It’s SHOW TIME…SHOW HOUSE time that is! / by Paula Henry

In this digital age, interior design inspiration is abundant.  From glossy magazine pages to on-line galleries, it is there for you to view and dream.  But if you had an opportunity to actually experience what it feels like to be in a beautifully designed room, would you miss it?

Nestled into the Mays Chapel area on a picturesque hilltop, you will find Mayfair, this year’s Baltimore Symphony Associates Decorator’s Show House.  Hundreds of designers were invited to view this gem in late winter to warm up their creative juices.  Designers often have criteria for rooms they we would be willing to design, one of which is the monetary investment to complete the project.  If walls are in bad condition, designers may take a pass on making costly repairs and opt for another space that is more “design ready.”  Built in 1812, Mayfair was in remarkably good condition, though some rooms had wallpaper that had to be removed (at designer’s expense.)  Some prefer a smaller space while others go big.  When working in a foyer or hallway, designers have to allow for constant interruptions by people walking through in route to other rooms.  If deterred by this, designers will look for a room that is off to itself, like the Living Room at Mayfair.  Many show houses are not air conditioned making upper floor rooms less desirable in warmer months.  That is why there is chocolate and vanilla. 

Designers had only 35 days, less 3 “snow days” to work their magic.  Through mid-March to mid-April, the house was a flurry of activity with busy painters, paperhangers and other contractors working to each designer’s individual specifications.  The air of excitement is palatable, especially when furniture starts to arrive and designers put their finishing touches on every little thing, tweaking down to fractions of an inch.  “Before” pictures are placed in each room and are perfect ways to help illustrate the inspiring and fascinating transformations that have taken place.

In progress...

In progress...

There can be lots of competition for each room and I was honored to have been selected to design the Living Room for this year’s show house.  I am calling it “Noteworthy” and hope you will agree.  I designed the ceiling molding which made an immediate impact as soon as it was installed. 

Please stop in and say hello. Mayfair is open through May 21, 2017.  The Show House is located in the May’s Chapel area of Lutherville.  To purchase advance tickets, please visit