The Valley Line: More than 500 guests fill Empty House Party

In spite of threatening rain clouds hovering overhead, more than 500 people turned out at the annual Empty House Party on Friday night to have a first look at the 2017 Pasadena Showcase House of Design that will be renovated and then opened to the public in April.

Greeting guests at the front door were Dana Marevich, this year's benefit chair and Lynn Mehl, president of the organization.

The architectural firm of Marston & Van Pelt designed in 1916 the 7,470-square-foot English Tudor Revival mansion set in Pasadena's San Rafael section.

Guests were bundled up against the inclement weather to tour the house. They wandered through the mansion's maze of six bedrooms, four bathrooms and two half-baths, where designers had set up their renderings to show guests what the rooms will look like once they've finished they creating their design magic.

The designers who will be enhancing the property's 2 acres of park-like grounds also presented their renderings for review.

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Some of the La Cañada Flintridge-based design firms participating this year are the Art of Room Design — Maria Videla-Juniel, Cheryl Hardy and Alana Steele — who are doing the "Glam Teen Suite and Bath"; Greenlink Landscape with John Brace Tree & Landscape — Roxanne Spear and John Brace, who are creating the "Succulent Mosaic and Shakespeare Garden"; and Rose Thicket — Justina and Trevor Freel, who will oversee the "Bee Retreat."

To make the empty house-crawl even more interesting, tasty food stations were placed in the different rooms. One room presented various cheeses enhanced by dried figs and dates, candied walnuts and baguettes. One large room was offering a Sierra fusion sushi display. Guests could also sample from a gourmet petite salad cup station, a soup station, a chili room with three different chilies, and a lovely gourmet dessert and coffee station.

All in all, 19 interior design firms and six exterior designers will be transforming this historical house and its grounds.

The Showcase House opens to guests on April 23 to May 21. Tickets go on sale Feb 1. Tickets cost between $35 to 45 and can be ordered by mail, online at or by calling (714) 442-3872.

Oh, yes, indeed, I have been loving all the rain we've been enjoying this month. It has been so many years since we have experienced this amount of rainfall spread out over so many days. I'm hopeful we might be coming out of our long drought.


JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada Flintridge social scene. Email her at with news of your special event.

Copyright © 2017, La Cañada Valley Sun

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