CREATIVE AND inventive use of colors, designs, beautiful furniture and accessories has transformed Selsed House into the 15th Symphony Decorators Show House, a fund-raiser to benefit the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The house opens to the public on Sunday and continues through May 19.
Selsed House is a magnificent English-style manor house on Seminary Avenue in Lutherville. It was built in the 1920s and is owned by Mary Hocking Marburg, who made the house available to the Baltimore Symphony Associates for this annual event. The estate, just over 100 acres with four tenant houses and other outbuildings, was bought by her husband, the late F. Grainger Marburg, in the late 1930s.
The house was originally named Hambleton Old Hall for its first owner, Edward Hambleton. Marburg researched the area and gave the house its present name for Selsed, the tract on which it stands.
The event is staged by the Baltimore Symphony Associates, a volunteer organization of 480 members and a 13-member board that includes Fran Angelino, president, and Cristy Parra, vice president of BSA membership.
Board member Wendy Ruck, this year's general chairwoman of the Show House, has more than 1,000 volunteers working in 22 committees for the event.
The work began last July, says Ruck, when the search for a house began. Once Selsed House was chosen, 42 interior and landscape designers from Maryland, Washington, Pennsylvania and Virginia began the work of creating 10 exterior design areas and 32 interior areas. Most of the furnishings and accessories will be for sale.
Ruck has headed some committee for this annual event since 1985. She and her husband, Michael, senior vice president of Ruck Funeral Homes, live in Hunt Valley and have two teen-agers. She is also on the board of the Immaculate Heart of Mary School and is quick to note that without the support of her family she couldn't do this job that has been taking much of her day. ''I'm often on the telephone to 11 in the evening,'' she says.
Those 22 committees have established many special features, such as boutiques in the Show House basement called The Castle's Treasures, where gifts and specialty foods and raffle tickets for more than 75 items are available. Plants, herbs and garden accessories will be available in M'Lady's Greenery near the garage area, and in the garage will be the Camelot Cafe, where food will be available. Tuesdays from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the cafe will be tea time when tea etiquette will be discussed. In the Greenery on Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
indoor and outdoor bulbs will be discussed with slide presentations. And, on Saturdays, April 27, May 11 and May 18 in Selsed House, members of the Baltimore Chamber Group will play between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Seminars will be held in the Camelot Cafe on three Saturdays between 11:30 and 12:30. On April 27, Bruce Levinson of Alex Cooper Auctioneers Inc. will appraise and identify your treasures and collectibles (two items per person); on May 4, a representative from Icing on the Cake will demonstrate decorating cakes, and on May 11, Barbara Fabula of Barb's Yarbs will discuss herbs. The seminars are $5 after admission to the Show House.
Friday evening, before Sunday's opening, a preview party will be held at Selsed House from 7:30 to midnight. Black tie is optional. Cost is $80 with half of that being tax deductible. For tickets, call Bernice Robinson, 561-1361.
Show House hours are: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Daily admission is $6 in advance or $8 at the door. Groups of 25 are $6 each. For ticket details, call 321-0576.
The house is available for private parties after show hours. Call Judy Kahl, 785-2545.
No parking is available at the Show House grounds, but a continuous free shuttle will be available from the north parking lot of the Timonium Mall behind Caldor.
Visitors should also note that the house is not accessible to wheelchairs; spike heels are not permitted nor are infants or children under 10.
For other information, call 321-7900.