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SHOW HOUSE IS NO HOUSE FOR 6 KIDS

Just days after the Junior League Decorators' Show House ended, the owners of the Miller Mansion have put the home on the market: asking price $2.1 million.

Natalie and Gerald W. Schaffer Jr. said they love the limestone manor, but bought it before they knew they were having triplets. Keeping track of their young children while caring for the infants will be difficult in a 12,000-square-foot home with eight bathrooms.

"I have to be honest. I do not want to sell the house," said Gerald Schaffer, an attorney at Cellino & Barnes. "However, it's a baby-proofing nightmare, and I have to defer to my wife's wishes."

The Schaffers will move into the mansion at 175 Nottingham Terrace, the former Nichols Middle School, next month and live there until they find a buyer. They are investing heavily in gates to keep the children away from the grand staircase, window ledges and other hazards, they said. In addition to the triplets, who are now 19 weeks old, the Schaffers have children ages 2, 3 and 9.

The Schaffers purchased the home in October for $480,000 and spent a considerable amount on renovations and improvements. While companies often sold the Schaffers material and items at discounted prices because of the publicity the Show House would generate, the cost of redoing two kitchens and eight bathrooms was still substantial.

Nonpermanent improvements such as decorations, furniture and window treatments leave with the decorators. However, the Schaffers bought most of the window treatments downstairs and the furniture in the master bedroom, kitchen and other rooms.

RealtyUSA has created a Web site, www.MillerMansion.com, and is offering to make a $5,000 donation to a local charity in the name of the person who refers the buyer of the home.

"It would be among the highest priced if not the highest priced home sold" in the Buffalo Niagara area, said Wallace Grieser, manager of RealtyUSA's Tonawanda office.

No home in the city has ever sold for more than $1 million, although there are homes assessed for more than $1 million, according to city records. The most expensive home sold in the city was last June was 245 Nottingham Terrace, for $985,000. A home at 35 Lincoln Parkway sold in December 2000 for $980,000.

"While it would be a new high price that's not to say it's not worth it," said Susan D. Lenahan, vice president of Gurney, Becker & Bourne, which sells many homes in that neighborhood. "It's in the highest appreciating area and it has had a tremendous amount of upgrades."

The Decorators' Show House, a biennial fund-raiser co-sponsored by the Junior League of Buffalo and The Buffalo News, ended May 25 after drawing more than 27,000 visitors.

e-mail: lhaarlander@buffnews.com

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