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Touring show houses along the Gold Coast

The Design Show House 2010 at the Winter

The Design Show House 2010 at the Winter Cottage at the Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve in Lloyd Harbor. Credit: Ed Betz

Looking for ideas to make your home more stylish? This fall, there will be plenty of opportunities when three decorator show houses, all raising money for charity, open on the Gold Coast.

Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you explore these homes and gardens - and bring something to write with, as die-hard design devotees often do. "They're taking notes on drapery treatments, the color scheme, how the art is hung on the wall," says Arlene Travis, who has been producing show houses on Long Island for 39 years.

Design Show House 2010

WHEN Sept. 4 to Oct. 17

WHERE This is the first show house to be held at the Winter Cottage at the Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, 25 Lloyd Neck Rd., Lloyd Harbor. The country English-style house is where department store heir Marshall Field III and his family lived as they awaited the completion of the main house.

THEME None, says Huntington interior designer Claudia Dowling, producer. "We want the designers to have freedom to express their own creativity while keeping the historic quality of the house in mind," she says. "So most of the rooms will be either be transitional or traditional."

SNEAK PEEK Huntington-based artist Daniel Del Orfano is painting a sepia-tone mural titled "Allegory of a Man" in the foyer.

HOURS 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day

PRICE $20 on weekends, $18 during week, $15 for senior citizens, free for children 8 and under; state parking fee of $8 on weekends without Empire Pass

INFO No strollers; 631-421-5290,

Home for the Holidays at Orchard Hill

WHEN Oct. 30 to Dec. 12

WHERE This is the second show house at Orchard Hill at Old Westbury Gardens, 71 Old Westbury Rd. The 1856 farmhouse was the former home of Peggie Phipps Boegner, who was the primary force in the founding of the Gardens and lived there from 1930 until her death in 2006.

THEME Holiday themes, from a Swedish Christmas to the winter solstice to "The Nutcracker"

SNEAK PEAK Oyster Bay's diSalvo Interiors will tackle the breakfast room - and name it "Christmas (Breakfast at Tiffany's)." "I can hardly wait to see what Holly Golightly gets in her stocking," says Tony Manning, producer.

PRICE $25; $20 in advance; $15 for Gardens' members

INFO 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Thanksgiving); no children under 12 (other than babies in arms), strollers or pets; 516-333-0048 

The Many Faces of Mill Neck Manor

WHERE This is the second show house at the Tudor Revival mansion originally known as Sefton Manor, located at Mill Neck Manor campus at 40 Frost Mill Rd.

WHEN Nov. 2 to Dec. 12

THEME "We're showing how yesterday's architecture is compatible with today's lifestyle," says Travis, producer. After Thanksgiving, the rooms will be adorned with holiday embellishments.

SNEAK PEEK The show house is a benefit to raise funds for the Mill Neck Manor Early Childhood Center, whose work includes helping 3- and 4-year-olds with special communication needs. So it's appropriate that one room will feature decor inspired by the puzzle - a symbol for autism.

PRICE $30, $28 for senior citizens, $7 ages 12 and under, $26 for groups of 20

INFO 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; 516-628-4233,

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