After traveling to the pastoral setting of the Knox Summer Estate at Knox Farm State Park outside the Village of East Aurora two years ago, Decorators’ Show House has returned to the city for 2015.
The Edward H. Webster House at 164 Lincoln Parkway is the home selected for the 18th Decorators’ Show House, a biennial event co-sponsored by The Buffalo News and Junior League of Buffalo.
Not that this home doesn’t offer lovely views of its own. The house, located near the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, overlooks the Rose Garden at Delaware Park – a view enjoyed from the large windows inside the 6,600-square-foot house.
The residence features a large living room and dining room with fireplaces, a kitchen with built-in china cabinets, a solarium, seven bedrooms, four full baths and two half baths (not all will be decorated and open for viewing) and multiple other rooms and spaces soon to be transformed by local decorating and design pros. There’s also a two-bedroom, 1½-bath carriage house in back to be decorated and landscaping to be done before the doors open to the public, April 25 to May 17.
But you don’t have to wait that long to check out the residence, which now features mauve-painted walls and old wallpaper. You can get a glimpse of the empty, undecorated house next weekend during a Sneak Peek – before the wallpaper is stripped and the decorators dig in.
PHOTO GALLERY: The 2015 Decorators’ Show House ‘before’ look
“The transformation is going to be very dramatic,” said Rachel Stenclik, Decorators’ Show House chairwoman.
“Each room has something architecturally interesting,” said Stenclik, noting that the home still has many of its original features, including woodwork, moldings and fixtures.
The solarium is especially striking, with its large arched windows. Decorative windows highlight the winding staircase in the foyer. Bedrooms on the third floor feature sloped ceilings on both sides. And the machine-loomed tapestry wallcovering in the dining room is original to the house.
“It’s like a rug on the wall,” Stenclik said.
Some history: The Arts & Crafts-style home was designed by Buffalo architects August Carl Esenwein and James A. Johnson and built in 1907-08. Its first owner was Edward H. Webster, who was born in Buffalo on Feb. 13, 1852. He and his father were partners in their coal business, E. Webster & Son, which later merged with Citizens Ice Co. to become Webster-Citizens Ice Co. The residence has had only four owners, including Fred and Elisabeth Obersheimer.
Their son Charlie Obersheimer, who lived in the house from 1958 to 1972, said not much has changed in the home since back then.
“The thing that has changed there is the mauve,” said Obersheimer, referring to the prevalent wall color. “It was mostly whites and off-whites.”
“We had a lot of parties, a lot of good times. The basement was a billiard room,” recalled Obersheimer, who later owned Obersheimer Sailor Supply on Niagara Street until he sold the business last February and retired.
“I started the sail-making up in the attic in about 1966. We could lay out a sail for a 40-foot sailboat on the floor up there. It was a pretty big space,” he said.
The house, now owned by Patrick O’Neill, has been rented since 2008 and is now on the market for $1.5 million.
Before long, designers – some new, some Show House veterans – will get to work.
Auburn Watson Corporation, on Walden Avenue in Depew, will transform the kitchen, keeping the dark-stained built-in china cabinets and solid maple countertops in place but removing an existing laminate countertop and less-desirable cabinets that were added at one point. With some reconfiguring, the kitchen will become L-shaped for Show House and feature a new hardwood floor from M P Caroll.
“We are going to be putting in a professional range and, above that, a hammered-copper hood. On the back wall we’re going to put in a really cool professional refrigerator,” Wayne Watson said.
“The cabinetry that we are adding is a sage green to complement the existing cabinetry and be compatible with the hardwood floor,” he added.
Interior designer Mark Taylor is in charge of the master bedroom and nursery. The nursery – with its leaded glass windows with green leaf pattern – is the inspiration for both nursery and bedroom, he said.
“The fictional young mother-to-be is coordinating her nest to match her nursery,” Taylor explained. “It’s going to be a coordinated soothing green-blue color palette. Because the house is not a fancy grand home – I’m calling it a high-style craftsman bungalow on steroids – it’s not going to be an over-the-top elegant bedroom because I don’t think it’s appropriate to the style of the house. But it’s not going to be Stickley- or Mission-style either, by any means,” he said.
Think a four-poster bed – but in distressed wood or metal.
Closets are plentiful in this house – some with double doors, shelves and built-in drawers.
“There are a lot of closets in that house although not every single one was super efficient, size-wise. Some of them are long and narrow – which we do have solutions for,” said Diana Augspurger, from Creative Storage on Linden Avenue.
Her challenge for the closet in the master suite: “I want to respect the age of the house while improving the function for today’s living.”
And, yes, she has a few tricks up her sleeve.