The 49th Annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design ‘Empty House Party’ Draws a Crowd

The 49th Annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design \'Empty House Party\' Draws a CrowdThe 49th Annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design \'Empty House Party\' Draws a Crowd


11:56 am | January 23, 2013

Nearly 500 design enthusiasts and architecture aficionados joined the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA) in the City of Arcadia this past Friday for their annual Empty House Party. Held at a stunning 1941 Monterey Colonial style estate that was designed by noted residential architect, Roland E. Coate, Sr., the event unveiled the 2013 Pasadena Showcase House of Design. At the Empty House Party, chaired by Beverly Marksbury and Donna Gotch, guests and media were treated to a sneak peek of the property before it will undergo a dramatic transformation at the hands of 19 interior designers and nine landscape designers. The home, a perfect example of Coate’s “California Style” with its infusion of various Colonial Revival stylistic features, will be revitalized in the coming months, and by April, be fully restored into an extraordinary, must-see destination.

“This is a very exciting night for all of us who have been planning behind the scenes over the past months to bring this project to this point,” said PSHA Benefit Chair Katherine Watkins. “It takes a small army to produce the Showcase House each year and I am extremely fortunate to have such a stellar committee. They amaze me every day with their resourcefulness, tenacity, and dedication.”

After passing through the expansive bucolic grounds, guests gathered inside to view the designers’ concepts and share a glimpse of how the 49th Showcase House will appear when it opens to the public on April 21st. While perusing illustrations, color palettes, fabrics and sketches, attendees enjoyed an impressive selection of culinary offerings from The Kitchen for Exploring Foods. The menu, overseen by Peggy Dark, included a lavish gourmet spread: fresh steamed seafood, hearty soups, savory beef short ribs coupled with truffle mashed potatoes and haricot vert, an assortment of Asian-inspired cuisine from grilled vegetable skewers to skewered Teriyaki beef, and a medley of Mexican quesadillas and mini chile rellenos. To complete the menu, guests enjoyed an irresistible selection of desserts, including ganache filled chocolate cupcakes, apple upside-down cake topped with vanilla ice cream and pear spice cake. Coffee and after dinner drinks were also served.

Built in 1941 for prominent furniture executive C. Lawrence Barker, of the former Southland furniture company, Barker Brothers, the estate features a two-story, 10,433 square foot home, several gardens, a tennis/basketball court, a swimming pool with spa, and a pool house, set on 1.79 acres amongst mature trees that add to its tranquil ambiance. True to Coate’s style, the mansion presents a formal exterior, while the interiors are much more informal and open to the outdoors.

The Empty House Party is the official announcement for PSHA’s annual benefit, the Pasadena Showcase House of Design for 2013. The Pasadena Showcase House of Design is one of the oldest, largest and most successful house and garden tours in the United States. Each year, Southern California’s most prominent interior and exterior designers renovate an estate of architectural significance using the latest design products and concepts.

“Through the proceeds from Showcase House, we are able to fund school music and arts programs that have been eliminated due to cutbacks in support of the arts,” said PSHA President Kathryn Hofgaarden. “I believe wholeheartedly in PSHA’s mission and am grateful to our members who volunteer countless hours to make Showcase a success.”

Approximately 30,000 guests will visit the House, its restaurant, and the Shops at Showcase this Spring to view the results of the time and dedication invested by the designers and the PSHA volunteers. Tickets cost between $35-$45 and can be ordered by mail, online at or by calling (714) 442-3872. Tickets go on sale February 4, 2013. The success of Showcase has enabled PSHA to make cumulative donations of over $18 million to support outstanding music and arts programs throughout the community. For updates on construction and to follow the story of Showcase 2013, please visit PSHA on Facebook at