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April 11th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
Imagine the Tournament of Roses House in miniature and you have the 2009 Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts. It does require imagination to think of a 10,000 sq. ft. house set on approximately 2 acres as a miniature anything, but this is.
The similarity between the two Italian Renaissance Revival homes is not surprising. Both were designed by G. Lawrence Stimson for his parents. After living in the house on South Orange Grove for a few years, the parents found the house to large and requested a smaller one in the same style. This San Marino mansion is a result of that more modest effort.
This year the Showcase House will be open from April 19 through May 17. On Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, the house is open from 9:00 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. The house is closed on Mondays. This is the 60th anniversary of the volunteer organization which produces the showcase house and the 45th annual house. Twenty two designers worked on the interior of the house and nine on the exterior and gardens. Proceeds from the sale of tickets to tour the house benefit the programs of the organization which include their Music Mobile™, an instrumental music competition and a youth concert. In addition the organization also provides grants for music and art programs throughout the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles County.
As usual, the creativity of the designers is evident in everything from the metal studded, leather upholstered ceiling in the library to the uniquely low crystal chandelier flashing light throughout the “Debutante’s Bedroom.” One of the most dramatic spaces is the completely remodeled Master Suite which features not just the usual bedroom, bath and closet, but also a sitting room complete with a wet bar and a terrace with a 700 Lb. stone fountain (imagine getting that up the staircase). Throughout the house there are spectacular views of the San Gabriel Mountains and the neighborhood surrounding the house.
Every corner of the home has been redesigned. The basement has been transformed in a separate suite with two bedrooms, a kitchen, media room and office. There is a detached Tea House with an indoor/outdoor koi pond allowing the fish to swim between the two spaces. The outdoor spaces include a container vegetable garden, an outdoor kitchen and bar, pool and even a lush native and low water plant garden. There is a greenhouse and, of course, a tennis court. Presiding over all the gardens is a huge jade ox.
Tickets to view the house are now available by phone, (714) 442-3872, and on line at www.PasadenaShowcase.org. Prime Time tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the house. These tickets are for tours between 9 A.M. and 1:45 P.M. on weekdays and all day on weekends. Weekday Matinee tickets for tours between 2 P.M. and 3:45 P.M. on Tuesday and 2 P.M. to 7:45 P.M. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are also available at $30 in advance and $35 at the door.
As usual there will also be shops at the showcase house (part of the proceeds from the sales at the shops also benefit the showcase’s projects promoting the arts and music). Docent lead Garden Tours are held each day the Showcase House is open at 10:30 A.M. and 1:30 P.M. Tickets are not required to visit the shops, gardens or the restaurant at Showcase House. The restaurant is open during the hours the house is open for al fresco dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as for snacks and beverages.
Be aware that only flat shoes are allowed in the house. There is no photography on the showcase property. Large purses, bags and backpacks are not allowed. The house and its gardens are on several levels and require that those attending be able to climb up and down stairs.
There is no parking near the house itself, but there is complimentary parking and shuttle service from the Rose Bowl, Lot 1. On April 19 and 25 parking will be at Pasadena City College, Lots 10 & 11 (Northeast and Southwest corners of Green and Holliston.
More information can be obtained at the organization’s web site: www.PasadenaShowcase.org.
By Susan Motander, Photos by Terry Miller