By Susan Motander
On Jan. 25, the members of Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts held its annual fundraising “Empty House Party” for its patrons and the media. The party is designed to show patrons the house that a dozen local interior designers will be remodeling in the next three months. There is a small twist this year: rather than a private home, the house getting a makeover is the Boddy House, the Hospitality House at Descanso Gardens.
The home was built in 1939 as the private residence of Elias Manchester Boddy, the publisher of the Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News who also wrote daily editorials in his paper. The 12,000-square-foot mansion was designed by architect James E. Dolena of Beverly Hills. It is sort of a colonial revival house but in a genre usually referred to as “Hollywood Regency,” a style greatly favored by those in the entertainment industry in the 1930s and ‘40s. The house was last used by Pasadena Showcase in 2007.
The house sits in the center of Descanso Gardens, a garden maintained jointly by the Descanso Guild and the County of Los Angeles. The gardens were also a project of Boddy who created the Camilla forest that is the center of the Gardens. Boddy had originally called the property, “Rancho del Descanso” (ranch of rest in Spanish) and that property is now called Descanso Gardens.
The showcase will be held from April 21 to May 19. Tickets are going on sale Jan. 31. They range in price from $35 to $50 depending on the time of day. The house will be open on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. with the final entry time at 4 p.m. The property will close at 6 p.m. On Fridays the house will be open late with the last entry at 7 p.m. On these days, the property will close at 9 p.m. There are no house tours on Mondays, but the Shops at Showcase will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Proceeds from the Showcase House for the Arts go to supporting the arts in several ways. There is the Gifts and Grants program that supports arts programs throughout the community. There is also the Youth Concert for fourth grade students held annually at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The group also supports a Music Mobile in partnership with the Pasadena Conservatory that allows students to explore instruments at their own schools. It is in essence a way to introduce them to classical music.
The group also supports an instrumental music competition. Music students from 16-24 years of age compete for monetary awards in three categories: woodwinds, brass and strings. Of course they have long been supporters of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.