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Last call for Eden

This weekend is your last opportunity to visit the designer showhouse sponsored by the Florida Orchestra Guild/Tampa at "Villa Eden," the oldest house in the Hyde Park section of Tampa.

The Italianate mansion, built in 1879 overlooking Hillsborough Bay, has undergone extensive updating: new wiring, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning. Boarded-up windows, enclosed porches and dropped ceilings have been restored to their original condition. Designers have furnished and decorated the rooms, foyer and hallways.

The showhouse is at 850 S Newport Ave. It is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Sunday. Tickets are $10 at the door. For information, call 251-3195.

In a kitchen that is more windows than walls, designer Sheryl Weinberg of Blue Art Design in Tampa used two islands to create storage and work space. One offers an eating area; the other holds a farm sink with apron front. The KitchenAid refrigerator and wine cooler are set into the stair wall. The cooktop is indented into a furniture-style china cabinet by Rutt. Weinberg added new glass shades to the house's original lighting fixtures.

A gilded harp made in London between 1795 and 1810, on loan from the Henry B. Plant Museum, is the focal point of a music room by Linnae Carlson of Linnae Carlson Design Services in Tampa. With it is an eclectic mix of furniture and accessories: a 19th century Biedermeier secretary, contemporary art by Roy Lichtenstein, Peter Max and Andy Warhol, and walls covered in acoustic panels or handcrafted gold metallic paper.

Trompe l'oeil ceilings and walls are the hallmarks of the foyer, by T. Jon Behr Jr. of Jon Behr Interior Design in Brandon. Beyond, the tobacco-brown walls and silver-leafed ceiling of the drawing room, by Franco Pasquale of Mondial Interior Designs, evoke a glamorous New York apartment of the 1930s.

"Villa Eden," the oldest house in Hyde Park, was built in 1879 of "artificial stone," molded by hand on the site from lime, cement, sand and shells. The exterior walls incorporate decorative stones with rosebuds, hearts and shields.

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