MIRRORS, fabric, stenciling, paper, grass and paint in all kinds of textures, patterns, colors and shines jump out at you from the walls, ceilings and windows of the Lambeth Green mansion in Baltimore, the site of this spring's Baltimore Symphony Decorators' Show House.
Entering the 1922 English cottage-styled mansion at 4005 Greenway you find yourself split between the 18th century and the 1980s. An elegant powder room was designed by Hunt Valley Interiors of Cockeysville, Md. The room's high ceiling is covered in a pleated white Dacron sheer that looks like silk. Designers Reita Erler and John Hale took their color scheme from the burgundy and grey Tabriz rug.
Mirrors on either side of the bay window reflect all the antiques in the room including silver-handled button hooks, a silver topped cologne bottle, a silver comb and brush set, a rhinestone shoe buckle and a jacket with ostrich feathers. The antique Oriental handcarved chairs seem to be waiting for fancy ballroom gowns. "We used our imaginations," says Erler. "We thought about the time the house was built. When women entered for a ball, they'd go directly to a powder room to freshen up."
To the right of the home's entrance is a mirrored study with low voltage track lighting. Put together by Alexander Baer Associates of Baltimore, three of the room's walls have photographs hung around the room, lessening the narcissistic effect of all the mirrors. The interior shutters are covered in a warm grey suede cloth. A marble top desk, brown leather chair and two Mies van der Rohe chairs fill but do not clutter the room.
The breakfast room and adjacent vertical-shaped pantry have blue and apricot vinyl wallpaper and a complementary floral blue and apricot wallpaper, respectively. The coordinating wall coverings enlarge each of these small rooms, by giving you the feeling that they flow into each other, making one large room. The dishwasher is color coordinated with a single tulip in blue and apricot--cut out from the wallpaper. The windows in each room face each other, allowing light in at both ends. The pantry windows also are covered in coordinated apricot and blue cotton. Ann Manley Interior of Reisterstown, Md., designed the rooms that make even morning a pleasure.See BALTIMORE, Page 2, Col. 1 The kitchen in the Lambeth Green mansion, decorated by Patricia Schmidt of Lee Interiors. Photography by Gerald Martineau--The Washington Post. A Symphony of Color -- BALTIMORE, From Page 1
In the kitchen, baskets for bread, eggs and picnics are hung from the center ceiling on a light-weight wooden wheel suspended by chains. Designer Patricia Schmidt of Lee Interiors of Baldwin, Md., chose antique oak table and chairs with a matching bench and rocker for the nucleus of this rustic country room. The large Vulcan stove is set against a beige tile wall. The other three walls and ceiling are covered in a beige and brick-colored country print. The shirred burlap curtains slip onto rods along the top and bottom of the window. Patricia Schmidt tied them at the center with red ribbon, forming double-X's..
The lilac painted Oriental-influenced living room is the only room that doesn't fuss with a patterned wall. The Gladys Goldstein painting composed of colorful tile-like squares shows off well against the subtle pale mauve wall color. In turn, the mauves, pinks and greens in the painting bring out the mauves, pinks and greens of the furniture: an upholstered winged sofa with splashes of pink, mauve, purple and green; a grass-cloth wrapped coffee table with lilac candles in Lucite candlesticks; two mauve lacquered Oriental chairs with white cotton seats; and two lilac upholstered seats with brass trim. Two cream lacquered bookcases are lighted inside to show off art glass. Folding screens in the same lilac color scheme are used in front of one set of windows. The living room was designed by Furniture and Things of Baltimore.
The thin, wavy light blue and white stripes on the dining room walls look like moire' fabric or wood paneling. In fact, it is a paper, covering the walls from the ceiling to about two-thirds of the way down. The bottom one-third of the wall is covered in blue-painted wood paneling. Designers John Ford and Sandy Glover gave 18th-century elegance to the room with their shirred and balloon-type drapes. The ballooned effect--curtains cascading from the ceiling like double bustled skirts seem to be popular with a number of the house's designers.
Upstairs the nursery has one of the more innovative wallcoverings. Designer Alice Graefe took blue, pink and green rosebud patterned sheets and hung them from rods from floor to ceiling, on three of the room's walls. The fabric forms a soft pleated wall covering on the wall space between the five windows. The nursery curtains, also made of the sheets, lift up in four places with a braided cord, another variation on the balloon style. A handcarved white wood cradle is suspended from the ceiling with a decorative, and according to Graefe, sturdy, white chain. A handpainted floor-to-ceiling apple blossom tree decorates the small foyer wall of the nursery.
While baby is napping, mother can lounge in the next, rather decadent room. Designer Arlen St. John used an all-black decor. A black wallpaper with tiny white polkadots and blue and pink rosebuds is repeated on the ceiling and on the "poof" curtains, as Arlen calls them. Yet another variation on the balloon-effect, the curtain panels are tied up with ribbons and when drawn, form a scallopped edge. The painted and polyurethaned straw rug of black and white squares, the black wicker chaise longue and built-in bookcases are offset by the brass-framed artworks on the walls. St. John used antique clothing as artwork. She framed a baby's christening dress, made about the turn-of-the-century, as well as a lace handkerchief and a handknit knee sock.
Antique 17th- and 18th-century wood furniture and neo Art Nouveau pieces are combined in the master bedroom designed by Joyce Griffth of Papier Wallcoverings & Interiors of Timonium, Md. A Chippendale mahogany chest, circa 1770, and a late Georgian 1825 chest-on-a-chest work well with the two mauve colored Art Nouveau divans.
The king-size bed is regal with a small canopy of pleated light purple imitation silk that hangs from the ceiling. The bedroom is one of the few rooms that does not use a window treatment. Instead Griffth used colored glassware in each of the four windows, bringing in natural light to show off the glass. The walls are done in a very subtle mauve paper with small white polka dots. The pattern stops about one foot from the ceiling, where a purple border, reminiscent of the flying geese pattern on American quilts, follows the wall along the ceiling.
A number of the designers used over-sized (three-feet high and larger) glass vases and ceramic sculptures as focal points in the room. Some pieces are placed on the floor or on pedestals, such as Rick Shelley's ceramic gothic buildings and creatures. Some of the crafts works are filled with silk flowers or stalks of pussy willow; others stand empty, allowing their colors and textures to speak for themselves. In the man's sitting room, designer Stanley Kroiz of Studio House Interiors, uses a large brass unicorn by Sergio Bustamante on a low counter beneath the window.
Antiques, observe designers Dana Boden and Judy Hasler, should not be limited to drawing rooms. Boden and Hasler, owners of "House Calls by Designing Women," use antiques very effectively in a narrow third floor bathroom. A Victorian e'tage re with scrolled finials on the top shelf holds towels and cosmetics and fits nicely against one of the long walls. Two sets of brass shelves hang on the opposite wall. Boden and Hasler decorated the old claw-foot tub with a peach and green skirt complete with petticoat--definitely a ladies bath. They handled the angular ceiling/wall by attaching a cascading, scalloped-edge curtain to the angle, which could be let down, hiding the toilet, or pulled up against the angle with ribbon. A brass waste basket and antique picture frames decorate the walls. A white telephone sits on a marble top table alongside the bath.