SOTA's 2016 Show House reflects Allentown's downtown renaissance



February 9, 2016

SOTA’s 2016 Show House reflects the renaissance of downtown Allentown
The Moyer-Metzger Manse: A Portrait of Revival

ALLENTOWN, PA – Every two years, the Society of the Arts (SOTA) mounts a unique fundraiser to benefit the Allentown Art Museum: it canvasses the Lehigh Valley and selects a local home to transform into a designer’s dream of a Show House. SOTA’s 2016 project, opening to the public in April, is the former Metzger Photography Studio on Hamilton Street, and part of downtown Allentown’s original Mansion Row. It has been claimed as a single-family home by its current owners, Mar Haeussler and John Clarry, recent transplants to the city, who are committed to restoring the home to its former glory. With the help of SOTA and top area interior designers and landscapers recruited to participate in the project, the home will once again become a gracious mansion. Mar says, “We want this to be our ‘forever’ home so we can host our grown children over holidays and entertain our friends.” The SOTA Show House will be open to the public from April 30 to May 22, 2016.

The Shingle-style house was designed by New York architect E. S. Child and built in 1903 for the Charles Moyer family. During the 1940s the house changed hands and became the Metzger Photography Studio, well known to longtime Lehigh Valley residents. More recently, the house had been used as a private school. When Mar and John looked it over, they realized that it needed a great deal of work but were impressed that many architectural details remained intact, including French and pocket doors, stained glass windows, built-in window seating and a grand staircase.

Co-chair of this SOTA event, Jill Weinhold, says, “We are thrilled to have the ‘Moyer-Metzger Manse,’ as we’re calling it, as our Show House for 2016. It fits perfectly with what is happening in downtown Allentown and the city’s amazing revival.” Val Johnson, Jill’s Co-chair, adds, “There will be many opportunities to tour the home – both independently and with guided tours – and to participate in special events to complement the experience.” This year, there are also a number of new interior designers and landscapers who are participating for the first time.

Mar and John’s vision for the home is one of restoration and maintenance of the original spirit of the house while at the same time keeping it comfortable for their lifestyle. Mar says, “We love the house and its great location. Where else in Allentown can you live in such a beautiful place within walking distance of the library, the new arena, the Museum, the symphony, and all these terrific restaurants?”

Tickets to the Show House are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Advance tickets are available for purchase on SOTA’s website ( or at select locations around the Lehigh Valley, including the Art Museum, C. Leslie Smith in the Shops at Cedar Point, the Moravian Book Shop in both Allentown and Bethlehem locations, Peeps & Company at the Promenade Shops, and Phoebe Floral Shop in Allentown.

In addition to the Show House, there will be a Sneak Peek Party at the Renaissance Allentown Hotel to celebrate the opening on April 28, 2016, 6-9 p.m. It will include food, drink, music and a raffle. Tickets for this event are $75 and available through the SOTA website.

“The Show House fundraiser shows off the strengths of SOTA: their creativity, their energy, their commitment to artful elegance and excellence,” says Chris Potash, manager of marketing for the Allentown Art Museum. “We’re thankful for their good taste and their hard work on behalf of the Museum.”

Proceeds from the Show House support the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, a nonprofit organization that participates in the cultural, educational, and economic life of the Lehigh Valley. Defined by a unique combination of tradition and innovation, the Museum’s collections, educational partnerships, and collaborative and community-based programs and exhibitions are dedicated to inspiring the broadest possible public engagement, access, and service. For more information please visit

Miria Ioannou, Co-chair, Show House Publicity
miria [dot] ioannou [at] gmail [dot] com

Priti Merchant, Co-chair, Show House Publicity
pritismerchant [at] gmail [dot] com

Chris Potash, Manager of Marketing and Public Relations, Allentown Art Museum
cpotash [at] allentownartmuseum [dot] org
610-432-4333 ext 125