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My Dollar House: The Little West Side Cottage That Could in Buffalo, NY.

This is our little dollar house in Buffalo, NY. We are calling it our little cottage that could.

We picked up this little 1860’s brick cottage for $1 dollar. The house is steps from two local breweries, the best coffee shop in Buffalo and many restaurants and fun shops. This dollar house wasn’t a part of the Buffalo homestead program but instead, a private owner who was ready to spend 15K to demolish the house on his own. With a little convincing, it is now ours for less than a cup of coffee. It has a new roof, cool original brick inside and it is gutted to the studs. Sure it isn’t easy to renovate but the upside to this house is we can make it our own for less than what we would pay for a house that isn’t designed for our needs. We are currently in the process of design and we are aiming to make this a near net zero home while still retaining the historic character of the cottage. We cannot wait to create a modern yet historic transformation that will keep this house alive for another 150 years!

To follow up more about Dollar houses in Buffalo, check out this post I posted last year. Also, check out our buds Mike Puma and David Torke in the LA TIMES article about the Buffalo Homestead Program and their experiences here. 

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American Rehab Buffalo: That’s A Wrap!!

That’s a WRAP!!! Yesterday was the official wrap day for filming our upcoming HGTV show American Rehab Buffalo !! It is six episodes and set to air in October 2014. I can’t show you many photos… you’ll just have to wait and see the finished product on TV! (I will put a post up shortly with photos from the entire experience… stay tuned!)

Personal Note: Renovating a vacant house for HGTV was by far one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life. This experience pushed my limits in almost every way humanly possible. There were days of anger, frustration, laughter, sweat, excitement, tears and smiles… sometimes all within one day. Everyday was a learning experience. Trying to balance life, a wedding, a renovation, my energy efficiency work, our personal relationship… TV is not forgiving and some days seemed impossible to handle… But we got through it!

Was it worth it? Hell yes!! The house was demolition ready… and now it is a true gem, restored in a historic and energy efficient way! The house is beautiful, the neighborhood is in love with it and we have one more house back on the tax rolls instead of in a landfill. Buffalo is going to shine on National Television! No snow or wings, just a couple of cool kids doing a historic renovation and great shots of Buffalo’s best architectural gems!

Most importantly, we could have NEVER done any of this without the following people: Michael Poczkalski and his ROOM Design team, Magnetic Productions, Chris Ziolkowski and his Zees worker bees, our landscaping crew, David Scott Myers and  Buffalo Treehouse LLC, our carpenters, McSmith Furniture Design, Rob Baird and Sean Wrafter, our local artists, Mickey Harmon and Max Collins and the million other vendors, friends, family and others who stepped forward to provide an excellent product or lend a helping hand to make this house truly one of a kind. We also had a great experience working with the Mayor’s team and the Buffalo Police Dept, especially the B District team.

And last but not least, I want to say thank you and I love you to Jason Wilson. We have spend 3 months together non stop to make this house work and despite all the craziness and stress, I now know we can get through anything. I am so thankful to spend the rest of my life with you, Jason!!

And now it is time to focus on one more life changing thing… the wedding!!!

Our final photo for American Rehab Buffalo!

Our final photo for American Rehab Buffalo!

Wedding Update!! #abuffalovewedding

Jason and I are getting hitched in less than 2 months!! Holy smokes is it an insane time right now. Planning a wedding is fun but very hard when you are the first wedding ever in a space. There are a lot of details to think about! I think we are both excited to really begin the next phase of our lives… everyday we love each other a little bit more. <3

You can follow our wedding planning on our wedding website – http://www.abuffalovewedding.com

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Life has been crazy lately… Photo Slide Show!

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Life has been bonkers. For more daily updates, follow my tumblr.

This is a general idea of what is going on: Wedding planning, a historic house gut rehab that will be completed before the wedding, property management in general, new rentals, Buffalo Energy, Buffalove Development, Family, General Life, Buffalo, Sleep, Eat. Oh and the bachelorette party fit in there somehow. We are working on a secret project that will come out to the world soon. We closed on a new 2 unit, have 7 more units under contract and we are setting up to complete 3 gut rehabs by the end of the year. In case you were wondering, my favorite things to wear right now are my safety goggles, saw necklace and dust mask.

P.S. Despite the lack of time and energy, I promise you, I wouldn’t change a thing. Find what you love and let it kill you! XOXO <3

CBS Sunday News – Wings in Buffalo with Lance, Thurman and Mo Rocca!!

Today was the debut of the ‘Wings” special for the CBS Sunday Show. You can watch it here!

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/super-bowl-buffalo-birthplace-of-the-chicken-wing/

Thank you to everyone involved and for all of my friends for their continuous support. This is an awesome day for Buffalo!! #buffalove

-Bernice

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2013 in 30 Seconds.

Want to see my 2013 in 30 seconds? Check this out – http://flipagram.com/f/NefubYOFHP

2013 was my best year yet. Jason and I got engaged! We purchased five houses and two vacant lots. I was honored to be in the NYTimes, Buffalo Spree, Buffalo News, Buffalorising, Design Sponge and front page of NIagara Gazette for the preservation and house rehabilitation work that we do in Buffalo. I spoke at TEDXBuffalo which was an insane experience. Jason and I visited Nantucket twice. We partied in NYC at the DFA 12 anniversary party. We drove across the country and spent the summer with Lynette & Max in Buffalo. I was honored to be chosen as the Co Vice Chair of the NESEA Building Energy conference for 2014 and the Chair for 2015. I started and finished up Women Elect, too. Jason and I really became best friends. We grew and expanded friendships with many great people, watched his nephews grow a bit older, learned how we work together and loved a little harder.

Anyhow, so much awesomeness. 2014 is going to be insane. It has already started off crazy with a Donn Esmonde PIece, a Buffalo Spree article and the chicken wing interview with Mo Rocca. We are working hard on several projects and have many irons in the fire. We are planning our wedding (July 2014!) and we should be wrapping up our rehabs this year and expanding Buffalove a little bit!!

Life is truly how you make it. Determination is key. But I will always say that i am just one of thelucky ones. The harder you work, the luckier you are.

This wraps up 2013 in 30 seconds.Music by The Fantasy! –>http://flipagram.com/f/NefubYOFHP

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Heart Bombs for Preservation – Sat. Feb 1, 2014 at 10am!

Join the Buffalo’s Young Preservationists on Saturday, Feb 1st at 10am for our third annual heart bombs for preservation event! (FACEBOOK LINK)

Each year we (BYP) get together and use craft supplies to create hearts for vacant buildings that we want to see saved in 2014. It may be “cute” but this is a great way to educate the public about the Vacancy Vortex and that demolition is not the only answer. This year we will be joined with cities around the country who have stepped up to heart bomb their vacant buildings.

10am starts the fun at Preservation Buffalo Niagara’s office in the Market Arcade. (Thank you PBN for space!!) We will provide snacks, crafts and coffee. Please bring any crafts supplies you may have and glue/scissors.

Preservation Buffalo Niagara
Suite 201, 617 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14203

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