Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

House of Note: Beauty awaits the discerning eye at Lindenwood.

Screenshot 2015-04-29 00.53.44Close your eyes and imagine this: a master bedroom beyond your wildest dreams staged with a showstopper brass bed, silky shag rugs, linen-covered dressers and walls like purple onyx. Vintage blends with the new, the masculine with the glamorous.

Step outside—a sculpture garden, a flower-shaped birdbath, a 7-foot high red poppy—all combining art and nature.

At Lindenwood, Harrisburg Symphony Society’s Showhouse & Gardens 2015, you can view this transformation of a property dating back to the 1700s. The Symphony Society has been doing the Showhouse every three years, beginning with the Ashcombe house, since 1997. The much-anticipated house tour is a fundraiser to support the activities of the Harrisburg Symphony.

Karen Viscito of Karen Viscito Interiors in Mechanicsburg was in charge of redecorating the second-floor sun porch, along with that magnificent master bedroom, using her imagination to create another reality.

“I imagine my ‘client’ is a well-traveled gentleman who has been collecting items from all corners of the globe,” she says. “This is the space where he surrounds himself with all of his treasures.”

In fact, “treasures” will be everywhere as each outdoor and indoor room comes alive under the care and creativity of more than 30 talented designers using anything from stunning Japanese maples and bubbling water fountains on the outside to unique painting techniques and an antique Steinway piano on the inside.

“Lindenwood is a wonderful historic estate with many mature and natural plantings,” says landscape designer Michael D. Lehman of Mechanicsburg. “A stroll through these gardens will be both inspiring and relaxing.”

Phyllis Mooney, a co-chair for the event, attributes Lehman’s “wonderful vision” of Lindenwood’s outside design spaces for the splendor visitors will first see when they pull up the tree-lined drive.

“Michael Lehman has worked with us to choose the outdoor areas to be re-done and has helped to contact the designers,” Mooney says. “He also designs beautiful metal sculptures that will enhance any outdoor space.”

Fine and decorative artist Julie Riker of Camp Hill chose a charming, third-floor attic space with sloped ceilings and beautiful natural light for her Lindenwood “canvas.” Riker will transform the space into an artist’s studio—a decision that was quite personal yet felt so right.

“I liked that the wood floors in the room were already in very bad shape,” she says. “The plan was to carpet them, but I was able to postpone that until after the showhouse so that I could paint the floors and do some artistic ‘splattering’ suitable for an artistic space.”

Riker’s vision was one of combining the romantic with the rustic. The furnishings are a mix of primitive antiques and pieces she will paint and “age” to appear old and worn. Vintage art supplies and other objects of Riker’s inspiration will form the decorations, and she’ll have her own personal oil paintings on display in the room.

“I plan to, on occasion, do some painting in the room from a still life setup, so visitors may catch me working there,” she adds.

Riker also created a painting of the Lindenwood house and the tree-lined drive, an effort that Caren Schein, another event co-chair, calls “perfect.”

“She captures the mystery of the house at the end of the drive—not quite visible and making us all yearn to follow the drive up to the house and find out what is inside,” Schein says. “The faux painting on the wall of her room has made the room come alive, and I can’t wait to see how she will continue to transform her room into an artist’s studio.”

The Harrisburg Symphony Society Showhouse & Gardens has been called “a labor of love” by those involved. Indeed, it brings together many groups and individuals from the community to help raise funds and awareness for Harrisburg’s own symphony orchestra.

“My favorite parts of this year’s showhouse were working with two amazing co-chairs and our committees for about 1 1/2 years to finally see the work that is being done, then our successful empty house tour,” says Debra Yates, the third event co-chair. “Then seeing the house come alive with the designers, electricians, plumbers and all types of landscapers and master gardeners, who came together towards making the dream a reality.”

Harrisburg Symphony Society Showhouse & Gardens runs May 22 to June 14 at Lindenwood, 210 E. Lisburn Rd., Mechanicsburg. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call 717-612-4970. Tickets are $18 pre-sale and $20 once the Showhouse opens. 

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