Showcase House of Design and no expense was spared in the lavish reworking of this Pasadena 1915 English country estate. The Showcase House is the main fundraiser for the Pasadena Showcase for the Arts, which is celebrating its 65th year.
The architect of this year’s home was Stiles Clements (1882-1966), who was a prominent Southern California architect for 50 years.
“We’re very happy to be back in the city of Pasadena,” PSHA President Donna Gotch said. “This is an idea that started with one of our members 50 years ago. We are honored to continue her legacy and to continue to raise money for children and music education.”
Because it is the 50th year of the Showcase House, Gotch said there were an abundant number of proposals from designers – more than the committee could have chosen. The work of designers from last year, new designers who have never done a showcase before and seasoned veterans who have been doing showcases for 20 years are all featured in the 2014 Showcase House.
Each designer is responsible for a different section of the house. They get into the house around the first week of January and have about three to four months to complete their design.
John Cole designed the salon of the house, which is just shy of 1,000 square feet.
“I wanted a glamorous, elegant look to it,” Cole said. His design features custom-made pieces designed specifically for the room, which has an old-school contemporary feel while still feeling sophisticated and modern.
“You have the natural, the high-end, the glitz and the rock crystals,” Cole said. “There’s a lot going on.”
The house sits on three and a half wooded acres and features a pool, a bathhouse, tennis and badminton courts, a greenhouse, gardener’s potting shed, a pond, seven bedrooms, 10 baths, five fireplaces and a spring house. The cost to build the home and garage in 1915 was $28,000.
Steven Sandalis of Mystic Water Gardens converted the river walk spring house into a wine cellar. Sandalis also designed the pathway through the small forest-like exterior. The spring was originally used to cool milk that was stored in the spring house and is now used to irrigate the garden and fill the pond.
The media game room located on the second floor is essentially an upstairs family room. It was designed by Jerome Thiebault of Jill Tilton Interior Design.
The room features grass cloth wallpaper with a wax stud design and drapes made from alpaca wool. Thiebault said the ceiling was spray-painted with a metallic paint sample to give it a little bit of a metallic feel without the actual metal showing through.
“The main challenge when doing a showcase is you have to work with resources,” Thiebault said. “When you’re talking about 150-year old brick from Belgium, that’s not something you come across everyday on your way to the market.”
In the outside rear of the house, there is an outdoor kitchen and a pool that leads directly to a restaurant for Showcase called Table 50. There will also be a pub on the grounds called Pub 50 located near the rain cascade garden, which was designed by Kirk Aoyagi.
“We’re showing people what you can do with native plants,” Aoyagi said about the rain cascade garden. “Most people have this idea about native plants having a desert-like look, and what we want to do is show people that you can have a beautiful landscape using native plants and it doesn’t have to look dry.”
Not too far from the garden is a lily pond that was designed by Jon Rasmussen. The main focal point of the pond is an urn that camouflages a filter. The pond has tropical lilies, hardy water lilies and Louisiana iris.
Homes featured as a Showcase House have been located in various cities including Pasadena, San Marino, La Cañada Flintridge, South Pasadena, Arcadia and Altadena.
The restaurant at Showcase serves light breakfast, lunch and dinner from 9 a.m. until Showcase closes for the day. There are also about 25 shops for visitors to purchase items.
This year, visitors are parking at the Rose Bowl, Lot I, from which they are shuttled to the Showcase House.
The Showcase House is open from April 13 to May 11. On Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, it is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. while on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, it is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Showcase receives about 30,000 visitors each year who tour in the span of 25 days.
Tickets are $35 to $45 each, depending on the time and day.
An all-volunteer organization, Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts is a non-profit California Corporation whose members donate their time and talents to produce the annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design. Founded in 1948, they adopted the Pasadena Showcase House of Design as their annual benefit in 1965. It is one of the oldest and largest house and garden tours in the nation.