Show House FAQ’s

General Information page PROOF #1


Since 1981, on a biennial basis, The Junior League of Buffalo and The Buffalo News have been creating elegant and stately Decorators’ Show Houses that generate awareness of The Junior League and serve as major fundraisers for high impact community projects.

Through the years, a number of frequently asked questions have arisen as guests tour the Decorators’ Show House.

Basic information about the Palmer Centennial House:

20th Decorators’ Show House

Year Built:  1910 by architect Ulysses G. Orr.  The house was first owned by a prominent local florist, William Palmer.

Arts & Crafts style home

Main House 4,269 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

31 decorated spaces

Q:  How is a house selected?

A:  During the summer, a team of Show House Steering Committee members tour potential properties that have been recommended by area real estate agencies and homeowners.  Although residences are not restricted to Buffalo, many of the city’s grand old homes are often referred, due to their architectural and historical significance. Some criteria a home must meet: 6000+ square feet, two staircases, architectural interest, suitable yard space, sufficient street parking for visitors, and must be vacant from January 1st -June 1st.

Q:  What do the owners pay for?  Who pays for what in each room?

A:  Decorators’ Show House is a major community fundraiser.  Therefore, neither The Junior League nor The Buffalo News pay for major structural improvements, such as a new driveway, new roof, significant plumbing or electrical issues, etc.  Should a potential home be in need of such repairs, the homeowners would have to agree to bear the cost before it could be selected as a Show House. Decorators are responsible for costs associated with room décor, which may include furnishings, wallpaper, window treatments, carpets, and accessories.  Each designer either bears the cost or borrows some or all of the items in a room.

Q:  What does the homeowner keep once the Show House is over?

A:  Owners of a Show House reap benefits such as new paint and wallpaper, refinished flooring, and fresh landscaping.  Items such as furniture, window treatments, appliances, carpets, paintings, and accessories are removed immediately after Show House closes, unless the homeowner wishes to purchase them.  Many items in the house are also available for purchase. Ask a room docent or stop at the Decorator Sales desk during Show House hours to get information on any item.

Q:  How are the decorators selected?

A:  Once the home is selected, designers, decorators, and landscapers are invited to tour the property and submit proposals representing their creative ideas.  A decorating team from the Show House Steering Committee selects designers and landscapers based on their interpretation and how ideas submitted fit into the overall scheme of the house.  Designers must adhere to the guidelines imposed by The Junior League and the homeowner in a contract, which all must sign before work can begin.

Q:  Why isn’t there more of a “flow” or theme in terms of color and style in a Decorators’ Show House?

A:  Unlike a model home or a home show, a Decorators’ Show House is intended to highlight a variety of independent decorators, each of whom possess a unique style.  The Kips Bay Decorator Show House held annually in New York City serves as a model for many decorators’ show houses throughout the country.

Q:  Is the Show House always for sale once it closes?  

A:  In some instances, a home is purchased before it becomes a Show House.  Other Show Houses have been placed on the market immediately after Show Houses ends.

Q:  What does The Junior League of Buffalo do?

A:  The Junior League of Buffalo is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and to improving communities through the effective use of trained volunteers.  Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

Q:  Who benefits from the proceeds of the Decorators’ Show House?

A:  Previous Show Houses have raised over $4.1 Million for our community.  Proceeds from the 2017 Decorators’ Show House ($215,000) went to Westminster Economic Development Institute.  Later this year, a committee comprised of Junior League members and representatives of The Buffalo News will work to determine the recipient of proceeds from the Palmer Centennial House. Visiting the Show House helps support a major project benefitting Western New York.  A complete list of past beneficiaries of Show House proceeds appears in the back of the Show House program.