Getting Virtual with the Showcase House

The Pasadena Showcase House of Design is online this year, but here’s a little preview.
Published on Sep 3, 2020

The 2020 Pasadena Showcase House of Design is taking place at your house this year. Or in your office, or maybe out on your deck. The annual event is virtual this year, just like every other annual, weekly or daily event involving a group of people.

This year’s Showcase House, themed “Ultimate Viewpoints: 56,” is a robust interactive virtual tour and digital program opening to the public Oct. 2.

While public access is strictly virtual, the press was able to drop by earlier this week and take a sneak peek. We peeked in in the light of a hot summer day.

This year’s home is the Locke House, a 1937 Federal-country estate designed by the acclaimed Gerard R. Colcord, who was known as “Hollywood society’s architect.”

The house, patterned after East Coast country homes, is nestled among mature oaks and sits on two park-like acres in the historic Santa Anita Oaks neighborhood of Arcadia. It appeared in the 1998 Academy Award winning film, Gods and Monsters and also featured prominently in Architectural Digest in 1939.

Seventeen interior designers and four exterior designers reimagined the residence, which had been virtually unchanged from its original design and features Federal detailing in the trim, windows, fireplaces and hardware. It includes classical design elements such as painted brick, wood shingles, elongated windows and a front door crowned by a Georgian-style broken pediment.

The approximately 6,700-square-foot, two-story home cost $30,000 to build, a tremendous sum for a new house during the Great Depression.

It was built for Edmund Locke, Jr., who shared the house with his wife, Elizabeth, and their three young children. He had acquired the building site in 1936, purchasing five lots on both sides of Rancho Road from the Home for Women.

Born on March 14, 1903, in Los Angeles, he was the son of newspaper publisher Edmund Locke, Sr., and Elizabeth Carr Locke. By 1920, the family was living in Beverly Hills where Elizabeth was a founder of the Beverly Hills Women’s Club. The younger Locke attended Harvard, and in 1926 married Elizabeth Brown, the daughter of a developer of gold mines and oil wells.

The home also features an extraordinarily inviting pool and pool house, a barbecue room, bath and dressing room structure and a brick-floored screened porch at the rear of the house, added later.

The house appeared in the 1998 Academy Award winning film, Gods and Monsters and also featured prominently in Architectural Digest in 1939.

As we entered the main living room from the front entrance, Pasadena singer/musician-turned-interior designer Greg Parker ( was performing a breathtaking sonata on a Steinway grand piano in the room he had redesigned.

The look was fresh but traditional, highlighted by a series of California plein air paintings acquired from a local art dealer.

Said Parker, “In this room, which we call the gallery, we wanted to have a place where you could not only listen to beautiful music, but also a visual experience, so we brought in the paintings from various living California artists. It also reflects what is happening outside in terms of the beautiful outdoors.”

La Caňada Flintridge designer Courtney Thomas showed off a mudroom, common in homes back East for storing messy footwear, which she created from a bedroom and closet. The room not only serves as one of two laundry rooms, but it also features a “steam closet,” essentially a closet that steam cleans and sanitizes clothes.

The other laundry room, on the second floor, by designer Jake Galang, also features a wi-fi washer and dryer, as well as a secret—sliding a small discreet box on a shelf reveals a full-length door holding oodles of towels and plenty of storage.

Other highlights of the house, among so many, include a whimsical full-size dollhouse in the spacious backyard, a hip bedroom getaway for a young ingenue, an automated garage storage system (from Organized Garage Solutions) which lifts shelves of supplies and other belongings up against the ceiling–a truly out-of-the-way place for stowing items.

The fundraiser is organized by the Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA), an all-volunteer nonprofit founded in 1948, originally known as the Pasadena Junior Philharmonic Committee. The group adopted the Pasadena Showcase House of Design as its big benefit in 1965. Now in its 56th year, the event is one of the oldest, largest and most successful house-and-garden tours in the nation. Showcase members, who donate the proceeds for art and music programs around Southern California, are prominent in the community.

For information on purchasing tickets, visit

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