Pasadena Showcase House of Design is one of the oldest, largest and most successful house and garden tours in the country. This year, through May 21, approximately 30,000 guests will visit the English Tudor estate. Now in its 53rd year, Showcase uses proceeds to help fund community music and art enrichment programs.
The house was designed by the prominent architectural firm of Marston & Van Pelt. It was constructed in 1916 at a cost of $25,000 for lawyer-turned-actor Samuel Hinds and his wife.
Photos by Toni LeBel / The Outlook
The 7,479-square-foot main residence features six bedrooms, four bathrooms and two half-baths. The majestic two-acre compound includes a pool and badminton court on parklike grounds.
The English Tudor exterior is distinguished by half-timbering, red brick and a slate roof. Original leaded glass adorns the windows, with occasional stained glass.
Showcase guests will enter through a passage near the arroyo to see a dramatic sight, just as the architects intended. The broad lawn slopes gently up to the impressive house; guests traveled a winding sidewalk up to the terrace and door.
The entry features the main stair hall, a grand space with an intricately carved balustrade and halfway up the stairs, an impressive window. The first floor includes the living room, library, dining room, conservatory, half bath, kitchen and laundry room. The second floor contains the servants’ quarters — two bedrooms and a bath — plus three children’s bedrooms, two baths and a sleeping porch, now enclosed. The master bedroom has a sitting room, which was also a sleeping porch, along with several closets and a bath.
The grounds have numerous rose bushes, an arbor and more than 100 trees of various species. A pool is tucked among the trees in a peaceful setting. A waterfall feeds into a small stream that passes beneath a faux bois bridge. The lush landscape feels a world away from the city.
The legacy of this estate is infused with Hollywood glamour. Hinds was an attorney in Pasadena until he lost most of his money in the stock market crash of 1929. While an attorney, he was one of the founders of the Pasadena Playhouse and acted in its plays as a hobby. His work there caught the attention of several movie producers, who offered him parts in their films. After a few years, he quit law to become a full-time actor. Hinds appeared in more than 200 films and is best known for playing Peter Bailey, the father of the James Stewart character and the founder of the Bailey Building and Loan, in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946).
Most recently, the house has served as a set for several movies, including the “La La Land” (in a scene set on the loggia, in which Ryan Gosling’s character plays the piano at a garden party), “Beaches” (it was the home of Barbara Hershey’s character) and the 1985 version of “Alice in Wonderland.”
The success of the Pasadena Showcase House of Design has enabled PSHA to make cumulative donations of more than $20 million to support music and arts programs throughout the community.
The side yard near the pool is a sleek, modern outdoor space that seeks to portray an extension of the interior space. Bamboo woven panels and a stylish overhead canvas roof simulate the enclosure of the area with clean-cut porcelain pavers underneath. The centerpiece is a concrete water table that brings several different elements together. The sound of water flowing from the table into the pond envelops visitors. The focus is both to create a perfect transition from the house to the pool and to serve as a gathering area in which to relax, eat and play. Lush California-friendly plants and warm nighttime lighting soften the edges to create an inviting oasis for this beautiful Pasadena home.
Showcase house visitors enter a modest front gate into a Harry Potter-like world that seems far from bustling Pasadena. Just inside the gate, a round garden appears to float in the center of a round brick courtyard. With the slightest push, the garden rotates, adding a bit of whimsy and surprise to the English country scene. Roses and other flowers, boxwood and benches welcome visitors. Those who look more closely will be delighted with other surprises.
Perhaps one of the most picturesque areas of this beautiful estate, the loggia is a versatile living space that is ideal for al fresco entertaining and enjoying garden views. In fact, the pretty space served as the set of a garden party in the film “La La Land.” With ample seating and an outdoor bar, the covered patio is usable year-round for entertaining and enjoying the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that Southern California accommodates. The loggia is designed in a palette of navy and peacock blue with gold accents and the ceiling has been given an aged patina to enhance the design. Outdoor sheers are resistant to the elements and add a touch of softness and romance. The tone is perfectly set for evening cocktails and socializing with guests. The loggia truly beckons you to sit back, relax and enjoy the view.
This light-filled bedroom suite features endless shades of gray for an inviting monochromatic glam-rock vibe. The bedroom’s deep charcoal grasscloth wall covering is complimented with soft, white wood moldings and a hint of silver shimmer on the ceiling. The original fireplace has been updated with black matte stone and a glass geometric tile. A muted vintage rug with multiple shades of gray anchors the room and softens the black painted wood floors. The bed’s neutral linen headboard is dressed with a chic-patterned pewter gray and cream duvet that’s layered with lush on-trend textured pillows and a sheer stripe-on-stripe canopy with edgy gold rivets that ups the hip factor. The chaise lounge is the perfect backdrop for the black accent pillow. A contemporary gold leaf chandelier hangs from the ceiling for a sophisticated crowning finish fit for rock star royalty.
The design concept for the Grand Hall is an experience of old world European meets classic design. All of the woodwork has been painted in a warm rich white. A textured sisal rug sets off its casual, yet elegant surroundings, while an antique map, etchings and gilt mirrors hanging effortlessly on the walls reflect the lighting allowing the hall to feel open and endless. Bronze lanterns found in a European flea market add depth and height to this grand space. Linens, silks and velvets offer a textile experience both visual and textually. Colors are calming and range from warm whites to earthy grays.
A mixture of accessories from Asian influences to interesting European finds assist in transporting the viewer to a time where hand-crafted goods were the objective to strive for.
This charming and luxurious nursery is the perfect place for a growing baby to sleep and play the day away. The celestial theme creates a dreamy atmosphere while vintage-inspired toys add to the charm of the room. The warm, salmon color walls create a sense of calm while metallic gold accents in the fabrics and the shooting stars painted across the ceiling spark the imagination. A vintage curio cabinet has been refurbished and transformed into a lovely wardrobe, which displays all of the adorable baby outfits. The baby can go for a swing in the handmade, macramé baby swing, put on a show at the puppet theater or take a nap in the rose gold crib that is adorned by a beautiful silk canopy.
The Media Room is the perfect environment for family and friends. The use of automation allows the user to control lighting, window treatments and audio/visual at the touch of a button. The closet has been converted into a petite wine room. Adjacent to the master bedroom and centrally located on the second floor, this sexy, high-tech space doubles as a private sitting room. Bringing the texture of grasscloth onto a portion of the ceiling draws the eye up to the custom painted mural that surrounds the Uni light. Metallic gold light fixtures provide interest to the rich color scheme. The use of plush textures in the fabrics contrasts with the sleek metal and glass elements in the furniture. The room is grounded by the bold pattern on the floor.
1510 Oxley St., Suite F, South Pasadena, CA 91030
Our goal was to transform the living room into a bright and casual living space; a place to entertain guests, while also being comfortable and functional for the homeowners. A textural ivory grasscloth wallcovering was installed and new window treatments were selected, opening the beautiful views to the exterior. The room was kept casual with textural linen, cotton and raw silk fabrics. Color was selectively incorporated into the room with classic navy, periwinkle and gray fabrics and accessories. A classic design aesthetic was infused to ensure that the living room will remain timeless and serve as a peaceful retreat for family and friends for many years to come.