Estate with ties to Baltimore literary legend Edgar Allan Poe to open as Designer Show House

The annual Symphony Designers’ Show House, where interior designers use an elaborate home as their canvas, returns this Sunday in its 41st year, and this time, the house — with its Flemish bond red brick, detailed arched windows and ties to a Baltimore literary legend — is an attraction itself.

Hosted by Baltimore Symphony Associates, the volunteer arm of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the show house will be hosted in the 13-acre “Oakland” estate, once owned by the descendants of poet Edgar Allan Poe, said Marge Penhallegon, the chairperson of the Designers’ Show House.


The four-story Owings Mills home will be open starting May 27 through June 10 for paying guests to see the varying decor of its 21 rooms, which have been decorated by 18 artists and interior designers.

For those who appreciate history and stately homes, a Flemish bond patterned-red-brick Colonial is on the market in Owings Mills for $1.15 million.


The Oakland estate, built in 1927 in Greenspring Valley, was most recently owned by Poe’s relative Edgar Allan Poe III, the poet’s great-great-great-nephew who died in 2011, and his wife, who sold the house last summer.


The new owner, Raphael Cassagnol, remodeled the roughly 6,600-square-foot home, adding a master suite and a three-car garage. Cassagnol also stripped the home of its wallpaper to prepare it for the designers’ new creations, Penhallegonsaid.

“It’s a very fresh-looking house now, but the owner has been careful about keeping the architectural charm in it,” Penhallegon said. “He didn't want to take away something that made it a beautiful house to begin with.”

Cassagnol plans to resell the house a couple months after the Show House ends and he has installed new features, said Charlotte Eyring, a real estate agent for Berkshire Hathaway.

Maryland Institute College of Art alumna Paddy Dugan transformed the master bedroom into a “bedfellows’ haven,” using colors like sea glass blue and five silk lavender, green and plaid pillows as her inspiration.

“The feeling of the room is very calm and tranquil, and just very relaxing and comfortable as a bedroom should be, but it’s going to have some fun colors added, which always pull a room together and make it interesting,” said Dugan, a Lutherville artist and interior designer.

Her original artwork adorns the room, which also features a white textured rug and a white bedspread to provide contrast with the other colors. Dugan also incorporated floral arrangements and hints of natural elements like glass stones and petals to create “a very soothing environment.”

“My intent is to make a really beautiful room that is appealing to men and women and everybody,” Dugan said.

A red sign went up a few days ago on a reproduction gas street lamp marking Edgar Allan Poe Square. The square is actually just off West Lexington Street, at Amity Street, in West Baltimore. Baltimore's legendary Poe House stands there, at 203 N. Amity in the Poppleton neighborhood.

With more than a dozen other designers, it’s likely attendees will find something they like, Penhallegon said.

“People who are curious about what other people do to their homes — they can look look around at what is fresh and new, or what they might be able to add to their own home, what’s popular, which blue is in this season,” she said. “And people who are younger people who are looking at their own home and how will they furnish it.”

Oakland’s lower level will host the Show House’s boutique, which will feature around a dozen vendors, selling artisanal and other unique goods.

“A lot of people drive by houses, and say ‘Boy, I’d love to see inside that house!’” she said.

Now, you can.


If you go

The 41st Symphony Designers’ Show House will feature 21 rooms designed by 18 artists and interior designers for your viewing and inspiration. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday through Sunday. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays. May 27-June 17. $25 for tickets online or at participating vendors. $30 at the door. 416 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills.

Sip N’ Shop Enjoy refreshments while checking out items by local vendors in the Designers’ House boutique. 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays. Free with ticket.

Twilight Tuesdays: Tour, Talk & Taste Attend a private guided tour with a Show House designer to get an inside scoop on how the decor and designs came to life. 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. May 29, June 5, June 12. $50.

For more information, visit bsomusic.org.

3:30 p.m. Friday: This article has been updated to reflect the new dates for the Baltimore Symphony Associates Designers’ Show House. The organization postponed the event due to construction delays caused by inclement weather.

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