May 21, 2010

Symphony Showhouse Kicks Off This Weekend!

The ribbon at the entryway has been cut—and Symphony Showhouse 2010 opens this weekend, starting with a gala affair tonight, and public tours tomorrow and Sunday. These two newly constructed houses—dubbed the "Pops House" and the "Philharmonics House" and built by Ketmar Development Corporation—feature the work of 40 designers in 54 rooms and spaces, with each room reflecting a designer’s unique style.

Dani Palidor of Suite Artistry Interior Design is transforming the basement of the Philharmonics House into a full service suite cleverly disguised as a playroom for all ages as part of this year’s Showhouse. The multi-use space (see before, at left, and after, below) is split into several unique feature areas, the designs of each harmoniously blending together to create one unified look.

The design concept is based on a journey to Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland set to the musical styling of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. “The theme was selected because of the trans-generational appeal of both Alice in Wonderland and Rhapsody in Blue,” said Polidor. “Rhapsody in Blue was unanimously selected by all members of the entire design team as it spoke to each person in a different way.”

The greatest challenge for Polidor and her team is co-coordinating all the diverse specialists, materials, and personalities. “Everyone involved has a real passion for the project and there have been no daunting challenges that have not been overcome with a sense of humor and a smile,” she states. “The professionalism displayed by all participants is wonderful.”

Showhouse is not a new endeavor for Polidor as she also participated in the 2006 fundraiser. Polidor and her team believe strongly in supporting the arts. Note that all the participating designers have donated their services—and the proceeds benefit the RPO’s education program.

This event is also made possible by 500 volunteers, who have been on the committees planning the events, and will serve as ticket takers, room hosts, and docents giving guided tours. I attended the volunteer training Wednesday night and it was impressive to see all the volunteers and appreciate how much work has gone into making the behind-the-scenes logistics run smoothly. Kudos to Marilyn Merrigan, the RPO’s Manager of Special Events, and Showhouse Co-Chairs David Ackroyd, Pat Taylor, and Carole Avery Webster.

For tickets and more information—including details on all the various special events, from Chefs’ Nights to an evening of Wine & Jazz—visit

May 12, 2010

Debussy Inspires French-Themed Room at Symphony Showhouse

Susanna Kopp of Design Details is another veteran of RPO Symphony Showhouse, having also participated in the 2006 Green Lantern Inn and 2008 Ellwanger Estate events.

With a love for things of the past, Kopp started out earning a degree in Archaeology with an emphasis on Ancient Architecture. From there she found her way to Architecture/Design and actually re-designs vintage furniture with her Maison Fleur de Lis Vintage Furniture line.

“With this design philosophy and process in mind, I’ve launched my vintage furniture line, re-creating unloved pieces into unique treasures. To me it's a full circle; I am again bringing the past to the present.” noted Kopp.

Kopp will be recreating the mechanical room in the basement of the Philharmonics House. The room is a raw space with exposed ceiling rafters, bare stud, and cinderblock walls, with a concrete floor and an electrical panel box. It will be transformed for Showhouse using vintage accessories, architectural salvage, and a little magic.

The theme will be a vintage French art studio in Provence, featuring items from her hand-painted Vintage Furniture collection.

“The musical inspiration is ‘Les Fetes’ from Nocturnes by Claude Debussy. It is a lively and lyrical piece which mimics the scrolls, vines, and embellishments that I paint on my furniture. I was enticed to return to push myself as a designer by taking the space that no one else wanted ... to create something from nothing.”

Kopp works mostly with timeless neutrals of crème and matte black. “Occasionally I go on the wild side and use a ‘new neutral’ as in the 2010 Showhouse, such as French Blue, Sage, or Beige. I prefer my pieces to be classic and elegant, that way then can be enjoyed in any home for decades to come.”

Symphony Showhouse 2010 opens on May 22 and runs through June 13. This "duet of cottages" features two newly constructed homes at Thornell Road and Route 64 in Pittsford and built by Ketmar Development. More than 50 spaces will showcase the work of 40 area designers. There are public tours, as well as numerous special events. Use this link for more information.

May 5, 2010

Music from Carmina Burana Inspires a Laundry Room

Darcy Paddock of DK Design has participated in several past RPO Symphony Showhouse events, decorating three prior sitting rooms. (She’s also serving this year as co-chair of the design committee). She’s been drawn back by the mere fact of various designers coming together to raise funds for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

While Paddock’s life has been literally drenched in art and design since birth, her greatest challenge this year was finding a room theme to compliment the music selection, a highlight of this year’s Showhouse. Paddock will be designing the laundry room in the Philharmonics House and had this to say about her choices:

“I looked over the list of the music given to the participating designers to choose from and was immediately struck and lifted by the energy of Carmina Burana, a scenic cantata composed in 1935 by Carl Orff from a collection of 24 medieval poems with the same title. In the mid-1920s Orff began to formulate a concept he called elementare Musik, or elemental music, which was based on the unity of the arts symbolized by the ancient Greek Muses (who gave music its English name) and involved tone, dance, poetry, image, design, and theatrical gesture. I was especially taken by the piece titled, Oh Fortuna. This piece of music had motivated me during a difficult event in my life…let’s just say, it will get you to your feet! At the very least, to do the laundry!

“I really appreciate laundry rooms and believe that they are to women what garages and basements are to men. Okay, so it is a stretch to compare the modern amenities present in this sumptuous laundry room with how laundry or any work would have been done in the time this music refers to, but are we not still just as subject to the uncertainty of fate and fortune, and our shared human condition now, as we were then?

“Then the question came of how to relate it to the interior design of a laundry room. Red for the walls seemed to best express the energy of the music but not a bright busy red; instead, a deep grounding red, barn-like because this music is set in the lives of simple people. The black and off-white fabric on the window depicting the life of early farming—complete with a woman chasing a man with an old wooden pitch fork—helps express a part of the mood and theme of the music. The blacks and off-whites against the red help maximize visual strength and contrast.

“But in the midst of all this there is a pleasant place to sit on a stool near a window and tend to whatever quiet work is at hand.”

Paddock has certainly made the chore of laundry appear more like another form of art!

Symphony Showhouse 2010 opens on May 22 and runs through June 13. This "duet of cottages" features two newly constructed homes at Thornell Road and Route 64 in Pittsford and built by Ketmar Development. More than 50 spaces will showcase the work of 40 area designers. There are public tours, as well as numerous special events. Use this link for more information.