It’s time once again for designers to descend upon a grand home and in a frenzy—and only approximately 12 weeks—re-create a foyer, living room, dining room, bathroom, foyer, or even a hallway or laundry room. This may mean tearing down walls, pulling down built-ins or re-doing floors, let alone installing light fixtures, painting or wallpapering, and “set” decorating. From bare bones to reinvention in record time.
We’re no master of interior design, but we get a kick out of the visions that Showcase House designers bring to their allotted space. From “Wow!” to “What?!” Showcase House is a lot of fun.
For the 2017 Showcase House, 19 design firms transform the interior while 6 exterior design firms take on the extensive grounds.This sounds histrionic, but we relish and savor the wall coverings, textiles, tiling, and light fixtures. It’s simply “yum” after “yum.” They make us want to touch everything (don’t worry, we don’t). You never know what you’re going to see: from quirky, whimsical, and silly to innovative, sophisticated, and traditional. Some creations make us dreamy and leave us pining, while others make us want to scream and run from the room. But even with a presentation not to our taste, it’s all professional and impressive.
This year’s home is an English Tudor designed by the architectural firm of Marston & Van Pelt. The 7,479 square foot main residence, with six bedrooms, four bathrooms and two half-baths, was built in 1916 for $25,000. That’s about $3.35 a square foot. Compare this with Carl Heldmann‘s calculation that to build a new house these days in the San Bernadino area (not Pasadena) would cost $83 a square foot. Oh, the good ol’ days.
The house was built for lawyer-turned-actor Samuel Hinds and his wife. The 2-acre property has a pool with a faux bois bridge and several water fixtures. One hundred tree varieties fill the landscape, along with numerous rose bushes and an arbor.
During his lawyering days, Hinds co-founded the Pasadena Playhouse. The Building Biographer Tim Gregory says that Hinds often had parts in the theatrical productions, “as a hobby.” Film producers took notice and offered him parts in their movies. After several years, Hinds dropped his career in law and became a full time actor. Gregory says that Hinds appeared in more than 200 films, though he is best known for playing Peter Bailey, the father of Jimmy Stewart’s character in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).
Besides housing a movie actor, the Hinds house has been a chosen location for films: Beaches, Alice in Wonderland (1985), and most recently La La Land (the loggia and garden were the setting at which Ryan Gosling’s Sebastian played for a wedding party).
Natalia Ramirez and Melissa Corkern Davis of TasteBuds Catering will create the eateries at this year’s Showcase: the Wisteria Terrace and Ivy Court. The restaurants are open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays and Tuesdays. The Showcase Shops include Alpaca by Karim, Bird Dog Bay, and Susie O’s. For sale is everything from alpaca garments and whimsical accessories for men to handmade pine baskets and French provincial linens. The restaurants and shops may be revisited without a Showcase House ticket.
Over the years, the success of the Pasadena Showcase House of Design, which attracts over 30,000 guests a year, has permitted PSHA to make $20 million in donations to support music and arts programs. PSHA has underwritten concerts, musical theater, jazz quartets, and orchestras at local schools. Prize money is awarded for the annual PSHA Instrumental Competition for musicians age 16 to 24. For over 60 years, 4th graders attend annual youth-oriented concerts, now situated at Walt Disney Concert Hall. And, in 1971 PSHA created the Music Mobile and in partnership with the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, introduces musical instruments and classical music to 3rd grade students throughout San Gabriel Valley. For details, visit Pasadena Showcase: Who Benefits.