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Rockville Centre house tour raises funds for three charities

This house in Rockville Centre is one of

This house in Rockville Centre is one of four to be on display during the second annual Homes of Distinction Tour, a fundraiser for three charities supported by the Rockville Centre St. Patrick's Day Parade. Photo Credit: Sound Harbor Development / Keith Mazzei

From the detailed moldings of a 1930 Tudor to gold foil-enhanced tray ceilings in a renovated and expanded French Normandy-style home, a variety of styles and décor will be on display April 30 in Rockville Centre.

The second annual Homes of Distinction Tour, a fundraiser for three charities supported by the Rockville Centre St. Patrick’s Day Parade, will showcase the work of local interior designers Keith Mazzei along with Ellen Baker of Elle Baker Interiors, as well as builder Gerard Lavelle of Sound Harbor Development.

Four homes will be open to ticket holders on the self-guided tour, organized by the Designers + Builders Alliance of Long Island, a home trade group. The tour will conclude with a reception at the Phillips House Museum, 28 Hempstead Ave., with appearances by George Oliphant, host of NBC’s “George to the Rescue” and honorary chairman of the Designers + Builders Alliance, and tour chairwoman Barbara L. Dixon, founding editor-in-chief of Elle Decor.

“The homes on the tour are all completely different,” says Suzanne Sokolov, the alliance’s executive director.


The 1930 Tudor on the tour is interior designer Ellen Baker’s own home, and it is also where her design studio is based. While Baker updated the kitchen and bathrooms, she kept many of the home’s antique touches, including the detailed plasterwork on the ceiling and the planked and pegged oak floors.

“I kept that Old World look with a little bit of a twist,” Baker says.

Baker decorated her living room in crimson and gold, with drapes from Kravet Couture. Her dining room features a sparkling Schonbek chandelier and her kitchen includes a steamer and pasta maker built into an island.


Ellen Baker of Elle Baker Interiors also helped stage a center-hall Colonial renovated by Lavelle, whose company is based in Rockville Centre.

The home features custom millwork and built-ins, as well as coffered ceilings. One of the highlights is a covered porch off the living room with a gas fireplace and flat-screen TV.

The kitchen has a large serving area with a wine refrigerator and ice maker, and it’s accented by white Ikat wallpaper.


Interior designer Keith Mazzei, who is based in Syosset, brought traditional décor to this brick home, which features a dome with a copper leaf finish.

Other details in the home, decorated with contemporary artwork, include a staircase with a silk-and-wool carpet and wrought iron railing and a Swarovski crystal chandelier that hangs from the hand-painted ceiling in the living room/lounge, which also has a quartz-topped bar.

The home’s kitchen features a porcelain floor with a crushed-glass border surrounding the island. On the lower level are a 12-person steamroom and a home theater with leather seats and velvet drapes.


This 8,000-square-foot home, which recalls the residences that dot the Normandy countryside, was renovated and expanded by Lavelle and decorated by Keith Mazzei.

The home features a barrel-vaulted brick ceiling in the great room and a gold foil-enhanced tray ceiling in the foyer. There is also a powder room faux-painted by Massapequa-based decorative artist Arlene Mcloughlin, who also applied amber beads. The lower level, with 15-foot ceilings, has a basketball court and playroom.

Instead of a formal living room, the main floor features a casual game room with a pool table and bar, accented by a green coffered ceiling and stained-glass windows.

“The homeowner really wanted to keep some of the original beauty of the home,” Mazzei says. “Instead of going really modern, we updated a classic home.”

WHAT The Designers + Builders Alliance of Long Island is organizing its second annual home tour, a benefit for The Tommy Brull Foundation, the Children’s Tumor Foundation and the Ballinasloe Eagles, three charities supported by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade of Rockville Centre.

WHEN | WHERE 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in Rockville Centre

INFO Admission is $45, or $20 for groups of 10 or more, students and Designers + Builders Alliance of Long Island members; tickets can be purchased at or The Giftologist, 37 S. Park Ave., and must be picked up at The Giftologist prior to the tour, where attendees will get directions and can walk or drive; 516-499-8110.

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