The 2014 Pasadena Showcase House
Last week, I had the opportunity to preview the 2014 Pasadena Showcase House as a member of the media before it opened to the public this past Sunday. This year the Pasadena Showcase House celebrates their Golden Anniversary – 50 years and the biggest and oldest running show house in the country! Growing up in Pasadena, I have attended for as long as I can remember – about the past 30+ years!
The 2014 Pasadena Showcase House, a 1915 English Arts and Crafts estate, was built in 1915 by Stiles O. Clements, who designed many notable buildings in the area, including the El Capitan Theatre, the Wiltern Theater, and the Adamson House in Malibu. The estate occupies 3.5 acres overlooking the Arroyo and features 7 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, 5 fireplaces, a river rock spring house (now converted into a wine cellar), a greenhouse, a potting shed, a tennis court, pool including bathhouse with two poolside changing rooms, a carriage house, and much, much more!
This year’s Showcase house consists of 25 designers from Pasadena and other outlying areas. There was so much to see – much more than I could possibly post. Besides, I am only going to show a few snippets to whet your appetite so that you’ll come and see the house in person, because it really needs to be seen in person to appreciate the true beauty and scale of the estate.
Upon approaching the front door, I was greeted by a beautiful porch and grand entry hall. The entry hall was lined with paneling, and placed in key spots around the room were marble busts – a trend that I recently saw at High Point Market and is now making its way into homes around the country.
Off of the entry hall was a Powder Room, painted in a bold chartreuse and outfitted with gold accents and fixtures – also an important trend that I have been seeing lately. I particularly loved the modern, almost organic shape of the faucet handles.
Next, I entered the dining room, designed by Michael Berman, who incorporated an eclectic and worldly mix of antiques and pieces from his own personal collection, including embroidered linen and silk drapery from his signature line for Kravet. The mitered detailing in the platinum grass cloth on the ceiling was to die for.
Before its most recent transformation, The Salon was outfitted with dark wood paneling and had very little light. Now it is large, sun-drenched and used as living room, separated into three distinct sitting areas where intimate conversations could be had simultaneously while entertaining. The room combines soothing neutrals and mixed metals, and Asian artifacts are used throughout. The use of glass and lucite pedestals and accent tables throughout gives this room a fresh, contemporary edge.
The Great Room is what I picture when I think of traditional Pasadena design. Arts and Crafts inspired with dark wood flooring and large stenciled beams above. A more relaxed room than the adjacent Salon, there are two distinct seating areas and a newly added wet bar which is perfect for casual entertaining.
The Staircase and Upstairs Gallery is painted in a rich chocolate brown and the lighting that shines on the marble busts brings out the highlights and shadows reminiscent of chiaroscuro (the strong contrast between light and dark in painting), and reminds me of being in the gallery at the Huntington Library that houses Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Pinky. (Sorry I don’t have a picture – you’ll just have to come and see for yourself!)
The Master Suite was cleverly reconfigured to to accommodate a king size bed. The original opening was in the center of the room, and with the wall being divided in two, a king size bed was not possible. A subtle mix of metallic finishes – weathered brass, pearlized grey, platinum leaf, along with the sheen of the drapery and bed linens add a touch of glamour to the room.
Upon walking into the Bath of the Master Suite, I instantly recognized the Walker Zanger mosaic tile from the Tangent Collection that was recently featured in my friend Brandon Smith’s newly launched magazine, The twentySIX. I thought that the picture in Brandon’s magazine looked good, but it looks incredible when done in a larger area and the repeat of the tile can truly be appreciated.
The Laundry Room designed by Erika Bruder was situated on the second floor and offered a modern approach to a traditional space. A farm house sink, but the size and proportion was much more modern and streamlined than the farmhouse sinks I am accustomed to seeing. I’m always a fan when a designer is sensitive to the space is able to transform a room while taking into consideration the original architecture .
The Young Woman’s Suite and adjoining bath is outfitted in the most calming color palette – a soft baby blue (reminiscent of Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year, “Breath of Fresh Air”) And a breath of fresh air is indeed what this suite is. Clean, sophisticated, and very Pasadena.
The World Traveler’s Suite is reminiscent of a suite in a high end luxury hotel- beautifully appointed with luxurious linens, accessories, and finishes throughout. I especially loved herringbone patterned floor and the side by side Gessi faucets and trough sink in the bath.
JTID spared no expense on the details in the Media/Game Room. Young, contemporary, a little bit eclectic, yet still very sophisticated with an assortment of high end finishes and textures. I was especially fond of the art on the wall and the unique Mid-Century inspired light fixture that extended from floor to ceiling.
The Nursery and adjoining Bath, designed by A. Peltier Interiors Inc., was a charming and sophisticated room for the baby. Not too cute, but not to serious, it had the same beautiful combination of pale aqua and coral that I recently saw at High Point Market and can easily be made more grown up at a later date by simply swapping out some of the furnishings and accessories, or the wallpaper in the bath. Practical and thinking ahead – I like that!
I loved the texture against the wall in the back staircase by L2 Interiors. The choice of lighting – perfect for the space.
The Nanny’s Room, designed by the dynamic duo of Ederra Studio, is drastically different than the modern loft they designed for Dwell Labs last year. Again, they did not disappoint, as they have a strong pulse on what is important to Pasadenans and kept true to the architecture of the home.
Today’s Kitchen was transformed from several smaller spaces in which walls were removed to make way for an open space that is more conducive to the way today’s families live.
I love that modern technology was integrated into the kitchen with the addition of Top Brewer’s Scanomat. I recently tested this high end coffee machine and beverage dispenser at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York and love that you can brew your customized drink of choice remotely via a Smart Phone. Now if only it could deliver drinks bedside…
The jacuzzi and fountain are centered along the same axis as the pool. The raised coping around the pool adds a sense of drama and presence to the space.
The Terraced Garden showcases a variety of xeric (water wise/drought tolerant) plants. Living in California, where we have been experiencing a water shortage, we are all sensitive to the environment and do what we can to conserve water. The fact that it is visually stunning is an added bonus. The plantings were chosen to offer a variety of color, texture, and balance to the existing hardscape – the original traditional herringbone patterned brick walkway and concrete steps.
A trip to the back of the property to the Carriage House was a pleasant surprise. The space was beautifully layered with artifacts from around the globe – a Zebra hide laid on the herringbone patterned wood floor, stone carved Buddha heads on the console, a pair of antique chairs upholstered in a classic Greek key motif. There was so much to look at that had I not been told, I would not have looked up and would have missed the collection of Moroccan pendants that hung from the raised ceiling above.
Last but not least, the 100 year old Creekside Spring House constructed of river rock , was originally used to store produce before the days of refrigeration. The natural underground spring still flows and provides irrigation to the neighboring flowers and plantings. Because of the naturally cool temperature, a wine cellar was the perfect fit.
What was covered here is only a fraction of what you will see on the 2014 Pasadena Showcase House tour. The gardens are extensive (3.5 acres, remember?) The Botanical Retreat and Exotic Plant Observatory, which I don’t have a photo, is not to be missed – especially if you are an orchid enthusiast, which I am. Tickets range from $25-$40, depending on time, and can be purchased by clicking on the link to the 2014 Pasadena Showcase House Ticket Info page.
The one thing that I found interesting is how the design and decor of the local Pasadena designers differ from those designers coming from West LA or other outlying areas. Pasadena has such a rich history, and being able to pull from that history and bring a part of that into the home to tell a story is key- it’s not just about pretty things. Definitely not flashy, not trendy, and quite a bit restrained – that is how I would describe Pasadena. But I do love how designers from outside the area bring in a fresh new approach to design. It’s always fun to see what is trending in the market incorporated into the more traditional homes in the area.
The Pasadena Showcase House of the Arts is an all-volunteer organization that was formed in 1948 to provide funding for music programs in the Pasadena area, and the annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design benefit was formed 15 years later in 1965. Having been a violinist and a member of the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Pasadena Young Musicians Orchestra back in the early-mid 80s, I have also personally benefitted from the revenue that the Pasadena Showcase House brings in. In fact, the 2013 Pasadena Showcase House brought in $685,000 in gifts and grants which are used to provide scholarships, music education, music therapy, and the underwriting of concerts, and what they do makes a difference in the community.
When you come to the 2014 Pasadena Showcase House, be sure to wear flat shoes and make a day of it – there is a pub, Table 50, the on-site gourmet restaurant, and The Shops at Showcase, a collection of carefully selected vendors carrying a selection of gourmet foods, gift items, clothing, and housewares. Enjoy! If you do happen to go, come back and let me know what you think in the comment section below!