This very private condominium, home to two adults, is surrounded by the pastoral landscape of Baltimore County. Yet the interior design is unique in its successful rendition of an enchantment. The mood here is dark, romantic and outside of time.
Interior designer Diane Weiss of Louis Mazor Inc. has conjured a visual blending of opulent fabrics and finishes in a subtle color palette, together with a contemporary art collection featuring the works of local artists.
The apartment is filled with seeming contradictions: rare and exquisite fabrics, distressed and crackled faux finishes and Chinese antiques. Taupe walls provide a fine background for the art, while ebony-stained wood floors are an equally suitable background for the owners' collection of Oriental carpets, from the antique kilim in the entrance hall to the antique Tabriz carpets in the living and dining rooms.
Materials and finishes throughout the apartment are the epitome of luxury. However, Ms. Weiss was specific in designing for people who would actually live in the rooms rather than simply admire them. For instance, in the living room, down-filled upholstered furnishings covered with Scalamandre damask may be luxurious but they are also comfortable. At the living room's sliding glass doors, delicate silk taffeta draperies fashioned by Drapery Contractors billow to the floor, and are allowed to float freely on the breezes that blow through the room when the doors are open.
Nearby, an elaborate four-paneled antique Chinese screen -- inset with flowers formed by the arrangement of precious stones including rose quartz, lapis, jade and mother-of-pearl -- depicts the four seasons.
The dining room table's new beveled marble surface tops a ball-and-claw Victorian-era pedestal, while the hand-carved reproduction Hersira Egyptian dining chairs are by Canadian artist and furniture maker William Switzer. These are upholstered in moire damask Scalamandre silk.
The open shelving of the wall unit, upon which are displayed several favorites of the owners' collection of orchids, books and pottery, is visibly backed by a hand-sponged and -ragged finish in an artful combination of metallic and flat paint. This wall finish, created by Valley Craftsmen -- as were all the special finishes throughout the apartment -- was first introduced in the entrance hall and was carried through to the dining room. Here, twin column accents in a distressed finish are highlighted with gold and silver leaf, and provide strong architectural interest.
Just off the entrance hall is the den, a rather simple, architecturally contemporary room with unadorned walls and a textured white wool Berber carpet. Here, a Donghia chaise is upholstered in Clarence House black floral cotton fabric. Family photos are displayed on a 200-year-old Chinese altar table.
The mood of the master bedroom suite is serene, with Oriental overtones and a simple, tailored style expressed in a highly textured palette of luxurious fabrics, dominated by shades of beige, olive and aubergine atop creamy Berber carpet. Oriental watercolors in the shape of kimonos pressed between double sheets of glass adorn the walls. Ikat silk draperies by fabric designer Henry Calvin, as well as the Corraggio silk of the bed covering and the Egyptian cotton pillows, transform the simple design of the room into a sensuous private retreat.