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From the Home Front by Susan Martin: Decorators' Show House selected

The 2017 Decorators' Show House has been selected and it, like previous local Show Houses dating back to 1981, has an interesting story. Located at 766 Ellicott St., the August Feine House is currently empty but being restored as part of the Expansion Campaign for Kevin Guest House, located next door. For 44 years, Kevin Guest House has served as a healthcare hospitality house for patients and families traveling to Buffalo for medical care.

Kevin Guest House purchased the house from a local law firm in 2015 and began its restoration. According to its website,, plans for the place include four private suites with private bathrooms, two new transplant recovery apartments and shared spaces featuring a kitchenette, meeting/work/living space, relaxation area, elevator and full accessibility.

With the addition of the August Feine House to the Kevin Guest House Campus, more families will have a place to stay while visiting the nearby growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Step in the Junior League of Buffalo and The Buffalo News, which recently announced the selection of the 7,800-square-foot home for its 19th Decorators' Show House, a major community fundraiser that takes place every other spring. Dozens of decorators, designers, artists, landscapers and other pros will work their magic and transform one of the area's architectural gems into a showcase of inspirational ideas.

"While the restoration will be nearly completed in time for Show House, the layout will change slightly after Show House closes to accommodate the guests," said Colleen Seminara, president of the Junior League of Buffalo board of directors.

During the three weeks it will be open to the public next spring, the Show House will feature a living room, dining room, solarium, additional room and kitchen on the first floor. Three en suite bedrooms will be decorated on the second. The third floor is expected to have two apartments - each with two bedrooms, a bath and kitchen.

Some house history, as reported in the press release: The house was built by John Irlbacher in the late 19th century and purchased by August Feine in 1906. Feine came to the United States from Germany in 1881 and was an artisan and leader in the field of hand-forged wrought iron work in the early 20th century. Examples of his ornamental iron latticework can be seen in the interior and exterior of the home. The August Feine House will be renamed after completion for the lead sponsor of the renovation and be known as the Russell J. Salvatore Hospitality House on the Kevin Guest House Campus.

Dates to note:

Nov. 29: The ball gets rolling with area decorators attending Bidding Day at the Show House. On this day, they tour the rooms and interior and exterior spaces, get their creative juices flowing, think about how their ideas can best be seen in the house and even collaborate with other decorators. Soon after, they submit their design proposals. Decorators interested in participating should contact Jeannine Yager-Aiello at 898-8161 or (905) 651-1198. Or reach her via email:

Feb. 4 and Feb 5, 2017: Sneak Peek weekend allows the public to view the house before its transformation begins. Keep an eye on The Buffalo News, and the Junior League of Buffalo website,, for ticket information and details.

April 29 to May 21, 2017: The 19th Decorators' Show House will open to the public.

End of 2017: Applications for the proceeds of the 19th Show House are expected to be available. Since 1981, Decorators’ Show Houses have yielded proceeds totaling $3.975 million to benefit 21 local cultural and human service organizations. The Torn Space Theater was chosen as the recipient of the 2015 Show -  the Edward H. Webster House on Lincoln Parkway, during which a total of $275,000 was raised. Previous Show House beneficiaries have included the Massachusetts Avenue Project, Jericho Road Ministries, Darwin Martin Restoration Corporation and others throughout Buffalo and Erie County.


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