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48th Annual Pasadena Showcase House tour held on 1920’s historic Robbins Estate

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2012 Pasadena Showcase House

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Each year in the spring is a must-see event organized by the Pasadena Showcase House of the Arts (PSHA). This is a wonderful opportunity for many reasons. The visitor is able to view inside some of the historic old mansions in beautiful Pasadena and surrounding towns. A special one is chosen each year and completely redone in current and innovative decoration by local, professional interior designers. The proceeds from this annual event support music programs including awards and grants that provide concerts, music therapy, education and scholarships.

The 2012 Showcase House and Garden Tour starts on April 15 and runs through May 13 (Tuesdays through Sundays, closed Mondays) in La Cañada Flintridge. It is a perfect outing for Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 13). Besides a comprehensive tour of the mansion’s decorated rooms, tents are set up on the grounds with a number of unique boutiques and eating venues. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased on line, over the phone, or by mail. These are timed entries although one may visit the shops and eateries any time throughout the day.

The mansion chosen for this year’s showcase house was built in 1927 as a winter home for Mr. and Mrs. Hunter Savidge Robbins. The Los Angeles Times announced the impending construction of the Robbins house as a “beautiful Spanish home”, a sixteen-room villa on approximately 2 acres. Glen O. Winget, from Pasadena, was the contractor for the home which included 8 bedrooms and baths. As an example of Spanish Colonial Revival, the Robbins house has architectural elements from Spain and Mexico but also from Italy and Islamic influence from North Africa.

The architect was John Winford Byers, a self-taught practitioner of Spanish Colonial Revival Style. He came to California in 1902 and was a teacher at the Hitchcock Military Academy as well as at Santa Monica High School. His earlier travels to Uruguay influenced his designs in Spanish architectural styles. In 1919, he established the John Byers Mexican Handmade Tile Company, where Mexican artisans created roofing and floor tiles and adobe bricks adapted to modern construction standards. He then began to design homes. His homes attracted attention and were featured in publications such as Architectural Digest. Clients included celebrities such as Norma Shearer and Shirley Temple.

As a heads up, there are certain rules to share before touring the Showcase property:

  • No children allowed under age of 12
  • Not suitable as handicap accessible
  • Flat shoes only (personally made that mistake one year!)
  • No photography on Showcase property
  • No large purses, bags or backpacks allowed in House
  • Cell phones must be turned off while touring

This event has been a personal and special one to this writer; sharing the past 7 Mother’s Days (and the 8th this May) with my daughter. The combination of -- beautiful weather, the ability to walk through the halls and rooms of an historic mansion as well as its’ gardens, to view fantastic designs and furnishings, have a great lunch and shop—all make for a fantastic day!

2012 Showcase House and Garden Tour

April 15 through May 13

Tour Schedule/Ticket Prices:

Prime Time

Weekdays: 9:00 am – 1:45 pm

Weekends: 9:00 am – 3:30 pm

$35 for Internet, Phone or Mail order

$40 at the door (Subject to availability)

Weekday Matinee

Tue: 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Wed to Fri: 2:00 pm – 7:30 pm

$30 for Internet, Phone or Mail order

$35 at the door (Subject to availability)

Closed on MONDAYS

Complimentary Parking and Continuous Shuttle Service:

Pasadena Rose Bowl – Lot 1

360 North Arroyo Blvd

Pasadena CA 91103

(directions)

On Sunday, April 15 and Saturday, April 21, Parking and Shuttle Service will be at

Parsons Corporation

100 W Walnut (entrance west of Fair Oaks Ave)

Pasadena CA 91103

(directions)

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