By Donna Cornelius
The Decorators’ ShowHouse turns 40 this year, and it’s showing no signs of aging.
The Alabama Symphony Orchestra fundraiser started in 1976. The first ShowHouse was a stately Mountain Brook house modeled after George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
This year’s event, set for April 9-24, opens the doors of a Mountain Brook house that was built by Katherine and Bill McTyeire, well-known Birmingham business and civic leaders.
“We’re so excited to have this house as our 40th ShowHouse,” said Nan Teninbaum, the Symphony Volunteer Council’s publicity and marketing chairman. “It’s a showstopper.”
Birmingham architect Henry Sprott Long designed the house in the late 1960s. Its style is typical of 18th century France’s domestic architecture. The stucco exterior has limestone accents, and the house’s perch on a crest gives it sweeping views of Shades Valley.
Inside, ShowHouse visitors will see an Italian marble floor in the foyer, an oak-paneled library and intricate woodwork and dentil molding.
The impressive staircase that leads from the foyer to the second level of the house has a hand-wrought rail copied from a French chateau. The rail was made in Birmingham at the family’s plant, Birmingham Ornamental Iron Co.
The master suite includes an antique marble fireplace mantel and separate bathrooms. The house has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms.
Teninbaum said the beauty of the house combined with the McTyeires’ being so well known in Birmingham created even more interest from decorators than usual.
Designers and their rooms include Mark Kennamer Design, foyer and landing; Libby Greene Interiors, living room; Jan Ware Designs, master suite; Katie Baker Designs Inc., library; Lesley McRae Interior Design, bedroom and bathroom; Lynne Coker Interiors, sitting room; Christine’s, bedroom and bathroom; Marjorie Johnston & Co., dining room; Marcia Unger Interiors, breakfast room; Cantley & Company, kitchen; Griffith Art Gallery, back hall; and Heather Chadduck Interiors, bedroom.
Outside, Summer Classics is providing seating at the front entry and around the pool on the terrace. Blackjack Gardens will create the Secret Garden area. Near the entrance will be a sculpture garden by Troy Rhone Garden Design.
The ShowHouse is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. It’s closed on Mondays.
Tickets are $15 until April 8. They’re available at www.eventbrite.com. You can also buy them through April 8 at several Birmingham-area stores. For a list, visit www.alabamasymphony.org.
After April 8, tickets will be $20 at the door.
There’s no parking at the house. A shuttle service will run from Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church, at 3405 Brookwood Road. The last shuttle leaves for the ShowHouse one hour before it closes each day.
In addition to touring the house and grounds, visitors can drop into the Symphony Shop, which features handmade items from Birmingham-area artisans, antiques and other items.
They also can eat lunch at the DSH Cafe, which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cafe Iz, Miss Dots, Ousler’s and Urban Cookhouse will take turns providing boxed lunches for $10. Desserts will be $3.
Visitors can pick up some design tips at several informative sessions.
“Our Decorator Seminars have been very popular, and we’re bringing them back this year,” Teninbaum said.
The seminars include “Wallpaper and Window Treatment” by James Pace from Rainbow Paint on April 12; “Styling a Room” by Lynne Coker on April 13 and 20; and “Properly Displaying Art and Collectibles” by Perry Umphrey on April 16. Bill Aroosian will lead two seminars, “Creating an Outdoor Room” on April 14 and “How to Design Your Bedroom Like a First-Class Hotel Room” on April 21. All seminars are at 1:30 p.m.
ShowHouse chairwomen are Cheree Carlton, Nancy Morrow and Shirley Brown.