More than 15 local designers have transformed slightly dated rooms into modern-day showstoppers at Rockfield Manor, a mansion used for events owned by the town of Bel Air. For the next few days, it will be open as a decorator show house.
"If you've never been to a show house, you're in for a big treat," Billee Smith, owner of Distinctive Decor on St. John Street, said, standing in her peacock-inspired living room.
Smith was one of 19 local designers and artists selected to participate in the Rockfield Manor show house, which is sponsored by the Chesapeake Cancer Alliance.
"Rockfield Manor was in desperate need of refurbishing," Kitty Pickett, organizer of Chesapeake Cancer Alliance, told Patch. "The town of Bel Air came to us and asked us if we would consider doing it."
Chesapeake Cancer Alliance agreed to turn the mansion into a "show house," then selected designers who donated their time updating the space.
All money from ticket sales goes to Cancer Life Net, which provides cancer-related services through Upper Chesapeake, and toward the Kaufman Cancer Center, which is opening next month, Pickett said.
Smith said that although she has participated in past decorator show houses, this year's effort has a special significance.
"My husband is fighting cancer at this point," Smith said. "This project is really close to home."
For the past month, in addition to running her shop on St. John Street and being there for her husband, Smith has been channeling creative energy into the living room at Rockfield Manor.
In her living room at the Bel Air show house, which she said she wanted to make an "approachable space," Smith used an Asian-themed fabric called Balanaisia for window treatments featuring lanterns and elephants. After Smith sanded and updated the fireplace, her friend, Havre de Grace artist Bill Watson, painted elephants on tiles around it.
While various designers and artists put their ideas to work inside Rockfield Manor and didn't confer in the process, the house seems to "flow," Pickett said.
Smith said many people come to get ideas for their homes.
"Come support the cause," Smith said. "You might pick up a tip or two along the way."
The show house at Rockfield Manor (501 Churchville Rd. in Bel Air) is open through Sept. 22. Hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $20. The self-guided tour spills out onto a garden with a cafe where boxed lunches are available. There is also a boutique.