Northeast Times

He lives in what?

Terry Vis­con­to resides in a former con­vent in Rhawn­hurst that was con­ver­ted in­to his fam­ily’s fu­ner­al home. The home will be fea­tured on the tele­vi­sion show ‘You Live in What?’

(In Terry’s second floor apart­ment) Terry Vis­con­to lives above the once-known con­vent at Re­sur­rec­tion of Our Lord. His fam­ily has turned the first floor of the con­vent in­to a fu­ner­al home. They will ap­pear on a TV show called “You Live in What?” Terry gives a tour of his house and talks about what kind of work he did to fix the build­ing up, Thursday, Janu­ary 31, 2013, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

Terry Vis­con­to was check­ing his cell phone’s voice­mail one day re­cently when he heard an es­pe­cially in­triguing mes­sage.

“I got a ran­dom voice­mail from some­body say­ing they were so and so from AMS pro­duc­tions,” he re­called.

AMS Pic­tures pro­duces pro­gram­ming for an HGTV cable tele­vi­sion net­work show called You Live in What?

The show was in­ter­ested in pro­fil­ing Vis­con­to and his res­id­ence — a fu­ner­al home that was pre­vi­ously a con­vent.

Vis­con­to lives at his fam­ily’s fu­ner­al home. The Vis­con­to Fu­ner­al Home is loc­ated at 2031 Vista St. in Rhawn­hurst, on the cam­pus of Re­sur­rec­tion of Our Lord Par­ish.

Sis­ters of St. Joseph nuns lived in a con­vent from 1966 to 2000. After that, the build­ing was used for meet­ings, stor­age, book sales and even a haunted house, but the par­ish could not af­ford to pay for util­ity bills and re­pairs.

The Rhawn­hurst Civic As­so­ci­ation sup­por­ted the de­cision by the Rev. Joseph Howarth, the church pas­tor, to sell the prop­erty to the Vis­con­tos in 2010, but only after school prin­cip­al Joan Stulz as­sured neigh­bors that stu­dents would be safe from traffic. The school is loc­ated on the same site as the fu­ner­al home.

Vis­con­to ac­cep­ted the of­fer from AMS so neigh­bors would be able to get a peek in­side, even if it is on their tele­vi­sion screens.

“It’s im­port­ant for the com­munity to see what we’ve done to the con­vent. We’ve made good use of it, like we said we would,” he said. “Everything’s worked per­fectly. We’ve made so many friends here. It’s a great neigh­bor­hood.”

As part of the TV show’s pro­cess, Vis­con­to sub­mit­ted pho­tos of the space when it was used as a con­vent, and the renov­a­tions that were made to turn it in­to  a fu­ner­al home. A four-per­son cam­era crew filmed him one day three weeks ago. His broth­ers Lou Jr. and Joe, sis­ter Jenna, three nieces and a neph­ew were also part of the film­ing. His par­ents, Lou and Terri, were out of town.

The show is tent­at­ively sched­uled to air in April.

“It’ll be neat,” Vis­con­to said. “People are curi­ous about what it looks like now.”

On You Live in What?, which de­b­uted as a one-hour spe­cial in early 2012, the show fea­tures people liv­ing in un­likely places, with a fo­cus on con­ver­sions that show­case vis­ion and ima­gin­a­tion.

The abodes fea­tured so far have in­cluded an ice cream fact­ory, a ra­dio sta­tion and a slaughter­house.

At the fu­ner­al home, there re­mains a sign across the top of the en­trance that reads, “Church of the Re­sur­rec­tion of Our Lord Sis­ters’ Res­id­ence.”

As Vis­con­to was be­ing filmed dur­ing the late morn­ing and early af­ter­noon of Jan. 31, the Re­sur­rec­tion stu­dents were en­joy­ing re­cess right out­side the fu­ner­al home/liv­ing space. Since there are no mid­day view­ings or fu­ner­al Masses, the kids can play safely in the school yard without dodging cars.

“It’s worked out really well,” Vis­con­to said.

The two-story struc­ture in­cludes a base­ment that houses, among oth­er things, Re­sur­rec­tion’s sea­son­al flowers.

Vis­con­to, 38, has a private en­trance and a couple of park­ing spaces ad­ja­cent to the school yard.

“You’d have no idea you’re even in a fu­ner­al home,” he said.

The liv­ing space is on the second floor. It in­cludes a mas­ter bed­room and bath­room that once be­longed to the Moth­er Su­per­i­or. There’s a liv­ing room, din­ing room, kit­chen, two spare bed­rooms, laun­dry room, of­fice and an­oth­er 1½ bath­rooms.

The fu­ner­al home is on the first floor. It fea­tures a large room for view­ings, along with a show room, din­ing room, liv­ing room, cof­fee room, coat room and re­mem­brance room in a former chapel.

“It’s a very sac­red place,” Vis­con­to said.

The fam­ily got a good deal on the build­ing, but needed to make a massive over­haul.

“It was a much big­ger pro­ject than we planned on, but we wanted to do it right,” Vis­con­to said.

Vis­con­to is not fazed by liv­ing in a fu­ner­al home.

“I’ve been around the busi­ness since I was five years old. It’s noth­ing to me,” he said.

Vis­con­to’s full-time job is vice pres­id­ent of op­er­a­tions for The ACI Group, a Bal­timore-based in­form­a­tion tech­no­logy staff­ing com­pany with a Phil­adelphia of­fice. He can work from an of­fice in Cen­ter City or at home.

After a view­ing, he can help put things back in or­der.

“I don’t have to go some­where nine-to-five every day, so it makes sense for me to be here. It’s good to have a Vis­con­to liv­ing here,” he said. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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