Home of the Week: The holiday designer showhouse


One of the best kept secrets of this holiday season is the Christmas House, a 150-year-old Crownsville home with many rooms and hallways decorated by interior designers and which will be open for eight days of viewing beginning today.

The Christmas House is known as the Springhill Center for Family Development when it isn't wearing its holiday garb. The estate was purchased in 2002 by the Legion of Christ, a group of non-diocesan Catholic priests who are behind its transformation into a place for families and youth.

A group of lay people who attend programs at the center came up with the idea of introducing the facility to the public through a designer showcase format and what better time for decorating than Christmas? They were able to get 16 design firms and home furnishing businesses to take on the task of decorating a room in holiday attire.

The rooms of the house are the biggest attraction. An enormous structure even by today's standards, the house has four fireplaces and at least 10 sets of French doors. The ceilings are 10 feet high on the first floor, nine feet on the second floor and eight on the third and two stairways.

Each of the rooms has been given a title and its decor follows a holiday theme. The second floor is a real Christmas showhouse with every room extensively decorated for the holiday.

A country French dining room is done by Julie Bass of Severna Park. Upholstered white chairs are set around a rectangular-shaped wood table centered with aqua and rose flower arrangement. The draperies are chocolate with aqua accents picking up the color in the rug.

Excerpt, originally published 12/03/05, Copyright © 2011 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.