When I lived in Los Angeles County, I tried to go to the Pasadena Showcase House every year where designers decorate a large mansion to raise money for schools, orchestras and choral groups in the area. Now I love almost 2 hours away if the traffic is good so I had not been in a good long while. After going to the Huntington Library, I got an itch to see more beautiful places and the Los Angeles Times online advertised the Pasadena Showcase Home 2010. I had to see this house billed as a 3 story, 50 room french style residence that is an architectural masterpiece! I used to go with my mother to these things but she doesn't get around like she used to so I forced my youngest daughter to get out of bed on the last day so I wouldn't miss it and I was excited to introduce another generation something special.
It was AMAZING! From the original mural juxtaposed with the contemporary freeform pendant lights overhead to the neoclassical morning room featuring traditional features with a modern vibe and the original stairwell skylight highlighted with mirrors and a beautiful contemporary chandelier that looked like a fine piece of jewelry...well, there was so much to take in and we had just gotten there!
All photos courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebackyardgetaway
Every room had a little sparkle, a bit of glamour. The design was just sooo pretty overall. We drooled over the solarium AND the sunroom. Even the linen room was filled with light and had a pretty chandelier to iron away by. The details were too many to describe!
Then there were the bedrooms, each with their own sitting room and bathroom. Of course the Mistress of the house had her own custom closet in addition to her dressing room. My daughter flipped over these! There was a chandelier in the entry to these that had an unbelievably sparkling chandelier that projected it's myriad of rainbows onto the sky painted ceiling. We are trying to figure out where we can put that feature in the house. Once again, the detail as well as the accessories really gave each room it's own personality. The before photos on display showed drab rooms with flourescent lighting, ugh. You could see the bits of mouldings and the windows but it was very plain and used as offices.
We snaked around the house, down, up, down. Our favorite main rooms were the breakfast room that had a luxurious breakfast nook as well as a sitting area AND an unbelievable raised craft area that we both coveted. The media room was very creatively done. It had previously been the kitchen and alot of work had to be done. There were 2 televisions, one hidden behind a framed mirror where the mirror sort of disappeared when the television turned on. Of course the entertainment system had every bell and whistle. The room was comfortable and creatively designed. Another of our favorite spaces was the cafe under a tent. It was so cute and gave us lot's of ideas for party decor. Who would have thought that easy to wipe basic black faux leather vinyl would make such beautiful table toppers? Of course rich fabrics underneath and all around are a must to pull this off well.
There isn't space for everything so go to the link to see the livingroom, diningroom, offices and more sitting rooms. We loved the gardens. There was a small morning garden off the morning room that featured a traditional knot garden in a new way...with succulents and contemporary art! There were gorgeous huge urns with succulent topiary that Samantha thought would be great for a wedding, hmmmm. Whose wedding Samantha? There was pretty planting beds with herbs and espaliered apple trees. The gardeners on hand gave lots of tips (I had lots of questions). The back garden was pretty to walk through and included pretty, very classic statues as well as tumbled glass in the planter beds.
Then we went into the little booths of vendors and bought wonderful scone mix, clotted cream and dipping oil for bread. We had a wonderful lunch (the menu designed by Wolfgang Puck) and made our way home talking about ideas for the house. Samantha is motivated to redo her room in a pretty new color scheme with a little glamour and sparkle. Let's see what I can get into?
I have to thank the Backyard Getaway for posting these great photos on flickr. There is a blog for them with great gardening tips at http://thebackyardgetaway.blogspot.com/ The designers did a great job on the Showcase house and their firms are listed by name with each room with the photographs posted on flickr.
Have you been inspired by a house tour? Tell me about it.