Blossoms in concert Want some decorating ideas? Visit the seven 'Homes for the Holidays' decked out by area floral designers, an event to benefit symphony youth programs.

November 30, 1997|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,SUN STAFF

Flowers have great power when it comes to evoking a season -- the colors, textures, containers and accessories all contribute to the sense of a particular place and time, a particular celebration. The winter holidays are a perfect example, and a group of local floral designers are making a definitive holiday statement in a group of fine homes that will be open for touring this coming weekend.

Sea lavender, magnolia, roses, lilies, narcissus -- plus angels, artichokes and dollhouses -- are some of the elements showing up in this year's Homes for the Holidays tour, sponsored by the Baltimore Symphony Associates to benefit youth programs of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Seven homes in Baltimore County will be decorated by seven floral designers, and people can stroll through Thursday, Friday and Saturday for inspiration for dressing their own homes with seasonal arrangements, or just for the beauty of it all. On Friday night, there will be a candlelight tour of the homes and a party at the Cloisters Children's Museum.

In the home decorated by Betty Davis, of Betty Davis Floral Design, soft blue-green eucalyptus, purple sea lavender and blue spruce in a mantel arrangement complement the soft colors and delicate faux painting on the lemon-cream walls of the living room. The room features a landscape mural in the living room by noted area artist Charles MacSherry, set off by French antique furniture.

Gilded cherubs sport among candles on the mantle. "The theme [in the room] is the golden age of Greece and Rome," Davis said. The floral theme for the house is "rejoicing worldwide," and Davis plans Oriental accents in the study, Italian baroque style in the dining room, Mexican touches in the family room, and "a Scottish brogue" for the bar in the family room.

And, Davis said, "there'll be a Swedish surprise in the laundry room."

In the home being decorated by Diane Carter, of Roland Park Florist of Baltimore, the dining room, painted in a luscious deep red faux finish, features some of the homeowner's large collection of angel figures. Brass angels carry candles beside a floral centerpiece of lilies, celosia, delphinium, Casablanca lilies, lemon leaves and magnolia leaves, accented by gilded artichokes and pomegranates.

On the chandelier above the table, cream and gold angel figures fly from the arms on gold ribbons.

Carter's theme for the house is "Christmas in the grand $l tradition."

"Gold and white is the big thing this year," she said.

The dining table will be set with green and gold china, and a collection of blue-and-white bowls will be filled with bright seasonal berries, Carter said. She also will incorporate more traditional greens of holly, pine and boxwood.

Colors emphasized in the master bedroom, master bath and kitchen will be blue and green, and there will be plants throughout the house -- paperwhite narcissus, amaryllis, cyclamen and poinsettias.

Pairs of small trees -- to be planted outside later -- decorated with gold ornaments and white lights will adorn the entryway, doors to the patio and the living room fireplace. In the family room, a "huge" Christmas tree will be decorated with gold angels, gold ribbon and white lights. Carter is also using dollhouses and other miniatures throughout the rooms.

Other designers participating in the tour are Susan Uhlig, of Branching Out of Baltimore, Eleanor Oster of Eleanor Oster Floral Design of Towson, Darlene Waters of the French Tulip of Towson, Teresa Kastner of Floral Impressions of Baltimore and Christine Phillips of Fleur de Lis of Baltimore.

Planners are hoping for good weather, so tourgoers can stroll from one festive home to another.

But the decorated houses are not the end of attractions at the event.

"We have a gift shop, greenery for sale, a raffle, and this year, for the first time, we're having a lunchroom," said Betty Reeves, co-chairwoman of the event with Susan Wolven.

Food will be catered by Charles Levine.

It takes 200 volunteers and "thousands of hours" of planning and coordinating to put the event together, the two women said. "I approached one of the homeowners a year ago," Reeves said.

Show in its fifth year

This is the fifth year for the show, the second year of co-chairmanship for Reeves and Wolven. Among the beneficiaries is the orchestra's Arts Excell program, which takes music education to 12 Baltimore-area elementary schools.

"Last year we took it beyond houses," Reeves said. "We opened a chapel. This year we're using the Cloisters." The historic house will house the gift shop and luncheon room, and it will also be adorned for the season by Christine Phillips.

"The Cloisters reminds me of a castle," Phillips said, "so I wanted to do something in that Renaissance motif."

The entryway will be adorned with evergreen wreaths and garlands trimmed with gold woven fiber ribbon and terra-cotta velvet ribbon. Visitors will be greeted inside the front door by the king and queen of the castle -- decorated trees topped with crowns.

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