Designers give up a home run

Joyce Rudolph

For those who love to see how others live, the Pasadena Showcase

House is the granddaddy of looky-loo heaven.

Members of the home tour's organizing committee, the Pasadena

Showcase House for the Arts, have had a lot of practice getting it

right, said this year's chairwoman, Jennifer Johnson.

"It is a much-anticipated event in the community," she said. "We

have successfully been putting on a Showcase House for 40 years. This

is our 41st year."

And it's a win-win proposition for everyone involved, Johnson


It raises funds for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and for youth

music programs, offers designers a chance to show their expertise in

the home and garden and lets the public see the most modern ideas in

home remodeling, she said.

The committee selects a different estate each year in the

Pasadena, San Marino or La Canada Flintridge areas to serve as a

backdrop for the ideas of some 30 Southern California designers.

This year's choice is a 10,000-square-foot Italian Revival-style

house constructed in 1929 in San Marino. It was designed by Wallace

Neff, who is often referred to as the architect of California's

Golden Age, Johnson said.

Having a design included in the showcase is a great marketing

opportunity for the designers, Johnson said. When working with

clients, designers stay true to the wants and needs of the homeowner.

But at Showcase House, they have an opportunity to design without any

outside influences, so it's pure designer input.

"I think we have a wonderful team of 22 interior-design teams and

12 exterior-design teams," she said.

Take the Traveler's Suite, a guest bedroom with bath, decorated by

Maria Videla-Juniel and Marcus Juniel of MV Design Group in Burbank.

The room is cast with a soothing palette of calming greens and blues

against rich chocolates. The colors are drawn into the bathroom,

which offers a serene spa feel, Johnson said.

For the space, Videla-Juniel said she wanted to create amenities

just like a five-star hotel in the middle of this lush Mediterranean


"Most of the furniture is custom made," she said. "It's done in

clean, tailored lines, which is my style. The room really reflects

what our style is all about."

On either side of the bed are nightstands in Ebony Macassar, an

exotic wood. One nightstand is round with just a top drawer, while

the other is a square chest of drawers.

"The comments we've been hearing are how cool it is to have two

different nightstands," she said, adding that they are the same

height and in the same wood.

The walls of the bedroom are painted green with a faux finish.

"It gives it a suede effect, and that's the first thing people

comment about it," Videla-Juniel said.

Blues and greens are carried out in the silk drapes and in the

chenille fabric on the headboard and chaise lounge. A rich chocolate

color offers contrast in some of the fabrics and the furniture.

Those who love exploring the outdoors will be intrigued by the

Kitchen Garden space, designed by former Burbank resident C.J. Forray

of Cottage Garden Design and Maria Kane of Maria Kane Design of

Woodland Hills.

They have planted all sorts of aromatic herbs, fruits and

vegetables that allow the chef of the house to simply step outside

and pick them fresh for cooking.

"The garden has an ideal sunlight and shade mixture to accommodate

the kind of fruits, vegetables and herbs that you'd want for fine

cooking," Forray said.

Designers incorporated water features and cutting beds dashed with

colorful flowers perfect for table centerpiece arrangements.

To add a little whimsy, heads of lettuce peek out from pots shaped

like lettuce, and artichokes burst from pots that look like


"What we wanted to show people is a working garden," she said. "It

doesn't have to be a lifeless, colorless garden with everything in a

row. It can be a place you can walk through, sit in and savor and

enjoy and harvest things easily."

A 10-year member of the sponsoring organization, Johnson said she

gains personal satisfaction from the fact that this fundraiser

provides musical education for youngsters.

To date, the group's donations have totaled more than $13 million

to organizations, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

One program funded by the tour is the Through the Music Mobile

Program, which introduces third-graders to classical music by showing

them the instruments that create it.

The group also provides gifts and grants to nonprofit

organizations and schools to support continuation of their music


The tour committee recently distributed $800,000 they made from

last year's home tour to 48 recipients, including the Los Angeles

Chamber Orchestra for its Family Concert Series at Glendale's Alex


A $5,000 donation went to Sunday's Family Concert, said Ruth

Eliel, executive director of the orchestra.

Eliel has been to a couple of Showcase House tours in the past and

called them "fabulous" fundraisers.

"Because all of us in the nonprofit world are always looking for

ways to raise money that make donors feel good about their

contributions but also enable them to get something out of it," she

said. "The Showcase House is perfect in that way -- it's really a


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