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South Side house tour will feature champagne and candlelight on Friday night


The Historic South Side House Tour, in its 12th year, will take place Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26. For an inside look at life in the South Side, plan to attend one or both of the tours.

Back by popular demand, the Friday Champagne and Candlelight Tour will feature six homes and buildings and a post-tour reception at Big House Studios, a hidden gem of Pittsburgh. Upon entering Big House Studios (it got its name because local legend has it that a part of the building was once a holding cell), guests will find a grand stone fireplace, a billiards table, and brown leather furniture.

A commercial kitchen used during photo shoots is to the left. Small rooms throughout the building feature hardwood floors, a collection of antique furniture, exposed brick walls, and a giant concrete table - the latest trend in surfaces for tables and countertops.

Guests will begin the evening in the US Steel Corporation parking lot (13th & Muriel Streets), where they will board vehicles to begin their tours. Six groups will travel to the six tour sites. At the first site, each group will share in a champagne toast and enjoy hors d'oeuvres from local restaurants.

Highlights of this tour include:

• Candle-lit chandelier at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church. Transferred from the parish's first church (613 East Carson Street) and lighted only a few times a year, this 32-candle chandelier is believed to be one of the only non-electrified chandeliers in use in a Byzantine church in the United States. The church also features a wood carved icon screen from the first church building and an elaborate ceiling mural that depicts the church's history.

• Model unit of The Flats at South Side Works. This model unit (built inside an upper floor of the Goodwill Building) features earth tones and Euro-style décor that will be found in the urban living units being built at South Side Works, a mixed use development that will include first floor retail and office space, and upper floor living spaces.

• Other homes on the tour include a Victorian style home with candles and chandeliers in its first floor parlor and dining room, loft housing, and historic homes.

Entertainment at the post-reception by Tim and Elise, a guitar and flute duo.

Champagne and Candlelight Tour tickets should be purchased by April 15 at the SSLDC office for $60 per person.

Saturday's tour will feature nine historic and renovated South Side homes and a presentation by interior designer Nancy Barsotti, who was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal. Tickets are $12 in advance, and $15 the day of the tour.

Interior designer Nancy Barsotti was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for her house “fluffings” (changing the look of a room using only items the homeowner already owns). As part of this year's tour, she will share decorating tips and show “before and after” photos of one of this year's tour homes, in which she recently revamped the home's library. Barsotti will speak from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Lithuanian Hall, 1721 Jane Street.

For an additional $10, tourgoers can experience a traditional South Side meal at the Brashear Association, 2005 Sarah Street, where the South Side Community Council is serving its ethnic lunch. The lunch includes a sampling of homemade haluski, halupki, pierogi, keilbasa, dessert and more. Lunch tickets can be ordered in advance by calling (412) 381-2094. A limited number of lunch tickets may be available for purchase on the day of the event.

Complimentary parking is available on a first come, first served basis at 21st and Josephine Streets, courtesy of UPMC South Side. The tour will be held rain or shine; tickets are non-refundable. Children under 12-years-old are not permitted in the tour homes.

Tickets can be picked up on the day of the tour at two ticket counters: South Side Carnegie Library, 2205 E. Carson Street or UPMC South Side, 2000 Mary Street. For tickets and more information, call (412) 481-8105.

The 2003 Historic South Side House Tour is an event of the South Side Local Development Company, a community based non-profit corporation whose purpose is to promote the economic revitalization and historic preservation of Pittsburgh's South Side.

Sponsors of the 2003 House Tour are Soffer Organization, UPMC South Side, Mistick Construction Company, Dollar Bank, Big House Studios, and T/C Unlimited.


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