Organizers cancel show house event


Planners of the annual Ellicott City Decorators Showhouse have canceled this year's event because of delays in finding the right house and enough decorators.

But the cancellation won't mean the end of the show houses, according to Gerald F. Talbert, president of Historic Ellicott City Inc.

"We have plans for one next year," he said, but added: "We can't announce where it is exactly."

Organizers looked for six months but were unable to find a house that had the right number of rooms and an adequate number of parking spaces for the ninth annual show house.

When they found one -- a 20-room historic house on Old Columbia Pike -- only 18 decorators signed up to design the rooms. Mr. Talbert said 25 decorators were needed.

"Because of hard economic times, it's tough for decorators to go in and put money out," Mr. Talbert said. "They spend thousands sometimes. It's a big investment."

The show house raises from $20,000 to $25,000 each year for the organization, which uses the money to restore historic buildings. This year, the organization is working on a project with the B&O; Museum.

Instead of the show house, the organization will raise money byselling a book written by an Ellicott descendant about her family.

If the fund-raising expectations fall short, it could mean a delay in the project, Mr. Talbert said.

Over the years, the organization's show house fund raiser has drawn thousands of people from Baltimore and surrounding counties.

Bus tours from as far away as New Jersey and Pennsylvania came to visit the houses.

"Ellicott City is a small place, and the chances of finding the perfect house year after year works against you," he said.

The right house is a place that doesn't need extensive repairs, a place where owners are willing to leave for two months, Mr. Talbert said.

"Usually somebody's living in there and it's entirely too disruptive for them to move out," he said. "Other houses have been on sale, which is perfect because it's good advertisement for them."

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