History, Legacy and Community

2023 Showcase House returns to Stewart House

By Luke Netzley

After 40 years, the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA) will return to Stewart House for the first time since 1983 for the nonprofit organization’s 58th Showcase House. The beloved annual event will feature the work of 32 interior and exterior designers, who will fill the walls of the 1933 grand colonial estate in Pasadena starting in April.

“I’ve been going to Showcase since I was in high school,” 2023 benefit chair Matt McIntyre said. “It’s an organization I’m very passionate about, and I’ve volunteered for many years as a community volunteer. … I was just very attracted to the mission of the organization, their commitment to arts and music education, and the programs that they offer for students.”

Since its founding in 1948, PSHA has given more than $24 million in support of music and arts programs. During the 2021-22 program year, the all-volunteer organization contributed $500,000 to local nonprofits. The Pasadena Showcase House of Design is PSHA’s primary fundraising benefit.

“The three tenants that I’m trying to really stay focused on … that I’m working with for this year is ‘history,’ because I think the organization has such a long history in the community and at the same time respecting the history of the homes that we’re in,” McIntyre began. “‘Legacy,’ as we have a legacy of giving and we have these student programs that are very important to us as Showcase and to the communities that we serve. And then ‘community.’ Without the community, without Pasadena, without the greater San Gabriel Valley area, we wouldn’t be the successful Showhouse that we are. 

“I think it’s really important to acknowledge that the Pasadena community is very dedicated to nonprofits but has been very dedicated to Showcase. And I really want to make this a special event for them. … I hope that this benefit is our most successful benefit in history, and that’s my goal.”

Stewart House will be vacated, then reimagined by designers for the first time since its feature as the 19th Showcase House. The estate, designed by celebrated Pasadena architectural partnership Marston & Maybury, has over 11,000 square feet of living space sited on two acres of manicured landscape.

“It’s a house that I’ve driven by all my life, and I’ve always thought that it was such an impressive house,” McIntyre described. “So when the homeowners were interested, that was also compelling to me. … It’s been owned by the same family for the entire 40 years. So after the ’83 Showcase House, it sold to the present family and they’ve been there nearly 40 years.’

Over the course of four months, an array of designers will enter the home and renovate over 30 interior and landscape design spaces using their own individual visions for each section.

An estimated 20,000 guests will then tour through the property, which will also include the popular Shops at Showcase, with a variety of boutique and craft merchants, as well as on-site restaurants and live entertainment.

“All of those are important elements that make benefits successful,” McIntyre said. “I want the visitor to re-experience Showcase grandeur and to really enjoy the whole of the event. We have a lot of our legacy vendors coming back. … Some (have been) with us for decades at this point and are wildly popular in the community.

“Then the house … is colonial. We haven’t done a colonial house in a long time. It has a lot of rooms, which is nice because we can incorporate more designers. … You’re also able to attract younger or more cutting-edge designers that might just want a small space because asking somebody to take on a large space like the living room … is a pretty big commitment. It’s not for the faint of heart.”

McIntyre also expressed a hope that each of the featured designers can meet new people and expand their own businesses through the event, as their work will be exposed to a wide audience in a unique setting.

“One of the nice attributes for an interior designer about doing a Showcase House is they get to do something that’s truly reflective of them,” McIntyre explained. “They’re not really reporting to a client, so they don’t have all those layers of things that clients want. They get to be the artists that they really are.”

Public tours of Stewart House will take place from Sunday, April 23, to Sunday, May 21. Golden tickets are currently on sale and timed entry tickets will go on sale in early February. PSHA will also offer insider packages that give guests an insight into the transformation of Stewart House with access to the Empty House Party in January and Premiere Night Gala in April.

Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts’ 58th Showcase House

WHERE: Stewart House, Pasadena

WHEN: Public tours run from Sunday, April 23, to Sunday, May 21.

INFO: pasadenashowcase.org

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