At Home In Horse Country

Helmore Farm, this year's Baltimore Symphony Associates' Decorator Show House, has been decorated to look as though a well-traveled, horse-raising family lived there.

Focus On Interior Design

April 25, 1999|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Sun Staff

Helmore Farm, this year's Baltimore Symphony Associates' Decorator Show House, has been decorated to look as though a well-traveled, horse-raising family lived there.

Remember that old George Peppard line in the "A-Team"? I love it when a plan comes together.

The debonair Peppard might easily have been talking about the Baltimore Symphony Associates' Decorator Show House, where every year dozens of organizers, volunteers and designers come together to transform some promising but uninspired space into a treasure. The show house opens today and runs through May 23.

This year's site is Helmore Farm, a 170-year-old thoroughbred farm in Greenspring Valley. More than 30 spaces in the rambling three-story house are being decorated. It's clear that tradition remains Baltimore's most cherished look. But there's nothing pale or staid or fussy about this tradition: The rooms are vibrant with color, and are comfortable and welcoming. Many are leavened with a little bit of whimsy.

There are a few soaring spaces -- the kitchen/family room, dining room and large front parlor have lovely high ceilings -- but most of the rooms are cozy, rather than grand.

And, in the kind of serendipity that occurs when talented people focus on a single object, the house has taken on a subtle but definite style that is all of a piece, and all its own. It's got a touch of adventure, a bit of the exotic, a hint of the Orient -- as would befit a sophisticated, well-traveled family raising horses in the country. Think elephants, camels and leopards, rattan and wicker, bright colors and lots of texture.

"We do try to get as many different styles as possible," said Jane Barton, show house general chair. But sometimes, she said, design trends simply converge in the house.

Designers are invited to submit proposals for three spaces, Barton said, and through their selections, the design committee has some control over how spaces flow into one another. The designers work well together, she said, sharing tips and networking. But there's a "subtle competition" among them. Designers will vote on their favorite space for a "Designers' Choice" award, and the public will also be invited to vote for its favorite.

Besides viewing the splendid rooms, visitors can stroll through landscaped gardens, sit in a gazebo, and dine in a tent on light fare from Chef's Expressions in Timonium. Part of the tent will also house a boutique.

IF YOU GO . . .

Helmore Farm, this year's Baltimore Symphony Decorators' Show House, opens today and runs through May 23. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday.

The house is at 901 Greenspring Valley Rd., just west of Falls Road. There is parking on the premises.

Tickets cost $15 a person at the door or $12 in advance. Advance tickets may be bought at select Giant stores, and at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall box office, 1212 Cathedral St. Call 410-783-8000.

The following are on this year's NO list: no refunds; no handicapped access; no public transportation; no strollers; no children under 10; no infants in arms; no spike heels; no inside photography or video.

For recorded ticket information, call 410-296-9400. For additional information during show house hours only, call 410-296-3484.

Pub Date: 04/25/99

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