Decorator Show Houses are a labor of love, continues into 2021. Again, under different circumstances, the 2021 Ellicott City Decorator Show House would host its grand opening on Thursday evening September 23rd, and on Saturday, September 25th, open its doors for opening day.
This year, there is the same silence as in 2020 with hopes for a return in 2022. HEC is actively searching for the right house. On a more positive note, HEC did host a series related to the show house, that began in March. You may review the details on the Events page of this website. I will present my version of a Victorian parlor, located in Elkridge, Maryland in August. Look for updates in a July blog post.
In the meantime, here are images of the exterior, and interior BEFORE images at HEC’s 2018 Decorator Show House in Woodbine, MD in which I did not participate.
This 1907 Victorian farm house is listed on the on the Howard County Historic Sites Inventory of the Maryland Historical Trust, and known as “Wilderness Farm,” features eclectic architecture, and combines elements of the Victorian, Shingle, Queen Anne and Neo-Classical Revival styles.
The level one floor plan, provided by HEC reveals the octagonal shape of two rooms. I liked the layout of the first floor because I favour balanced symmetry in architecture and furnishing arrangements. It just feels right in most cases. However, asymmetry also works well and it depends on the room and selected elements.
After I toured the entire house, I settled on the dining room based on the shape, and the richness of the interior architecture. The octagonal shape of the room was a nice change from squares and rectangles. However, after a second site visit and some discussions with the design chair, and one of my contractor teams, I realized that the work and expense involved in bringing the room around to my standard, could have been substantial. “What would I do?”
This room had, and still has great potential. Note the classical elements in the fireplace surround, and the paneled dado. Can you see the potential?
This view looks toward the small hallway and into the living room on the other side. I would liked to have seen a smaller mirror, more in scale with the distance between the dado and the ceiling, and I noted that the junction box location for the surface-mounted luminaire was not quite right. Further, the moulding at the ceiling line looked thin compared to the robust profile and height of the dado, but was typical in some of these farm houses; time for some research. I knew that the wall sconces will definitely change and fortunately the locations were pre-wired. It is interesting how something as simple a different wall sconce can completely change the feeling in a room.
In the second and third images above, you can see the existing condition of the plaster ceiling. Repairs like these are usually at the designer’s or decorator’s expense, unless the owner agrees to handle some of it. When I designed the library at HEC’s 2016 show house, “Avoca,” I contracted with a team from the Eastern Shore to complete extensive plaster repairs. It was an excellent learning opportunity, however I did not feel the need to repeat it.
The construction was much more involved than I realized, because when you begin working with old plaster and paint, you never know what lies underneath the flaking and rough spots on the surface. DYI renovators be aware!
Based on all things considered, I passed on this one and looked forward to 2019, “Bell Vue At The Chase,” which turned out to be another amazing journey. In addition, the property was much farther from my Washington DC base location than the previous properties. In lieu of a 2018 show house room for Rhonald Angelo Interiors, I decided after returning to my design studio, to create a design concept for that dining room; it just spoke to me! I am using the term “concept,” because the show house did take place, and HEC awarded the dining room to another participant.
In my virtual concept of this room, I will maintain the overall feel of the room and house, but with some surprises in the decoration aspects. One view will appear in my online portfolio at Rhonald Angelo Interiors soon. I sincerely hope that 2022 marks the return of HEC’s live decorator show house, and I look forward to seeing all of you in person either again, or meeting you for the first time.