This year we celebrate the 54th year of the Pasadena Showcase House of Design. As one of the oldest, largest and most successful house and garden tours in the nation, the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts committee is ready to open this year's tour on April 22, 2018.
The 2018 Showcase House, called “The Overlook," is a majestic, Mediterranean masterpiece designed by the distinguished architect Reginald Davis Johnson. It was constructed in 1915 in Altadena, Calif., at a cost
of $14,000 for widowed sisters Ruth Hargrove and Mary Emma Baker. At that time, Altadena was a rural, unincorporated retreat for retired Easterners and businessmen who worked in Pasadena and Los Angeles. Small orchards, poultry farms and vineyards dominated the west end of town, while open ranch lands
still occupied the eastern side. The rustic surroundings of Altadena attracted a number of artists and writers.
Hargrove was the second wife of Robert Kennon Hargrove, Southern U.S. Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. After her husband died in 1905, she moved to California. Baker was the widow of George L. Baker, who managed theaters in Portland, Ore. After his death, she became a teacher with the Los Angeles School System.
Johnson was born in Westchester, N.Y., in 1882 and moved to Pasadena when his father, Episcopal Bishop Joseph Horsfall Johnson, was called to head the Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese in 1894. He graduated from Williams College in 1908, studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and traveled extensively through Europe. Hargrove and Baker hired the up-and-coming young architect to design a villa in the Mediterranean style — an unusual choice in the Craftsman era and the region.
The Mediterranean Style of the House
No one knows who designed the first Mediterranean house in Southern California, but Johnson is commonly considered one of the style’s early advocates. He said it was a perfect marriage of English charm with
the climate, topography and “romance” of California. Many of his large houses and structures still stand in Altadena and Pasadena, including All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Pasadena. His work in Santa Barbara includes several landmarks, including the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel, La Valencia Hotel in La
Jolla and the Santa Barbara Post Office.
The original floor plan had various rooms around a large entrance hall. There was a living room, screened porch, dining room, kitchen, pantry and maid’s room — with one and one-half baths downstairs, as well as four bedrooms with three baths upstairs. Later owners made extensive renovations to the house, including adding Italian-influenced details. A duplex residence of 780 square feet, probably for the servants, and garage with chauffer’s quarters were also added. Today, the square footage of the main house is estimated to be 12,277.
Renovations began anew after the estate was presented as the 2002 Pasadena Showcase House of Design. Subsequent owners have added contemporary elements to suit their personal taste and lifestyle, making it an
eclectic blend of unique living spaces.
Dunn-Edwards has been the proud, exclusive paint sponsor of the Pasadena Showcase House of Design for over 50 years and is thrilled to be a part of this annual celebration. The color palette will again be featured on the dunnedwards.com website. To view these colors, as well as past Showcase event colors, visit www.dunnedwards.com/about/events.
To learn more about Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts and the yearly Pasadena Showcase House of Design, visit www.pasadenashowcase.org.