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Home of the Week: From 'summer house' to their house

Arno and Susan Tapani bought their home in East Aurora in 2001. They worked with Patricia Bailey of Bailey & Harris Architects to renovate and enlarge it while preserving the home’s historical architectural design.

The couple raised three daughters - now ages 16, 18 and 21 - in this five-bedroom, five-bath home. Arno Tapani is a manufacturing engineer at Hamburg-based K-TECHnologies. Susan Tapani is a marketing manager at M&T Bank.

Here is a brief history and some highlights of their home, as described by the couple for The Buffalo News’ Home of the Week feature.

“Our home was built by a prominent Buffalonian couple, Harlow C. and Ethel Mann Curtiss, as a summer home in 1926, on land purchased from prolific architect and artist Robert North.

“Blueprints show some changes were made in 1934 by subsequent owners, including adding extensive wood paneling and a library in the living room.

“We purchased the home in 2001, and undertook a major renovation to modernize and enlarge it to accommodate our active family and friends. This included adding a fifth bedroom, mudroom and 'keeping room' (the family gathering area adjacent to the kitchen); relocating an entrance and connecting to a new three-car garage, and repurposing a staircase and live-in maid’s quarters.

“We appreciate the character of old homes and have worked to preserve our historical architectural design, such as matching the original exterior stucco formula and custom diamond-paned windows. Like Ethel Mann Curtiss, we are avid gardeners and love our relaxing, parklike view.”

A bit more history: Harlow and Ethel Curtiss, who built this house as a summer residence, also lived in a main home at 100 Lincoln Parkway. Their Buffalo home was designed by Esenwein & Johnson and, 100 years after its completion, became Decorators’ Show House 2005: The Century House.

Harlow Curtiss was a prominent lawyer and also involved in real estate. Ethel Curtiss served as director and later president of the Buffalo Council of Camp Fire Girls.

The renovated kitchen features custom Shaker-style quarter-sawn cabinets and granite countertops.

Do you love your house enough to show it off like the Tapanis did? This could be your chance.

The Buffalo News is looking for other beautiful local homes and the stories behind them and their décor.

Those chosen will be displayed in a weekly feature at and could be chosen as Home of the Month with a spread in a Sunday edition of The Buffalo News.

If you are interested, tell us about your home in 150 words or less, and email 10 hi-res images (in .jpg form) of the interior and exterior to

Those chosen for will be contacted by Home and Style Editor Susan Martin. A phone number is helpful. Single-family homes, condominiums, lofts and apartments are eligible.

The News will include your name and the city or town in which you reside but not your exact address.

Home of the Week: A turn-of-the-century gem in Buffalo

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