Decorator show houses are usually more theater than sources of practical design advice. But the best ones display creative ideas that you can make your own. Case in point: Perry Hall, the Historical Society of Talbot County's 1998 show house. It's filled with appealing ideas and clever solutions to problems.
The following are just a few of the most inventive ideas. For others, visit the show house, which is open through July 5.
Perry Hall, an 18th-century manor house, is located near Easton at 26890 St. Michaels Road. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $15 at the door. For more information, call 410-822-0786.
James Merida of Lanham-Merida Antiques and Interiors in Easton cut up a beautiful Japanese obi -- the broad sash worn with a kimono -- to cover the chairs in the show house's foyer. The result is elegant, and complements the Imari porcelain decorating the room. "The same look from Schumacher [the upscale fabric company] would have cost twice as much," Merida says.
Room with a view
When you have the Miles River right outside your window (or any spectacular view), the room should accommodate it. Joseph Davis of Joseph Paul Davis LLC Interior Design in Washington outfitted the Drawing Room in soothing beiges and off-whites that don't compete with the view outside. The few touches of soft blue -- a cushion or two on the sofa by the windows, a decorative bowl -- bring the outdoors and the water into the room.
From rug to riches
The Dining Room's unusual rug was already in place when Cynthia Polson of Sroka Design Inc. in Washington began designing the room. She picked up its Gothic trefoil and fleur de lis motifs and repeated them throughout the room -- but subtly. "I didn't want to be blatant about it," Polson says. The rug's soft colors, too, were reference points: blue, gold, pink and what she calls a "Granny Smith green."
Mirror, mirror on the wall
More on blurring the lines between indoors and out: Caroline Benson of Garden Treasures in Easton has decorated the Porch as beautifully as a living room, with lots of nature motifs. Hanging on the house's exterior wall is an old window sash with a mirror behind it. The mirror is hand-painted with a garden scene, so you seem to be looking into the house -- and into a garden at the same time.
A sisal rug is practical, but it can use a little dressing up. In the Morning Room, Belinda McClure of Belinda McClure Interiors in Severna Park added a colorful border to her sisal rug. The border gives visual interest and softens the look of the fiber. It can be coordinated with the window treatment, as McClure did here, or with other fabrics in the room.
Ah, the fine art of disguise. A radiator can ruin a room's good looks, and most radiator covers seem so, well, ordinary. Darryl Savage and Anthony Awkard of DHS Designs in Annapolis designed these contemporary covers of painted wood. Their horizontal chic adds architectural interest to the Guest Bedroom.
Have a closet you don't really need? In the Young Man's Room, Eileen Arader of Eileen Arader Interiors in Wittman had the closet door taken off and a removable bookcase built in. The bookcase can be pulled out and used elsewhere if the family needs the closet space later.
Pub Date: 6/21/98