Show houses are meant to provide inspiration and to reflect the latest trends, and the Pasadena Showcase House of Design opens Sunday with plenty of both. This year 28 designers transformed a 1941 Arcadia estate originally designed by Roland E. Coate Sr., adding color and texture that exude warmth while staying true to the home’s Monterey Colonial style.
In a long second-floor hallway, purple damask fabric applied to the wall in lieu of wallpaper adds an unexpected softness. Grass cloth and burlap appear on other walls, often used as backing for bookshelves. With that added pop of color, the bookcases become decorative accents and not just depositories.
Even the ceilings are detailed with pattern, paint and molding. Coffered designs disguise uneven surfaces. Touches such as seam binding atop the damask hallway — something an upholsterer might employ — and hidden power outlets so as not to mar a backsplash, demonstrate thought and care.
As is often the case with show houses, some rooms overwhelm. But visitors will see simple ideas that are likely to stay with them long after they leave. In designer Peggy Platner’s Midcentury-inspired office, a few yards of Hermès fabric on a chair go a long way toward introducing elegance and transforming the room. In an unexpected touch in the girl’s suite, Kari Arendsen mounted an antique fireplace mantel to the wall over a gorgeous marble desk. “This is the Pasadena version of ‘Downtown Abbey,’” Arendsen said, laughing.
The Pasadena Showcase House of Design will be open Sunday through May 19. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Tickets are $35 to $45. Participants park at the Santa Anita Park race track and ride a shuttle to the house. To order tickets: (714) 442-3872. Recorded information: (626) 578-8500.