Nestled in the park-like grounds of the Santa Anita Oaks neighborhood of Arcadia, California is an historic 1937 Federal-style home—Locke House— designed by architect, Gerard Rae Colcord, known as “Hollywood society’s architect.” The home is modeled after an East Coast country estate.
In 2020, Locke House was chosen to be the Pasadena Showcase House of Design. Now in its 56th year, the venerable showcase is one of the longest-running house and garden tours in the country. The 6,700 square-foot home was reinterpreted by 17 interior designers and four exterior designers and was an opportunity to completely reimagine what the home could be, more than 80 years after it was built.
In our recently released aspire design and home Showhouse Issue, we sat down with Ammie Kim to learn more about her creative process in designing the dining room for this project.
Inside the Showhouse with Amme Kim
aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Ammie Kim: I had roughly one-and-a-half months to complete this room.
aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a “Eureka!” moment during the process?
Ammie: My biggest challenge was deciding what mood I wanted the dining room to express. At first, I almost went for a sleek, modern style. However, after a lot of consideration, I decided on keeping the room classic and traditional.
aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Ammie: My artist team at Hattas Public Murals wonderfully delivered my vision for the mural perfectly just in time!
Seeking Inspiration and Finding Cohesiveness
aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Ammie: My inspiration was derived from my trip to Barbizon, France. Throughout the entire trip, I was wonderstruck by the untouched, natural landscapes that were scattered all over the village.
aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Ammie: For over 15 years, I have been sourcing from a particular supplier for dinnerware sets and dining room accessories, but for this project, I probably went to see more than ten showrooms to find the perfect dinnerware sets that would complement the mood for the room.
aspire: Despite the fact that there were so many designers involved, there is an inherent cohesiveness to the home. Did you all converse/collaborate? Or was this a completely individual process?
Ammie: In order to maintain equilibrium throughout the entire house, designers had to choose from a spectrum of 2020 colors from Dunn-Edwards. As designers having the same goal of creating an ideal living space, we connected and often shared design ideas and referred recommended suppliers to each other!
aspire: Is your preference for a showhouse a small space or a large space? Does one or the other provide a better opportunity to stretch your creativity?
Ammie: Personally, I prefer a large space where I can express my creativity without physical limits. For this showcase in particular, I chose the dining room as my first choice because I wanted to “go big or go home,” and since then, I have not regretted my decision at all.
“This or That?” with Ammie Kim
aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
aspire: Saturated color or black and white?
Ammie: Saturated color.
aspire: Brunch or dinner?
aspire: Mid-century or 18th Century?
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Ammie: English Patient.
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Ammie: Week at the spa.
Want More Good Design?
Click Here to view more interviews with the designers of Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts.
Photography by Peter Valli.
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