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Designers Take Over Symphony Showhouse 2006

Rochester, NY – Thirty-five area designers have taken over the historic 130 year-old Deland House at One East Church Street in Fairport, and will transform it into the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s Symphony Showhouse 2006 by a May 28th deadline. The RPO fundraiser will open to the public on Friday, June 2 for three weeks of public and private tours, as well as more than a dozen special events that include murder mysteries, chef’s nights and mini concerts.

Over the next 20 days, designers will transform more than 30 spaces in the 1875 landmark – better known as The Green Lantern Inn – that include a former speakeasy in the third floor loft, and a ‘widow’s walk’ said to be haunted by the ghost of its first owner, wealthy Fairport industrialist Henry Deland.

“The house has such great bones that the designers are really excited,” says Showhouse committee co-chair, Anne Selgas. Considered the best local example of French Second Empire architecture, the house is also on the National Register of Historic Homes. “So many people have told us that, while they’ve been in the banquet rooms, they’ve never seen the inside of the house and have always wondered what it’s like.”

The home’s new owners, Matthew and Stephanie Laurence (and their six month-old daughter, Maren), have temporarily moved out during the makeover. A Fairport native whose parents still live in the village, Matthew has returned to his home town as an accomplished chef. He and his wife plan to continue operating The Green Lantern Inn as a banquet facility, eventually creating a restaurant as well.

“We’ve lived in large cities for 10 years, so returning to small-town life was very attractive,” explains Matt. “We think The Green Lantern Inn has lots of potential as a business and as a house.”

While the designers realize the house’s potential, the Laurences will take care of all Showhouse catering, from special events to the Maestro Bistro. “Aside from ending up with a beautiful place to live, I’m hoping to impress the 7,000 or so people who will tour Symphony Showhouse 2006,” adds Matt.

The all-volunteer Showhouse committee plans to raise more than $109,000 for the RPO’s education programs through tours and special events through Sunday, June 25. This is the fourth biennial Showhouse, the first two of which were new-builds by Ketmar Development Corporation, while 2004’s venue was the historic Perkins Mansion on East Avenue.

Highlighting this year’s Showhouse opening weekend will be Symphony on the Erie, a first-ever historic event featuring the RPO in concert directed by Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik aboard a floating New York State canal barge. Internationally renowned painter, Eric Waugh – the Guinness Book of World Records’ holder for the largest painting on canvas by a single artist – will paint the concert as it happens. The free event will take place in Fairport on Sunday, June 4 at 3 p.m. during the village’s Canal Days festival, which draws approximately 200,000 people annually. Waugh’s finished 8-by-5-foot painting will be displayed in the Showhouse, with proceeds from its raffle and sales of reproduction prints benefiting the orchestra’s education programs.

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