The Valley Line: House showcase is a thundering success

The rain that pounded the Southland on April 13 did not douse the high spirits of the guests who waded through the puddles to arrive at the 48th Pasadena Showcase House of Design.

In fact, more than 200 guests in formal attire came to take a first glance at the grand La Cañada Flintridge mansion that was built in 1927 in a Spanish Colonial Revival style.

I think this old house and its first owners, Margaret Kinkelin Robbins and her husband Hunter Savidge Robbins, would have been very excited to welcome these well-dressed guests to their beautiful home for a house-warming party. Margaret's second husband, Donald Neuman, probably would have loved to challenge some of the ladies and gents to a hot game of ping-pong in the basement.

Greeting the crowd at the mansion's front door (just one of many beautifully crafted doors in the house) were Donna Gotch, benefit chair of this Showcase House production, and Beverly Marksbury, president of the organization.

Also greeting guests that night were the interior chairs, Mary Ann Clayton and Karol Franks, along with exterior chairs Carol Matsui and Linda Larsen.

The mansion, known as “Casa de las Puertas,” which means “The House of Doors” in Spanish, is no stranger to entertaining guests.

In fact, by the time the house closes its doors to the public on May 13, more than 35,000 people will have come to pay homage to this grand old estate.

The 36 interior and exterior designers who made this house the center of their attention for the past few months are showing off their talents in a most spectacular way.

Guests entering the spacious living room the night of the premiere party, designed by Sherry Stein and Albert Janz, were privileged to listen to a chamber orchestra concert performed by Colburn School of Music students Melody Lee, Ryan Meehan, Haewon Han and Natalie Helm.

After touring the house, guests were shuttled to Annandale Country Club for cocktails and a delicious dinner.

The tables were centered with beautiful bouquets of garden roses in different shades of peach and orange that were so fragrant.

After the beautifully presented dessert was served, guests crowded the dance floor to boogie to the music of “News at 11.” It was one of those spectacular evenings and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

Whatever you do, don't miss seeing this year's Showcase House. It is a beauty!

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. She can be reached at

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