For the first time in 15 years, the National Symphony Orchestra’s Decorator’s Show House is returning to Northern Virginia.
This year’s home, Hidden Brook Manor at 8925 Alvord St. in McLean, is owned by Michael Pusateri and will feature the handiwork and creative expertise of 24 decorators, designers and artists from across the greater D.C. area.
“The NSO Show House started in 1973 as a fundraiser for the Women’s Committee of the National Symphony Orchestra,” said Teresa Paul, president and media specialist with the Women’s Committee.
One of the longest-running show house programs in the country, last year’s event, in Potomac, Md., raised more than $400,000 for the Education, Artistic and Community Outreach program run by the Women’s Committee, Paul said, thanks to the patronage of more than 18,000 people.
Several homes were looked at before Pusateri’s house was selected, she said, a difficult task in itself, as the house must be left vacant from August through November to allow for the decoration and its removal.
“Mr. Pusateri just purchased this house on June 9 from Mr. and Mrs. Manou and Shahnaz Faily, who built the house,” Paul said. “He’s putting some new additions and a pool on which will be completed by the time the show opens in October.”
In addition to displaying the talents of local interior designers and decorators, the NSO Decorator’s Show House is a way to let people have access to new design ideas without hiring their own personal consultant, Paul said.
“Because it is a show house, some of the things are a bit over-the-top,” she said. “After the show is done, most of the items in the house are for sale, with 20 percent of the proceeds going to the Women’s Committee.”
BOTH THE FORMER and current owner of the home are “thrilled” with their involvement in the event this year, Paul said. “The woman who lived here before has been going to the Show House for years. She’s very touched and proud her house has been selected.”
The Women’s Committee invited local designers to walk through the house and put in a decorating "bid" on up to three rooms they would like to redo, Paul said.
One of those designers is Carol Lascaris of the Lascaris Design Group from McLean, who has chosen a Breast Cancer Awareness theme for the dining room of the house.
“October is Breast Cancer Awareness month so I decided, in talking and working with some friends involved in Race for the Cure, to decorate the room for a very elegant ladies’ luncheon with some specially made carpet from Stack Carpeting which will feature pink ribbons,” Lascaris said.
The carpeting would be available for sale nationwide, with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the carpeting going to fund breast cancer research, she said.
“Not only does this increase awareness of breast cancer, but it reminds us that we’ve all been touched by it,” she said. “We’re going to set up the dining room as a glorious luncheon to salute those we’ve lost. There will be lots of pink, but it’ll be very sophisticated.”
The table will be set with place cards for women who have battled the disease, along with one for Laura Bush, Lascaris said.
EVEN THOUGH the designers will not be allowed into the house until the beginning of August, “everything has been ordered and will be ready to go when we can start work,” she said.
As a member of Design Partners in McLean, this will be Nancy Colbert’s third venture with the Decorator’s Show House.
“There are three bedrooms upstairs, all with in-suite baths, and we’re taking the smaller of the rooms,” Colbert said.
With one wall featuring closets and having limited space — “If we furnished the room with a standard queen bed, it would fill the room,” Colbert said — she envisions a lady’s powder room with comfortable lounge chairs, a small, flat-screen TV and a custom-made iron daybed for the room.
“The furniture arrangement will be a little challenging,” she said, with the room only measuring 13 by 13 feet, but she is confident the room will come together nicely.
“We’re going to be using very soft aqua blues and soft tones in the room because it is small, and I’ll be putting a cold-infused glass wall above the bed,” she said. “The bathroom is already done in a respectable tile pattern so we’ll be adding some small, glass-beaded wall coverings in there.”
Working by herself to design the room, Colbert will be enlisting the help of some tradesmen for the installation of the glasswork and wooden moldings.
“The use of the space has to be practical because someone will be living in this house when we’re done,” she said. “I want to give the space its own identity. I’ve always enjoyed working on this type of process.”