The Valley Line: A week that started with a rainstorm

January 30, 2012|By Jane Napier Neely
  • Benefit Chairman Donna Gotch, left, and Beverly Marksbury, president of Pasadena Showcase House of Design welcome guests to the "Empty House" party before the Showcase House opens in April. This year's showcase house is in La Canada Flintridge. (Photo by Jane Napier Neely)
Benefit Chairman Donna Gotch, left, and Beverly Marksbury,…

I loved Monday’s rainstorm. I lived in Seattle for several years, and while there, acquired a rainy day state of mind. However, last week that fair city was snowed-in. Old friends who still live there said their back yard looked like a winter wonderland. They live on one of Seattle’s many hills, so they couldn’t even get out of their driveway — it was a good thing they stocked up on groceries before the snowflakes started to fall.

I hope that Monday’s storm brought us some snow in Southland’s mountains so the snow bunnies can hit the slopes.


Thank goodness our little storm didn’t hit earlier, or it might have been a very soggy beginning for the Pasadena Showcase House of Design’s popular “Empty House” party last Friday evening.

This year’s design house again is in our community, on the Flintridge side of the city. Since 1966, there have been eight showcase homes here in La Cañada Flintridge, three of them in recent years. The actual opening of this year’s featured property, in all its redesigned glory, doesn’t take place until April 15.


The Empty House event was an opportunity for Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts members and their guests to view this beautiful home, which was built in 1927. The architect was John Winford Byers, a serious student of Mexican and Spanish architecture who lived in Uruguay for many years.

The home was built as a winter residence for Hunter Savidge Robbins and his family, who lived in Michigan. members of the Robbins family could trace their roots to Colonial America and the family fortune came from the lumber industry. The Flintridge estate features 16 rooms, a guesthouse, a swimming pool and a greenhouse.

Greeting guests at the front door were Showcase House members Donna Gotch, benefit chair, and Beverly Marksbury, president of the organization.

Also saying hello to guests were Kathryn Hofgaarden and Marti Farley, who were the “Empty House” party chairs. Hofgaarden, a local resident, was last year’s benefit chair.

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