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THE BEST...THE BEAUTIFUL...AND THE BIZARRE | HOUSE
ARRESTING | SO SOCAL

Inside Casa Carrington

April 26, 1998|A. Grey Le Cuyer

The ghosts of Krystle Carrington and Alexis Colby are still wrestling in the reflecting pond outside the 1915 Palladian villa that is this year's Pasadena Showcase House of Design. Hosted by the Pasadena Junior Philharmonic, the charity event has, for the past 34 years, allowed the hoi polloi to traipse through the opulent gardens and lavishly appointed bedrooms of the Rose City's millionaires. Besides serving as the ring for the famed "Dynasty" duel, this year's manse was backdrop to the 1933 Marx Brothers romp "Duck Soup" and, half a century later, "Terms of Endearment," "Hart to Hart" and "Knots Landing." (Last year's showcase house, "Stately Wayne Manor," from the old "Batman" TV series, sadly, contained no visible bat pole.)

To prepare for this year's event (which began last weekend and runs through May 17), 27 interior and 20 landscape designers descended to redo, redecorate, plant and transform the 17-room residence and its grounds. Not only are the professional designers unpaid--unless specifically contracted by the home's owner--but they must pay a fee to be assigned a plot or room. Land- scape architect Sherman Sylvan, part of the Society of Secret Garden Builders team renovating the koi pond and rose garden, explains that for a designer, the showcase "gives potential clients an idea of the sort of magic we can work on their own homes. It's like taking out a monthlong 'live' ad in a really well-read garden magazine."

This year's preparations were especially challenging, given that the estate's previous owners had gutted the house down to the floorboards. Didn't Alexis do the same thing a decade ago when she threw out Blake and Krystle?

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