Classical KUSC Arts Alive Blog

Arts Alive Blog


The Pasadena Showcase House, Part I: A Bountiful Backyard in Photos

Posted By: Kelsey McConnell · 4/24/2013 11:36:00 AM

The Pasadena Showcase House is an annual event that celebrates architecture and home design while raising money for music education. Designers from around Southern California converge on the selected house to transform an assigned space according to their aesthetic. Then the house is opened to the public and the funds raised by these home tours are given to several  Pasadena Showcase House of the Arts programs, from a music mobile that brings classical music to local elementary schools to student concerts and competitions, and grants for other arts organizations.


The 49th annual home tours have begun (and continue through May 19) and this year's house is a Spanish Colonial stunner in Arcadia designed by Roland E. Coate. The house was built in 1941 for C. Lawrence Barker of Barker Bros., the Los Angeles furniture chain founded in 1880. Each room of the house was built to show off Barker Bros. furniture, and while many of the rooms have been modernized, the home is full of interesting and detailed architectural elements from floor to ceiling. In fact, a range of ceiling applications through the house give you plenty of reasons to look up. But before we take you inside the house, we want to explore the part of the house that most lends itself to California's endless summers ... the backyard!


The house is set on nearly two acres of land, so there is plenty of space in the backyard to create different kinds of outdoor experiences. There are several cozy seating areas from the Rustic Retreat to the Artistic Garden (with multi-colored drought tolerant plants) to a colorful and private seating area behind the pool house.


Also behind the pool house: a mural showing peacocks strutting across the grounds of the nearby Arboretum.

Then there's The Willow Pavillion, an arbor constructed in part with willow branches so the shadow it casts on a sunny day throws a graphic pattern on the ground below.



The landscaping throughout the backyard is a mix of rolling lawns, succulents, rose bushes (what was once a rose garden was dismantled and the bushes were spread throughout the yard) and sycamore and oak trees. There are even a few edible elements, like these strawberries.

And what grand Southern California backyard would be complete without a pool?


There's much more to see in the backyard, like the retro pool house complete with sauna, the Grand Patio and the simple and modern "A Place for Reflection," set just ouside of the rest of the backyard to promote a sense of peace.

In Part II, we'll head inside for a look at sitting rooms, bedrooms, the kitchen, a Mad Men-inspired office, the vintage wallpaper that was found abandoned in boxes in the garage and a range of light fixtures that would be right at home in an art museum.

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