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Home of the Month: Riverfront ranch on Grand Island

Mike and Rose Tucker have been collecting for years. He’s always been keen on old fishing gear, including lures, reels and creels. She’s fond of vintage kitchenware, such as utensils, gadgets and pottery.

These and other collections – folk art, antique furniture, architectural pieces – are artfully displayed throughout their renovated ranch on Grand Island.

The result is an interior that is comfortable, not cluttered, with interesting items to look at in every room.

The wood box hung high on a wall near the front entrance? It’s filled with old fishing lure boxes.

The planter on the wall in the dining room? It’s actually an old cast-iron garden fountain discovered at Muleskinner Antiques in Williamsville.

The bookcase in the corner of the living room? Mike Tucker built it by cutting in half an old canoe he bought for $125 on Craigslist. He built the bookcase in the basement using the other half.

The Tuckers, both Niagara Falls natives, bought the house in 2011, right around the time their son, Derek, was heading to college. Their previous home was a large contemporary in Youngstown, and they had lived in three other homes before that.

In February 2018, the Tuckers’ ranch was featured online as a Buffalo News’ Home of the Week, after the couple submitted photos and described the place.

For the feature, the couple said they love the home – about half the size of their former home – “because of its waterfront access, practical layout, manageable size and convenient location.”

They described their decorating style as “a combination of Early American/country/rustic/cottage/Adirondack.”

Earlier this month, the News visited the Tuckers for a tour, interview and photo shoot.

The living room features a stone fireplace and pine ceiling with beams. Mike installed the hardwood floors with the help of his father and father-in-law. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

While the kitchen and master bath had already been remodeled when they bought the house, the Tuckers renovated the rest of the ranch, which was built in 1965.

They installed new flooring, trim, wainscoting, windows and lighting. They repainted rooms. They also did some exterior work, including updating the patio and landscaping.

Mike Tucker, a retired environmental toxicologist, did much of the work himself, with help from his father, Ed, and father-in-law, Joe Giancola.

Among the projects:

• The three men installed new hardwood floors in the main living areas and bedrooms.

• Mike and his father built and installed the pergola above the hot tub in the back. The stone path was another do-it-yourself project. Mike also built the exterior shutters.

• Mike built the fireplace mantel in the living room and installed the tin ceiling in the dining room. He also built the table in the eating area using wooden legs he bought for $5 each at a flea market 10 years ago. He built a platform base and attached the legs to a tabletop he purchased for $99. He refinished the legs using a chalk-style paint.

• After replacing the old paneling in the sun room with wainscoting, Mike used the wood to build multiple picture frames for a large map of the Niagara River (he’s a member of the Niagara Frontier Underwater Explorers Club) and his poster collection of 1970s musicians. (He plays the guitar and mandolin.)

“He’s good at repurposing,” said Rose Tucker, who tends to the gardening. A retired accountant, she was assistant director of finance in facilities at the University at Buffalo.

The couple bought the house for $400,000 in 2011. They are its third owners and estimate they put about $80,000 into its renovation.

Mike said that while their style has evolved through the years, they have always appreciated quality craftsmanship.

“I like real wood,” he said.

Mike Tucker made a bookcase from an old canoe he found on Craigslist. They use it to display old fishing creels and Adirondack baskets. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

The house at a glance:

The Tuckers have updated their ranch overlooking the Niagara River and decorated it with antiques, artwork and collectibles. Here’s a peek at the place:

Layout: Living room with eating area; kitchen; dining room; heated sun room; three bedrooms; 2½ baths, and laundry on main floor. Finished basement features a living area with media center; bar; full bath; workout room; storage spaces; walk-in cedar closet; workshop, and office. Outdoors there’s a new concrete patio with fireplace, a hot tub under a pergola, and a deep lot that leads to a deck with umbrella table and chairs and the boat dock.

Colors: Light khaki in living room; robin’s egg blue in dining room; buttery yellow with white wainscoting in sun room; tan in master bedroom; another shade of tan in second bedroom; light sea foam green in third bedroom.

Floors: New hardwood floors with area rugs; ceramic tile in kitchen; carpeting in finished basement.

Furniture: Antiques; hand-painted pieces; new sofas and ottoman in living room; several designs by Mike Tucker, including two bookcases he made from an old canoe. Some pieces are from places they visited, such as an Adirondack chair from Lake Placid, N.Y., and handcrafted Windsor chairs from Maine.

Collections: Old fishing lures, creels and reels; maps, antique prints and postcards; whirligigs; quilts; antique kitchenware; redware and yellowware pottery; hand-wrought fishing spears; framed music posters, and more. In addition to buying things on trips, they’ve also discovered finds at local flea markets, Muleskinner Antiques in Williamsville, Gothic City Architectural Antiques in Buffalo and on Craigslist.

Do you love your home? Tell us about it

One of the most popular features in The Buffalo News Home & Style section is the Home of the Month, which features a local home and the people who live there. Today we feature the Grand Island home of Mike and Rose Tucker.

Our Home of the Month appears online – along with a gallery of photos by a News staff photographer – as well as in a print edition of Sunday Home & Style. (This story will appear in print June 30.)

In fall 2017, we launched another feature that appears online only – the Home of the Week. This lets readers inside even more Western New York homes.

The Buffalo News continues to look for other local homes and the stories behind them and their décor. Those chosen will be displayed in the weekly feature at BuffaloNews.com.

Like the Tuckers' home, the residence also could be chosen as a Home of the Month.

Here’s what to do if you’re interested: Tell us about your home in 150 words or less, and email 10 hi-res images (in JPEG form) to homeandstyle@buffnews.com. It’s OK to send the images split among several emails. Please include your name, the city or town where you live and a phone number.

We will contact those chosen to be featured on BuffaloNews.com. We will include your name and the city or town in which you reside but not your exact address or phone number. We also will publish online some or all of the photos you submitted.

If your place is chosen for Home of the Month, we will visit your home for an interview and our own photo shoot.

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