Marquis Freestanding Bathtub Anchors the 2023 Pasadena Showcase House Primary Bath

The  Pasadena Showcase House of Design 2023 recently finished a one-month run, with participation from 31 designers, including La Cañada-based designer Courtney Thomas of Courtney Thomas Design Studio. This annual fundraiser brings together regional designers to share their vision and aesthetic in one place. Located on over two acres in Pasadena, the 11,000-square-foot Colonial Revival–style Stewart Home was completed in 1933 and was previously featured a Pasadena Showcase House in 1984. One of the challenges for the designers was to honor the home’s traditional roots while bringing it into the present.  

A second-generation interior designer, Thomas is known for her elegant, but family-friendly residential interiors. Her sensibility is informed by her commitment to ensuring that every project authentically reflects the homeowner. Thomas was responsible for reimagining the Showcase House’s primary bedroom suite. Without a real family for inspiration, she and her team invented a family to design for. They were imagined as a busy couple with young children and their backstory included a honeymoon in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. 

Original bath from the Pasadena Stewart House in 1984

The Stewart House previously served as a designer showcase in 1984. When Thomas started the project, the designs from that era were still in place in the bathroom. She described the existing design as a “cascading cave of brown marble” with a “color palette was like a strawberry cupcake with chocolate frosting.” The sunken tub was placed on a raised platform and was surrounded by marble on all sides. Keeping the imagined family in mind, she aimed for a design that would provide a private space in the couple’s busy life. “We wanted to create a room that was a relaxing retreat where this couple could come to reflect and unwind at the end of the day,” Thomas says. “The bathroom is a nod to the resort they might have stayed in” on their South African honeymoon, she adds, calling to mind “the days when they traveled and adventured before having children. It’s both wild and luxurious.”

Soft greens, shades of purple, and muted taupe became her palette. Cole and Son’s dynamic Savuti wallpaper set the tone, and Thomas carried over the lilac from the wallpaper’s pattern into the accent marble (Artistic Tile) on the floors, shower, tub niche, and custom vanity countertops. A freestanding soaking tub was a must-have for the space, Thomas says. It was an ideal way to contrast the energy of the wallpaper and modernize the space. “It also allows you to have a little more creative freedom with the space around the tub.” 

Thomas chose Hydro Systems’ Marquis freestanding bathtub for this pivotal piece.The design is almost cradle-like, and when you’re a parent, you want something to wrap you up in warmth and to feel luxurious as you soak the day away.” 

Brass fixtures and golf leaf accents throughout harmonize with the elegance of the design. A beautiful martini table adds “another luxury to enhance the experience while you soak,” Thomas says.  

In this design, the stylized freestanding tub both expanded options for the designer and updated the space to create a contemporary feel that’s still right at home in this storied home. 

Courtney Thomas of Courtney Thomas Design Studio chose Hydro Systems’ Marquis freestanding tub in the primary bath of the Stewart House, Pasadena. Photo: Erika Bierman