Originally published in “A Stone’s Throw” column in the South Pasadena Review 1.28.16
On Friday night, blueprints of design, swatches of fabric, and bare rooms with delectable food filled the “Empty House Party” and the newly revealed 2016 Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA.) This year, the non-profit organization will showcase a 1918-built mission revival, found on a 2-acre property in La Canada Flintridge.
“The Empty House Party is a very exciting night for us. We have been working diligently to get the House to this point,” said former South Pasadena resident Marilyn Campbell Anderson, this year’s Benefit Chair.
The event kicked-off the designers’ dream-making spree, as ideas are fleshed out and the creativity revealed to the public April 17-May 15. Landscape and interior design artists vie for a spot to strut their stuff and help raise money for the arts around Los Angeles County.
The process is straightforward. The owners of the property, in this case the nearly 100-year-old gem, move out for 6 months while the place is gutted of furniture and belongings while preparations are made for a design renovation inside and out.
Professionals submit their proposals for the space they desire to transform. The selection committee then decides which ideas shows the most promise and entrusts the designer with the task.
This year’s sprawling property has a three-story, 16,000 square foot main residence with six bedrooms, five bathrooms, a variety of open spaces, balconies, an elevator, and even a rumored speakeasy on the lowest floor. There is also a 2,100 square foot stand alone guest home in the back. In the main house, the master suite alone is 1,500 square feet and includes separate his and hers bathrooms and a changing room the size of a large living room in your average home. Samantha Williams of Ederra Design Studio is one of two designers who will take charge of this space.
Though a great deal of work lie ahead for the 20 interior design firms, 8 exterior design firms and hundreds of volunteer members associated with the PSHA, all agree that it’s fully worth the effort. Anderson said, “Showcase is a huge undertaking. Our volunteers are the backbone of the organization and through their efforts, year after year, we are able to produce Showcase and raise funds to support music education programs throughout the community.”
The goal is for 30,000 people to walk through the home in 25 days. $630,000 was donated last year alone for gifts and grants and more given to other artsy endeavors. A cumulative $20+ million has been donated since the start of the organization in 1948.
The funds go toward music and art education in and around Los Angeles County: gifts and grants for outstanding community programs, the “Music Mobile” bringing a hands-on music experience to hundreds of 3rd graders, a concert at the Walt Disney Hall by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra for an audience filled with 4th-grade students, competitions for promising young musicians (16-24 years of age) who receive monetary awards to assist in furthering their music education and more!
But truly, this is a win-win for all. Not only does the philanthropic owner enjoy some improvements to the house, but many have the opportunity to give directly to their community by supporting children in the arts. The public can experience a historic home with modern ideas to accentuate and celebrate the past; and designers benefit by showcasing their talent to thousands.
When asked why he’s done this for the past seven years, Jason Lai, owner and principal designer of L2 Interiors said that it was simply “good advertisement and all worth it.” Lai will be showcasing a “young adult” bedroom and bath. He is proud to be debuting a textured porcelain that looks like stone and a custom faucet for the bath that “mix metals” in a tasteful manner.
The cost for the redesign are incurred by each design firm. Designers also work with a variety of businesses who advertise alongside them, donating materials and ultimately add to the cause.
When the home opens to the public in April, it will be the 52nd showcase, “one of the oldest, largest and most successful house and garden tour in the U.S.” according to PSHA.
Tickets go on sale February 3 and are $35-$45/person, depending on the day and hour of a scheduled tour. (A $60 golden ticket that allows a visit during any open hours is currently on sale online.) Parking will be in Lot I at the Rose Bowl, shuttling people to and from the home.
For tickets and information, go online to pasadenashowcase.org.
List of Designers & their Design Space
Entry, Staircase and Second Floor Hall
Saxony Design Build Inc.
Joshua Cain & Jeff Godbold (Interior Advisors)
Designs of the Interior
Karen Shoener, Genaro Lagdameo & Carla Padour
Parker West Interiors
Greg Parker & Paul Heinz
Kelly Ferm Inc.
Cloakroom and Lavatory
EMI Interior Design, Inc.
Ederra Design Studio
Samantha Williams & Cynthia Lambakis
Morning Room and Lady’s Office
Grandparent’s Suite and Sitting Room
Grandparents’ Suite Bath
Foothill Tile and Stone Co.
Vincent Chow & Carmel Chow
The Artist’s Veranda and The Aviary Elevator
Shari Tipich, Decorative Artist
The Writer’s Retreat
Mark and Bleue Design, Inc.
Savannah Bleue & Ally Marks
Little Girl’s Bedroom
Scott Moore & Jonna Carls
Young Adult Bedroom and Jack & Jill Bath
Stephanie Leese & Jason Lai
Family Room, Main Hallway and Powder Room
Robert Frank Design
Julia Wong Designs
Michael Wrusch Design
Kitchen, Butler’s Pantry, Breakfast Room, Laundry Room and Caterer’s Kitchen
GH Wood Design
Amin Khademi, Kaleena Khademi & Jack Carino
Basement Hallway/Art Gallery
Guest House Bedroom, Bath, Living Room and Dining Room
The Art of Room Design
Guest House Kitchen, Breakfast Room and Laundry
Exterior Design Spaces
Land Re: Vision
Entry Gardens and Rose Garden
Gad Garden Architecture & Design
Tidellii of Fountain Valley
Tatiana Mendelli & Ginger Evans
Mystic Water Garden
Sacred Space Garden Design Inc.
Guest House Gardens
Outdoor Elegance, Inc.
Douglas Sanicola & Roxanne Spear
Pacific Outdoor Living
Terry Morrill and John Durco
The Sports Court and Putting Green
TD Sports Inc./Sportcourla