"I can't tell you the number of hours it took and the amount of money I spent on the beads. It was crazy, but I wanted the room to be unique.

"Still, it's wonderful experience, working with so much talent in the house."

Inspiration never seems to be a problem.

For Towson desiger Liz Dickson, of Millbrook Circle Interior Design, who took on the library, it was the large ottoman upholstered in turquoise blue and soft green medallions, which she surrounded with four chairs. 

"I  loved the fabric the minute I saw it,"  she said. "I  built the whole room around it, mixing the very traditional architectural details and lines of the room with the fresh splash of color and pattern. I think the design and color combination is happy and fun."

All four members of the design team from Alexander Blank Fabrics and Design in Timonium fell in love with a textured floral linen with graphic lines that "almost resembles a painting," said Marietta Ries, who teamed up with Judi Bradshaw, Kathy Fine and Jessica Cunningham to create the master bedroom and dressing room.

"The colors are gorgeous," Ries said.

The Baltimore Symphony Associates have a search committee, but for the most part people call or offer to donate their houses for the duration of the project, as Legend Hill owners did, Stadfeld said. "We have to turn down many. The house has to be able to accommodate large crowds of people."

As much as the symphony associates treasure older houses, they can be problematic. Last year, they discovered the supports under the porch of the Eck house in Cromwell Valley Park had rotted away, and the dubious condition of a show house in Reisterstown was discovered when a designer leaned her  hand against a wall and her hand went through it.

And, older homes often feature sloping floors and window frames that require extensive adjustments. "It's the art of illusion," Ries said. "You have to tweak it on site."

The days leading up to the preview of a show house are "a mad crunch," said Dickson. "If they hadn't cut us off last year, we'd still be there accessorizing."

Not to worry, Ries said. "We've done this so many times; we'll get it done. Everything will be fixed.

"Everything will be in its perfect place by opening day."

Tickets are $30 at the door, $25 in advance (They can be purchased at  BSO Box Office or retail outlets such as Graul's Markets, Budeke's Paint Stores and Watson's Garden Center or through 410-783-8000 or BSOmusic.org.) Parking is at Timonium Presbyterian Church, 303 W. Timonium Road, with free shuttle service provided. Show house hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m-8 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m. For further information, call 410-560-5604 or 410-783-8023 or email Associates@BSOmusic.com .