LEWISTON – Sharing is a common theme for the annual Tour of Kitchens and Homes – sharing food, sharing a decorator’s touch and sharing beautiful homes.
Visitors are invited to join the tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 7 and 8.
Tickets are $27 per person and can be purchased in advance until 7 p.m. June 6, either online at www.TourofKitchens.net or at all Wegmans; DiCamillo Bakery, 535 Center St.; and Village Bake Shoppe, 417 Center St. Homes are in both Lewiston and Youngstown.
Proceeds benefit the Historical Association of Lewiston and the Town of Porter Historical Society.
Each of the six homes on the tour will feature signature sample dishes prepared by chefs from local restaurants. The homes also are paired with decorators who will prepare several tablescapes – an artful way to set up tables, which can provide visitors ideas for their own dinner parties. Local landscapers also are sharing some of their expertise outside of the homes.
Homeowners Greg and Judy Gima, who moved into Lewiston a little over a year ago, are excited to share their home with visitors. The home, nestled at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment, features a showpiece living room with 22-foot ceilings and 17-foot windows that draw all eyes to a waterfall trickling down the embankment behind the house.
A bright and sunny brunch tablescape done by Sterling Decor, sisters Lisa Rizzo and Lori Presti, invites visitors to imagine sitting down to enjoy the view in the Gimas’ recently added morning room with window seating.
Greg Gima, an avid gardener and former resident of East Amherst, said he was drawn to the home’s possibilities and put in the waterfall with help from A-1 Landcare’s Drew Langston, who designed and built it.
Gima, who is DuPont’s contracting manufacturing manager for North America, said he and his wife, a nurse at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, spent the past year painting and redecorating the house together.
“We had absolutely no intention of moving,” Gima said. “But I was bored and online looking at real estate ... and I saw this. It’s just a great place. I’m a gardener, and I fell in love with it at first sight.”
Gima said that after they moved to Lewiston, they went to their first Tour of Kitchens and wanted to be part of it.
“I really thought it would be fun and a great way to meet people from Lewiston – and we have. It’s a cool way to be part of the community and be involved,” he said. “And when you know you are going to have a couple thousand people trekking through your home, it really makes you stick to the schedule,” he said of the updates he and his wife have done.
Presti, who works for the New York Power Authority, and Rizzo, a justice clerk for the Lewiston Police Department work part time as decorators. They said they had decorated and designed for friends and families but were able to grow into a business through their affiliation with the Lewiston Tour of Homes, which is held in December, and the Tour of Homes and Kitchens.
“This is a fabulous palette for us to work with,” Presti said of the Gimas’ home. “When the snow melted and everything turned green, we thought we’d bring the outside in and continue off what Greg has done,” she said of the waterfall.
The sisters, who are granddaughters of the founder of Jenss Department store, said their late mother, Janelle Jenss Montazzoli, always had a flair for decorating. She used to play the piano for the Tour of Homes.
“We feel she’s looking down on us. For Sunday dinners she would set the tables like this,” Presti said of their tablescape.
In addition to the Gimas’ house on Oak Hill Falls, the tour also will include:
• The McDermotts’ Cape Cod on Mohawk Street in Lewiston features white birch cabinets, a granite island and Brazilian cherry floors, as well as a second-floor porch with a view of a 60-foot pool and gardens.
• Chantel and Bob Tink, admitted do-it-yourselfers, have a home on Lower River Road in Lewiston that features a unique chandelier they retrofitted from Craigslist, second-story loft, a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and master bedroom retreat complete with 16-foot vaulted ceiling master bath/spa.
• Pat Roemer and Cyndi Van Dusen-Roemer’s contemporary home on Vrooman Drive in Lewiston, which has expansive windows, inlaid hardwood floors, a breakfast room and a magnificent outdoor dining space with a turquoise glass fire pit and tiki torches.
• Dana and Ken Zuber’s home, also on Vrooman Drive, which features a screening room off of the living room, custom cream cabinets, a soaring ceiling accented by artistic millwork and an outdoor space with cathedral tongue-and-groove ceiling and stacked flagstone fireplace
• The home of Tom and Sue Reese, on Riverview Drive in Youngstown, offers a serene atmosphere near the water with a dining room that features a Henkel Harris table and chairs, highlighted by a spectacular Swarovski crystal chandelier and grass cloth walls. The home also features an open kitchen that allow them to explore their passion for fine wine and food.
The Youngstown Inn on Main Street also will be featured on the tour.
“The houses this year are all architecturally diverse,” said organizer Sandy Hayes Mies. “And really interesting.”
“What makes this tour unique is the chefs,” Mies said. “We have 12 chefs offering samples of their food.”
Samplings vary from beet salad to chicken tortilla soup and tuna nachos to chicken a la king. Participating restaurants are: the Town Hall American Bistro, Water Street Landing, DiCamillo Bakery, the Spicey Pickle, the White Linen Tea House, the Red Coach Inn, the Village Bake Shoppe, Wegmans, Sunset Grill, the Youngstown Village Diner and MC Catering, and the Bistro at the Old Fort Inn.
Tablescape artists in addition to Sterling Decor and A-1 Landcare are: Pallister House Floristry, Piccirillo’s Florist, Nikki M. Design, Antique to Chic, Dianne’s Floral, Erin Kent Interiors, the Country Doctor, Summertime Blooms, vanderpool:design and Joey and Rosanna Quigliano.
A dessert tasting and wine sampling reception for ticket holders will be held throughout both days at Barton Hill, 100 Center St., and features desserts from the Village Bake Shoppe and DiCamillo Bakery as well as wines donated by Supermarket Liquors and Wines. In addition, there will be a stop at Water Street Landing, where the restaurant will offer a WSL Clam Slammer and samples of its Absolut Hibiscus Cocktail to ticket holders.
Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. Any remaining tickets will be made available after 9 a.m. at the ticket tent, at the corner of First and Center streets, in front of the Barton Hill Hotel. Maps and official tickets for the self-guided tour will be available after 9 a.m. at the ticket tent for advance ticket holders.