The 2017 Pasadena Showcase House came and went in a flash this past spring, with twenty-five interior and exterior designers pulling off one of the most cohesive houses in recent years. Throughout the month that the house was open to the public, visitors from around Southern California and beyond made their annual trek to visit the Pasadena Showcase House and this time being on the “inside”, having designed the Guest Bedroom, I took in lots of insights from those who stopped by. Among the comments I heard:
- This year’s house was more cohesive than ever
- This was my favorite house in recent years.
- The house was smaller than usual, but it was fresher and more exciting than ever.
- The average visitor to the Pasadena Showcase House has been coming annually for years (32 years for me!)
- There are bus loads of groups from San Diego and Orange County that make the trek to experience the day at Showcase
- There were many small groups of friends (some of which have moved away from the area) that make the point to tour Showcase together every year, and they purchase their tickets months in advance.
The 2017 Pasadena Showcase House of Design
This year’s home was a 1916 English Tudor designed by Marston & Van Pelt and consisted of 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. Much of the home had not been updated in quite some time – the kitchen since the 1950s and having recently watched the 1988 movie, “Beaches” the main staircase and hallways had not been updated since at least then, as the walls, ceilings, and woodwork were still sporting the same mint green as in the movie (yes, that means from floor to ceiling in solid mint)
The Designer Spaces of the 2017 Pasadena Showcase House
The Front Entrance Garden – Haynes Landscape Design
Upon stepping foot off the shuttle bus and through the bright red painted gate, visitors were greeted by a rotating garden that featured an assortment of plantings, giving visitors a warm welcome to the property.
STREAM – Mystic Water Gardens
Making the way up the path and through mature trees to the main house, one crossed the bridge to traverse the stream running through the grounds of the property.
FOYER AND STAIRCASE – L’Esperance Design
Pictured is the foyer, featuring the millwork original to the home. Designers Paul L’Esperance and Daelen Cory commissioned artist Shari Tipich to painstakingly hand paint an idyllic scene of trees reminiscent of the centuries old wallpaper house, Zuber. The hand painting extended from the bottom floor through to the top of the staircase, giving the visitor the impression that they were walking through the trees while making their way up the staircase.
Digitally printed paper backed fabric inspired by Spanish plasterwork was placed between on the surface of the groin vault ceiling. Pieces of furniture from Jean Louis Deniot’s newly launched collection for Baker along with pieces of art curated by the designers gave the feeling of an art gallery.
POWDER ROOM – Alicia Friedmann Interior Design
A bold stripe, black and white wallpaper was juxtaposed with a large scale floral for the powder room. Antique glass mirror subway tile made the small powder room feel much larger than it actually was. There is a false impression that busy pattern makes a small space feel even smaller, but this is definitely not the case.
GRAND HALL – Tocco Finale
Warm white, painted millwork offered a calming backdrop for the Old World Asian-inspired antiques that lined the corridor. A neutral sisal rug was laid on top of the original black painted hardwood floor and black tones in the antiques tied in with the black floor that lined the walls on either side.
LIVING ROOM – Robert Frank Interiors
Walking into the living room, one was greeted with a light-filled space that opened to the outdoor loggia. As I recall from the Designer Walk-Through, this wasn’t always the case. Open windows lined with white drapery replaced once light-hindering wood shades, blurring the boundary between indoors and out.
LOGGIA – Ederra Design Studio
The Loggia is the quintessential Southern California indoor-outdoor living space that bridges the gap between the indoor living space and the outdoor pool area. It is the perfect lounge space for evening cocktails and was recently featured in the film La La Land. The palette of deep navy blue and white blends in with the adjacent living room, providing a seamless segué from the indoors to out and vice versa.
LADIES OFFICE – Michael Wrusch
A formerly dark and cramped linen closet was transformed into an office – complete with custom built-ins, a hand-painted ceiling mural by artist Shari Tipich, and with a collection of antique Chinese porcelain on display. An Adorne by Legrand under-cabinet lighting, electrical and sound system was installed, which not only provides light and power without obstructing the wall, but it also offers the convenience of being able to charge a smart device while also streaming music through the integrated speakers. From a dark linen closet to a “smart” office – what a transformation!
MASTER SUITE – Home Front Build
The Master Bedroom was transformed into a serene space in which to unwind. The walls were hand-painted with a subtle ombré effect that mimics the palette of warm sand against a cool blue sky. What you might not see in this room is the drop-down TV which descends from the ceiling above so that one can watch comfortably from bed in the evening, but can be retracted into the ceiling when not in use, because let’s face it – no one wants a big black TV screen to disrupt the aesthetic harmony of the space.
The color palette of the Master Bedroom is carried through to the Master Bathroom. The soothing, cool color palette is juxtaposed with the warmth of the Moroccan tile motifs and ceiling tracery.
Moving into the Master Sitting Room, the blue palette was carried through but with a much bolder presence. The walls were split between navy blue wallcovering, under which speakers were concealed, and deep blue burnished plaster on the remainder of the walls and ceiling. Swivel chairs allowed flexibility for conversation or watching TV.
MEDIA ROOM – Casa/Wasy
The Media Room was outfitted with rich tones of browns and warm brass metallic accents. The ultimate in home automation, the window treatments were controlled via remote and the sound system was a top of the line system from Steinway & Sons.
The former closet was outfitted to house a wine refrigerator and counter space so that snacks and beverages are in arm’s reach.
GUEST BATHROOM – SGS International, Inc.
Perhaps one of the toughest rooms to configure was the Guest Bathroom. The jack and jill bathroom was sandwiched between the Media and Guest Rooms. It may have been small in size, but it packed a punch with the clever use of tile and integrated storage solutions.
GUEST BEDROOM – Jeanne K Chung | Cozy Stylish Chic (aka MOI)
I was responsible for the Guest Bedroom and as mentioned in my previous post, I opted to concentrate on a more eclectic theme to be able to merge the traditional 100-year old details with today’s modern aesthetic.
Integrating modern technology from Life Space UX, Sony’s new lifestyle division, was a great way to show how traditional design and modern technology can coexist.
For more pictures and a detailed walk-through of our room, please head to our recent blog post on the Guest Bedroom.
GLAM ROCK TEEN BEDROOM – The Art of Room Design
Deep charcoal grasscloth wallcovering paired with warm brass accents and a sophisticated edge makes the lucky girl occupying the Glam Rock Teen Bedroom the hippest girl in town.
The hip, sophisticated rock theme in the bedroom is carried through into the adjoining Sun Room where a comfortable sofa and chairs create a relaxing space in which to listen to music, watch TV, or simply hang out with friends.
Warm grey and creamy white tile is punctuated with accents of fuchsia in the Glam Rock Teen Bathroom.
NANNY’S NURSERY BATH – Suzy Kloner Designs
The Nanny’s Nursery Bath sported a classic design with a modern twist. Grasscloth covered walls, live brass finishes, a traditional marble countertop vanity was accented with a subtle yet contrasting palette of salmon and teal. The live brass plumbing finishes gave warmth and depth to the metal fittings that often times can appear cold and impersonal.
NURSERY – Denise Bosley Interiors
The salmon and teal color story from the Nanny’s bath was carried into the Nursery, but unlike the bathroom, solid salmon and teal filled the most prominent walls and accents instead the neutral tones acted as the accent. An on-trend rose-gold crib was the star of the room, but I also loved the use of a rattan rocking horse and macramé baby swing – such a warm departure from the eyesore of brightly colored plastic baby toys we see all too often!
NANNY’S ROOM – Denise Bosley Interiors
As you approach the Nanny’s Bedroom, the color palette is fairly neutral, but as you enter the room, the dramatic, deep teal accent wall becomes apparent and frames an upholstered headboard of a slightly lighter teal damask. The only way to describe it is “simply stylish” and just the right amount of contrast – perfect for a nanny’s bedroom.
BACK STAIRCASE – Jessica Today Designs
In sharp contrast to the bright and airy main staircase, Jessica Today decided to go with a darker, more dramatic approach for the back staircase. Walls were painted a rich, charcoal grey and contrasted with a weathered light wood floor and accented with original portraits on the wall.
A new, modern railing was put in that was the perfect complement to the English Tudor bones of the house.
LIBRARY – Aaron B Duke
The lifestyle of the homeowner is immediately evident upon entering the Library. A place to unwind and relax upon returning home, the library is a comfortable place for casual conversation or to curl up to read a good book.
DINING ROOM & CONSERVATORY – David Reaume Construction & Design
The Dining Room is a modern and elegant interpretation of the original dining room. The black painted wood floors remained the same, but a stenciled white border outlined the monochromatic pewter rug, for added visual interest. From the wallcovering to the accessories placed throughout the room, a modern organic theme was evident with a plethora of references to nature.
The Conservatory used a patterned black and white encaustic tile which further brightened the sun-drenched room. Floor to ceiling sheer drapery panels filtered the light entering the room, resulting in a soft, serene space.
KITCHEN – D Christjan Fine Cabinetry Design & Manufacturing
Before Showcase, the home’s kitchen was last remodeled in the 1950s. The solid green and yellow tile installed for the last remodel still lined the walls and countertops when I first viewed the space, so the transformation for Showcase was dramatic. A more neutral color palette was put into place utilizing both paint-grade and wood-stained cabinetry to retain warmth in the kitchen. Kitchens can oftentimes appear cold with the more modern stainless steel fronts that have become so commonplace, but more cabinetry than stainless steel visible ensured that this would not be the case. High-end appliances and plumbing from Ferguson were used, as were mixed metal finishes. I especially love the look of a glass-paneled refrigerator front, (and a Showcase House is the only place I would be able to use a glass-front refrigerator because believe me – you don’t want to see the inside of my refrigerator if it is not dedicated to beverages).
An in wall coffee system is the ultimate in luxury and one was placed conveniently on the counter next to the refrigerator.
LAUNDRY ROOM & BATHROOM – Dana Triano Designs
A wall of windows on the far side of the Laundry Room allowed light to flood the small space with natural sunlight. Originally intended as the service area for the home’s staff, the laundry room was transformed into an area that accommodates our fluctuating needs, whether it be laundry, mudroom, or make-shift study area.
The stark contrast of the navy blue against the white is especially refreshing while still maintaining the traditional roots of the home.
THE SHAKESPEARE GARDEN – Greenlink Landscape, John’s Tree & Landscape
The Shakespeare Garden was easily one place that I could spend hours in and I couldn’t help but snap a photo every time I walked by. The mosaic stepping stones and succulent planting beds added much-needed variations of color and texture to the existing landscaping, and the perfect foreground to the home’s English Tudor Revival architecture.
TERRACE – Garden Architecture & Design
A touch of the modern was brought to the home’s outside terrace. In past years, this terrace acted as the front entrance, but given the changes in how we live and how heavily we rely on the car, I would imagine that today the terrace is oriented to the back of the house, where the motor court is located, and guests enter from what was once the rear of the house.
The terrace acts as the perfect place for a casual dinner party, overlooking the expansive lawn and mature trees that line the property.
POOL GARDEN – Pacific Outdoor Living
Wood-texture porcelain pavers cover where once was grass. What was gained is an outdoor area for entertaining with much-needed shade. The southern California sun can be harsh, especially at the peak times of the day, so the retractable shades that were put into place will surely make hanging out by the pool a more enjoyable experience.
The concrete table with an integrated stream running the length of the table was the focal point in the outdoor area. The sound of trickling water in addition to the many seating areas make for a comfortable space in which to entertain.
BEE’S BLISS GARDENER’S RETREAT – Rose Thicket
Upon visiting the Bee’s Bliss Gardener’s Retreat for the first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as I made my approach I could see that this was one area where no detail was left unturned. California Native fauna and flora dotted the pathway to the entrance of the cottage.
A copper roofed bee hive, resembling a miniature Tudor structure was set on the perimeter of the garden.
Little details from the hardware to the brass leaded doors made every inch, both inside and out, a feast for the eyes.
Designers Justina and Trevor’s art was strategically placed throughout the room, with a large-scale, multi-layered, framed papercut as the backdrop of the wall opposite the entrance. They successfully transformed what was once an overgrown eyesore on the property into a place where one can go to sneak in some quiet time, or perhaps a momentary escape away from technology and a pack of quarreling kids.
It is always an experience covering the Pasadena Showcase House and this year was extra special, as this was the first time that I was also on the other side of the fence designing a room – something that I had always imagined would be “cool” when I first started attending 32 years ago but never thought was something I would actually do. The experience was more than just “cool” – as much work as it was, it was a truly rewarding experience, especially the friendships with the designers I made and who I have covered in this post.
If you were unable to see this year’s Pasadena Showcase House in person, feel free to take a 3D tour of the home. Of course, this is nothing like experiencing the home in person, but it is the next best thing.
Click to see the 3D Tour of the 2017 Pasadena Showcase House
If you are interested in perhaps designing a room for a future Pasadena Showcase House or are interested in the process behind designing a room, see my recent post on how to participate in a designer showcase house.