Want to make a free call to a friend in New Zealand or Macao? Or learn how to install those storm windows sitting there in boxes down in the basement? Or how to make your patio or deck habitable in July? If these or any number of other home improvements sound appealing, then next weekend's Baltimore Home Show may be the place for you.
The 10th edition of this perennial center city attraction moves into Festival Hall downtown Friday for a three-day stand. Between 20,000 and 25,000 visitors are expected to attend. About 250 booths and nearly that many exhibiting firms and services will be shown when the show opens its doors Friday at 9 a.m. "The main feature this year will be new kitchen and bath designs, with the emphasis on kitchens," says Jay Plummer of S&L Productions of Severn, coordinator of the show.
One of the exhibitors, H. Greenbaum & Associates, plans to introduce at the show a new substance called Durallure, a breakthrough in solid surface counter tops, which reportedly costs one-third as much as custom surfaces now on the market.
"It gives the little guy a chance to take advantage of solid service counter tops, which have been cost-prohibitive until now," says Erlene Gauldin, general manager of H. Greenbaum. The new counter tops are manufactured by VT Industries of Rome, Ga.
At least 10 other companies will be presenting multiple vignettes and room setups to showcase their newest products.
Among the new technologies to be unveiled will be a coating process for bathroom tubs and tile that "requires no acid-based etching," according to Raymond Andrathy, president of the Alladin Tub & Tile Refinishing, Inc. Light, retractable, acrylic sunshades -- responsive to the touch of a button -- will be the feature of the display of Timonium's Better Living Patio Rooms of Maryland. These have been specifically designed to cut out glare and heat on Maryland's blossoming sun decks.
"People spend thousands of dollars build-ing a beautiful deck. Then there are so many days they can't use the deck because of the strong sun," says Carl Russo of the exhibiting firm. He adds that lateral arm retractable awnings of this type have been popular in Europe for many years, but are relatively new to the U.S. homeowner. In contrast to heavy canvas and steel systems sold a generation ago, the new roller systems employ light-weight aluminum alloys.
Other surprises in this edition of the home show will be a world-wide phone line. It will let visitors have a free, five-minute phone call to friends or relatives "anywhere in the world." MCI Telecommunications is the sponsor of the unusual phone booth exhibit.
One of the lighter features will be something called "Baltimore's Best Couch Potato Contest," sponsored by Gardiner's Furniture stores and WMIX-FM. A great hit at last year's show, the contest is being held once again this year in response to popular demand. Show visitors are invited to submit photos of themselves, friends, family members or even pets on the couch of their choice for the honor of winning the title, "Baltimore's Best Couch Potato."
The owner of the prize-winning photo will win a $2,000 couch.
A major note in the fun division will be provided by Antique Amusements Ltd. which will show off a variety of new-old nostalgia items from pre-World War II days like juke boxes, neon clocks, pinball and slot machines. A series of free, do-it-yourself seminars sponsored by Hechinger's will be staged during the three days of the show. On Friday the schedule will include installation of storm doors at 7 p.m. and storm windows at 8:30 p.m.
The Saturday line-up includes a demonstration of skylights at 1 p.m., ceramic tiles at 3 p.m., vinyl floor tiles at 4 p.m., toilets at 7 p.m. and sinks and facuets at 8:30 p.m.
On the last day, Sunday, a spectator show will be held on installing ceiling fans at 1 p.m.; kitchen planning and design at 3 p.m. and bath planning and design at 4 p.m.
The Festival Hall entrance is on Camden Street between Howard and Sharp streets next to the Baltimore Convention Center. Home show hours are Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children 6 to 12 years of age. Under 6, children are admitted free. Seniors are admitted for $3.50 on Friday. The show's information line is 969-8585.