Christmas showcase

By FRANCES JAQUES, Staff writer

Building on the success of its inaugural experiment last year, the Springhill Christmas House is open for a repeat performance. Transformed from its everyday life as a Catholic retreat center, the three-story 150-year-old house becomes a magical place where mundane meeting rooms brightly glisten in holiday decor. The good news is that the house will be open for public touring from today through Dec. 17.

The first and second floor rooms, hallways and staircases have been decorated and creatively arranged by a bevy of local interior designers and shop owners. Each of these spaces has been turned over to a different design team who has been given free reign to decorate and furnish the room as it desires.... For the next two weeks, visitors may tour through the grounds and rooms and perhaps pick up ideas for use in their own homes.....

The master bedroom, located at the head of the stairway, was given an Italian Villa look by a collaboration of four local interior designers.

"The design was inspired by a trompe l'oeil mural we used to conceal an outside door that opened to nowhere," said Julie Bass, one of the designers. The mural is framed by faux iron grills and the grillwork is matched by the Italian iron bed that centers the room. The colors used are cream, coral and antique bronze, all providing an Italian flair. The classic decor extends to the mantel above the fireplace, one of four in the house.

Excerpt, originally published 12/02/06, Copyright © 2011 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.