"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Pasadena Designer Showcase House: Fifty and fabulous

Experience is sexy. Just ask the interior designers and organizers who transformed the 2014 Pasadena Designer Showcase House for its 50th debut season. The practiced placement of fine art, the confident use of color and pattern, an intuitive understanding of knowing where to show restraint and when to cut loose –not to mention an acquired talent for throwing a house party for 30,000 and making it look easy.

Turning 50 never looked so good.

In fact, the only lines marking this year’s Grande Dame of design were the ones formed by attendees waiting to get in.  

Like most milestones, the anniversary represented an opportunity for both reflection and renewal: Remember the time, actor Adam West was on hand for the opening day ribbon cutting because it was the same house used in the Batman television series? Or the gorgeous poolside of the 1998 showcase home that was once the setting for an infamous a catfight between the1980s superstar divas on Dynasty? Good times.

In fact, this year’s 8,200 square-foot designer showcase was also the location for television series’ including the Rockford Files and Murder She Wrote and seen in blockbuster films such as Twilight. No wonder it was love at first sight.

Thanks to 25 talented Southern California designers, the romantic, 1915 English Arts and Crafts styled home, designed by notable architect Stiles O. Clements, proved once again to set a warm and lovely stage for some of this season’s hottest home trends. If you didn't make it to the showcase this year, here's a glimpse of what you missed:

In the spacious great room (above), designers Kathryne Dahlman and Malissa Graham of Kathryne Designs, Inc. created two distinct spaces using clever placement of furniture and area rugs. Here, an oversized coffee table is surrounded with generous, tufted slipper chairs -round up a few friends and uncork the wine!...Also worth noting the painted interior of the bookshelves and the fact that the area rugs match -providing consistency and flow. 

A newly renovated fireplace anchors the other side of the space, continuing the color story with playful animal prints and thoughtfully chosen artwork.

Here, a close-up of the surround on the fireplace -although the period-looking tile appears original to the home --it is actually brand new! Absolutely gorgeous.

JTID, Inc. created the media game room for the showcase --what looks like a graphic design on the wall is actually a studded pattern of nailhead. Dramatic drapes, eclectic accessories and beautiful lighting aced the space.

 The carriage house, was completely reinvented by designer, Dona Dockendorf and her team at Tocco Finale. Check out the way they draped the eaves in the sitting area, and the mirrored door panels that make a small space seem bigger and reflect light. Animal prints were a popular trend throughout and something you may want to hunt down on your own...

Designers Cynthia Lambakis and Samantha Williams of Ederra Design Studio created the Nanny's retreat. The built-in daybed makes the most of a small space and offers additional storage to boot. Sweet!

I think perhaps one of the most difficult things to do when touring a designer showcase house is to remember that what we are seeing is a transformation of the space and not merely a few finishing touches arranged by talented designers. Although many rooms in the house were brought down to the studs, then recreated to suit the vision of the design team --the results are so seamless it's easy to forget. 

The pool (complete with shallow ledge perfect for toddlers or lounge chairs!) was a dramatic example of before and after. Jeff Lokker and his team at Huntington Pools, Inc. created a space so suited to the home and landscape -- it becomes impossible to picture it any other way.

Here is a video that reveals the before and after transformation of the pool area as well as several spaces within the estate. Check out the muscle and manual labor behind the magic and be amazed
---see you next year at the 51st showcase.

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