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NSO Show House Opens

Designers pursue various themes throughout the rooms.

Designing around a theme seems to be the trend at this year’s NSO Decorators’ Show House 2005, opening Sunday, Oct. 2 at Hidden Brooks Manor in McLean.

One striking example of a theme room is that produced by The Lascaris Design Group. Using the symbolic pink ribbon now associated with the Breast Cancer Foundation, Carol Lascaris, ASID, has designed an elegant dining room, complete with a raspberry needlepoint rug, floral chintz with pink ribbons and Anna Weatherly’s botanical china collection, “Flowers of Yesterday” and matching cranberry crystal stemware.

Pink prisms in the chandelier cast a special light, while books on women’s issues are laid on tables. Paintings on the walls are a tribute to female artists.

Place cards are set at the table for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former First Lady Barbara Bush and other women supportive of fighting breast cancer. One of those supporters is Andrea Stark, owner of Stark Carpet. She not only donated the rug and 100 yards of the chintz for the show house, but she has also agreed to donate the proceeds from future sales of the fabric, which will be sold exclusively at Nieman-Marcus.

“Everything reflects the light and is a tribute to life,” Lascaris said.

Across from the dining room is a library and wet bar. Dee Thornton, principal and senior designer of Houseworks Interiors, said that this is her concept of a modern-day drawing room, a room guests can retire to after dinner. Working with Heidi Williams-Hoffman, project manager of Houseworks Interiors, Thorton created an Italian-themed room. From the warm woods to the dramatic color scheme, the result is a cozy space.

“Our approach was to blend the old with the new,” Thornton said. “The house was a joy to work with — very pristine.”

NEXT TO THE LIBRARY is the powder room. Thirty decorators from Interiors by Decorating Den tackled this small space, creating a room that is a “celebration of all things organic.”

Tonya Comer said that the space was created by committee and points out the various natural elements — silk, granite, onyx, brass and various metals.

In the hallway, Alessio Sosa pulled everything together with similar patterns in the textiles and the stenciled walls. Lighting is key to this area, which leads to a cozy window seat.

The bedroom retreat comes alive thanks to the efforts of Nancy Colbert of Design Partners, LLC. She used a daybed because she wanted to keep the room on a small scale and didn’t want it to be all about the bed. Colbert used custom cold-fused glass (painted on the inside) to give the appearance of more space in the room. A glass-beaded wall covering decorates the bathroom.

“Working on a show house gives you the opportunity to try something different,” Colbert said.

Meg Mackenzie used the stairway to the basement to accent some of her artwork. An artist from Arlington, she has exhibited throughout the Northern Virginia area and has painted murals in the Shenandoah Valley.

Dolly Howarth, from Howarth Designs in Arlington, transformed a plywood closet adjacent to the wine cellar into a cozy tasting lounge. This room has a Danish theme with bleached floors, walls and wine racks with contrasting blue, copper and bronze colors.

The Tuscan wine bar, done by MiMi’s Fine Designs, uses a Tuscan theme design to transport guests to a Tuscan villa. This is done using window murals depicting Italian vineyards and faux painted walls of stone and brick. A granite wet bar, wrought iron furnishings, ceramic urns and authentic wine barrels enhance the atmosphere of the room.

But the inside of the house is not the only showcase. Trent Morris from M&M Landscaping is credited with redesigning the patio. His company also did the landscaping design, the lighting, the lawn installation and water irrigation.