The Valley Line: Doors open for "Empty House" Party

One of La Cañada Flintridge's grand mansions was the site Friday night of what has become known as "The Empty House Party." More than 600 guests gathered in the empty rooms of this romantic English country revival house designed in 1927 by famed architect Paul R. Williams. Party chair ladies for the spectacular event were LCF resident and past president Delise Menik and Beverly Marksbury, last year's benefit chair.

The reason for the soiree was that this stately home and its expansive grounds will be the 2011 Pasadena Showcase House of Design, presented by the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA).

In fact, these ladies of PSHA know how to do this very well because it is their 47th Showcase House presentation — the longest and largest running Showcase House in the country.

Greeting PSHA members and their guests at the door of house were local resident Kathryn Hofgaarden, benefit chair, and Marti Farley, president of the organization.

Hofgaarden, who has had her keen architectural eye focused on this house for several years as a possible Showcase candidate, said, "We are most fortunate to be in partnership with some superb designers this year. Their plans for the renovation are remarkably innovative and will undoubtedly offer every visitor inspiration and enjoyment as well as practical information."

Within three months' time, 24 interior and exterior designers will transform this historic home into an eye-popping, jaw-dropping place of beauty offering the latest trends in the design world.

Last Friday eve's party was like a moveable feast. It was prepared by Peggy Dark of The Kitchen for Exploring Foods for the guests as they moved from room to room tasting culinary delights such as hearty soups, salads, savory meats, exotic seafood and an array of decadent desserts that were heavenly.

Both the interior and exterior designers were stationed throughout the house with their design boards and samples of fabrics, wall and floor coverings, etc. in order to better illuminate their design concepts. Of course they were bombarded with hundreds of questions posed by design enthusiasts.

The transformed Showcase House of Design will open to the public on April 17 and will close on May 15. Proceeds from the Showcase House supports music and arts enrichment programs throughout the community.

Over the years, Showcase has raised more than $17 million and brought music programs to hundreds of thousands of school children throughout Southern California. Traditionally, the organization's Music Mobile Program and L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra concerts at Disney Hall have been experienced and enjoyed by students from La Cañada Flintridge and other Southland schools.

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