Show House History

The Decorators’ Show House is a rich tradition that the Junior League of Buffalo brought to Western New York in 1981 with the Larkin House at 65 Lincoln Parkway.  

Show houses had long been synonymous with Junior Leagues in various cities across the country.  One such city was Omaha, NE where Stanford Lipsey, President Emeritus of The Buffalo News, had previously lived before moving to Buffalo.  The concept of a “Show House” was to recruit local designers to transform a large, historic home into an enviable dream home, room by room.  The public would buy tickets to see the house and all money raised would be donated back into the community. Stan brought this idea to former Junior League president, Holly Donaldson, and tasked the League, with the help of The Buffalo News, to make this a signature event in Buffalo.  Thirty-eight years and 20 houses later, the Decorators’ Show House continues to be a cherished community event every other year. Western New Yorkers have been given the chance to walk through historic homes, once home to Buffalo’s most prominent citizens.

View photos from past Show Houses!

Past Show Houses:

2017 August Feine House
Project Beneficiary:
Westminster Economic Development Initiative, Inc.

2015 The Edward H. Webster House
Project Beneficiary:
Torn Space Theatre

2013 Knox Farm Summer Residence
Project Beneficiary:
Massachusetts Avenue Project
2011 The Bayliss-Oshei Residence
Project Beneficiary:
Jericho Road Ministries
2009 E.B. Green's Wallace Estate
Project Beneficiary:
Darwin Martin Restoration Corporation
2007 The Silverthorne Mansion
Project Beneficiary:
Gerard Place for Single Parent,
Homeless Families
2005 The Century House
Project Beneficiary:
Darwin Martin Restoration Corporation
2003 The Miller Mansion
Project Beneficiary:
Child and Family Services
Haven House
2001 The Schoellkopf-Vom Berge Manor
Project Beneficiary:
Buffalo Museum of Science Hall of Astronomy
1999 The Buffalo Sem Larkin House
Project Beneficiary:
Theatre of Youth
1997 The President's House
Project Beneficiary:
EPIC (Every Person Influences Children)
Compass House Shelter for Runaway/Homeless Youth
1995 E.B. Green's Robert Donner House
Project Beneficiary:
Kleinhans Music Hall
Waterfront Performing Arts Concerts
1993 The Birtches
Project Beneficiary:
Hospice Education Center
1991 The McLean House
Project Beneficiary:
Buffalo Zoo
Waterfront Performing Arts Concerts
1989 The Appleton Mansion
Project Beneficiary:
Tiff Nature Preserve Education Center
1987 The Kellogg House
Project Beneficiary:
Restoration of Buffalo Lighthouse
Cybernetic Light Show in Lafayette Square
1985 The Bassett House
Project Beneficiary:
Central Referral Services Inc.
1983 The Ransom House
Project Beneficiary:
Cybernetic Light Show in Lafayette Square
1981 The Larkin House
Project Beneficiary:
Endowment of Waterfront Performing
Arts Concerts