We say it every year, but this time we mean it: This year’s Pasadena Showcase House of Design is not to be missed. And there’s still time left to get there — it’s open through Sunday, with later hours (until 7:45 p.m.) on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Easily an all-day outing, especially when lunch by Wolfgang Puck and boutique shopping are factored in, this annual rite of spring delivers the goods. (Although we have friends who happily toured it in a hour, too, so whatever you have time for will work.) The location this year is the Cravens Estate, named for its first owners, John and Mildred Cravens. Through a wonderful twist of estate planning, it is now the headquarters for the San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter of the America Red Cross. Lucky them!
Favorites? The modern “hall of mirrors” in the Morning Room, which pays homage to the Palace of Versailles; the adjoining exquisite Morning Garden, with its intricate French parterre beds updated with succulents and a stunning water feature; the Solarium, whose floating crystal candelabras reminded us of the Great Hall in Harry Potter. We all agreed we could stay in the Breakfast Room all day, what with its craft and scrapbooking areas, movie screen and, of course, wet bar. The Family Media Room lit up the eyes of the 3 percent of the visitors who were men, with its one-button transformation into a darkened, shades-drawn, movie-viewing cocoon.
Each year the kitchen is the centerpiece, and this one is no exception — it’s crafted in eco-friendly materials with copper and verdigris tones, with a restoration of the original tile floor and wood cabinets. The home’s terraces and gardens each deserve their own stop-and-stare moments — don’t miss the fun Outdoor Kitchen and its martini-themed sink.
With sitting rooms and sun rooms galore, one wonders how the Cravens ever got anything done with all that relaxing. And even if you are not a big fan of chandeliers, the ones in this house are works of art. Check out the Swarovski cube-shaped one in the upstairs hallway — you can clean it in the dishwasher!
Time’s running out – and the weather’s perfect. Get thee to the Design House!
Pasadena Showcase House of Design
Through Sunday, May 16
For tickets, go to pasadenashowcase.org or call 714.442.3872
Free parking and shuttle from the Rose Bowl Lot 1 at 360 N. Arroyo Blvd., except on Saturday, May 15, when visitors should park at Parsons Corporation, 100 W. Walnut.