All decked out Ideas for seasonal decorating are abundant at this year's Symphony Associates house tour.

November 29, 1998|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Sun Staff

When it comes to holiday decorations, some of us are traditionalists: year after year, we stick to familiar arrangements in accustomed places, cherishing the continuity. But some of us are decorating adventurers, always on the lookout for new ways to decorate our homes in honor of the season.

Whatever your attitude, you're likely to find something to please you at the Baltimore Symphony Associates Homes for the Holidays house tour next weekend, with 11 area floral designers transforming five local homes into festive fantasies.

There's a trend this year to use natural materials, including fruits, vegetables and foliage; and, of course, angels are a popular motif.

Darlene Waters, of the French Tulip, Towson, will be using twigs, grasses, vegetables, pomegranates, cranberries and greens, among other things.

"People come to the show to get ideas," Waters said. "I try to

decorate with inexpensive things that people can do when they get home."

Colors that predominate in the house she will be decorating are soft, mostly peaches and creams, she said. "So I'm not using reds as such, but more of an earthy red, as in the pomegranates."

She also likes to add a little "glitter and brilliance" with gold-sprayed twigs and leaves - "and maybe artichokes." She creates a floral pave effect by using one flower densely packed into one big cluster. "It looks like one big puff."

One of the home's Christmas trees will be decorated with the owner's collection of angels.

Ory Webster, of Webster/Jeweler Creative, said he likes to "go outside the traditional box" in his designs. As an example, instead of using the familiar greenery swags on the main staircase in the house he's decorating, he plans to place a red-rose topiary on either side of each step all the way up.

In the kitchen, where there's a large central island, he said, "We're going to fill the island with white poinsettias and make a snowman out of fresh chrysanthemums." The snowman will have a carrot nose, twig arms, dark brown chrysanthemums for eyes and, of course, a top hat.

In the music room of the house, every pane of the windows will be decorated with a snowflake shape made of greenery. A bow made of greenery will grace a wreath in the kitchen made out of dried orange slices.

Patrick Doyle, of Foxglove design, who is decorating a stone farmhouse that dates to the 1800s, said the owner collects materials all year from her yard, such as holly, hydrangea and magnolia, to use when the holidays roll around.

A touch of whimsy will greet visitors to the house, Doyle said. "We've built a pair of teddy bears out of green moss, 6 feet tall, to sit on twig benches outside the front door."

Doyle also eschewed the usual staircase garland; instead he's using a series of fresh evergreen wreaths threaded with gold organza.

In the living room, greens and other naturals will complement a pair of Italian terra-cotta angels, whose draperies are painted in blues and greens. Terra-cotta window boxes covered in gold leaf will fill the deep windowsills in the dining room, which is painted red. They will be filled with tall red amaryllis.

All of the designers seem to be using unexpected, nontraditional elements this year. Webster has created a tabletop tree out of cinnamon sticks, decorated with cranberries. Waters mixes tulle, windowpane ribbon, artichokes, pomegranates and heather in a striking door wreath. And Doyle combined lilies, roses, ilex berries, Gerber daisies, amaryllis, hydrangea, pepper berries, furry celosia and spiky greens in a far-from-typical foyer floral arrangement.

Floral designers represented will be the French Tulip, Jeweler/Webster Creative, Foxglove, Roland Park Florist, Art in Bloom, Upsey Daisy, Gooch & Fisher Floral Designs, Floral Impressions, Blue Sage Floral Designs, Watson's Garden Center and A Garden of Earthly Delights.


Homes for the Holidays takes place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and includes a gala house tour and party from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at the Cloisters mansion, 10440 Falls Road. The Cloisters will also offer a cafe, a gift shop and a Greenery with holiday plants and foliage.

The tour houses will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Advance tickets may be bought at all Graul's locations, at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and other locations (look for the signs). To order by phone, call 410-252-4236. Tickets will be available at the Cloisters during the tour.

The gala includes a candlelight tour of the decorated houses from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the party from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. There will be food from caterer Charles Levine, and music from the Society for Early Music of Northern Maryland. Tickets for the gala are $50 per person. For tickets or information, call 410-561-1419.

Pub Date: 11/29/98

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