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Showcase of Homes Builders

WRITTEN BY COLLEEN COLEMAN  |  PHOTOS PROVIDED

Long before I earned a degree for interior design, I was always fascinated by the construction industry. What it took to put a beautiful home together; the kitchen and bath elements, the flooring, the light fixtures, everything! But as I dove into the industry, I discovered that what went on behind the wall was just as important as what was seen when the construction was complete. This is the life of a “Showcase of Homes” builder. From the drawing board to the day thousands of visitors pass through their Showcase entry to reveal upcoming trends, color palettes and overall styles for the coming year. 

With the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Showcase of Homes, we took this opportunity to chat with a few of the builders… pour yourself a glass of wine and join the conversation!

BELLA BUILDERS

Bella Builders, participating in the Showcase of Homes for the last 14 years, is always noted for their specialty kid’s rooms. Dave DePaulo, founder, loves designing and building these spaces himself. “My favorites are the 1920 Pick Up Truck, the Crist Craft Mahogany Boat, the Cinderella Carriage, the Airplane room and the Ski Room.  They take a tremendous amount of time and effort, but the public seems to remember my homes by these special rooms we’ve done.” Maybe you even remember these spaces over the years?! It is these creative touches that win the hearts of the viewers as they tour these homes and dream, get inspired and even call on these builders to make their dreams come true! 

Dave goes on to mention the relationships he has built with the great vendors he’s been lucky enough to work with… Curtis Lumber, Marcellas Appliances, Old Brick Furniture, Hudson Valley Tile, PMD Destiantikov, JP Paving, WinSupply, Wolberg Electric, Legacy Timbers, Floor Master -Queensbury, GSL Landscaping, J&R Propane and Fast Signs Saratoga Springs to name a few.

BELMONTE BUILDERS

Belmonte Builders, one of the original builders since the Showcase of Homes began, asked Lindsey Belmonte, Vice President of Customer Relations, to offer her fond memories of this special Saratoga event which she grew up participating in and eventually being a large part of. As she recalled that first home entry, “The house was a two-story home located in The Woodland’s neighborhood in Saratoga Springs.  I was 11 years old at the time and it was the house my dad built for our family.  I remember sitting in my room during the Showcase tour and saying hi to all the people.  We rented a grand piano for the music room that played itself and my brother and I would sit there pretending to push the keys. The memories make me laugh!” It must have been magical for a young girl to see her dad work so hard at creating a family home then seeing all the people come through and admire his work. Lindsey continued, “We moved into the home after the Showcase tour concluded and were so proud to live in a Belmonte Builders masterpiece!” 

Showcase of Homes
2014 Showcase Builders
Showcase of Homes
2014 Showcase Awards Night
Showcase of Homes
2015 Showcase Builders
Showcase of Homes
Everybody loves awards night! 2015 Showcase Awards Night featuring The Rat Pack, The Beatles.

One of the ways these homes come together is through a vast network of suppliers, installers and interior designers from around the Capital District Area. 

Lindsey was very quick to give credit to all who help make each of their homes possible throughout the years, “Every year we strive for perfection and everyone that helps to bring the home to completion does a magnificent job.  We love the collaboration, appreciate everyone’s hard work and are always very proud of our Showcase Homes.”

When asked which homes were her favorite entries, she stated “In recent years our Castleton ranch home, located in Sonoma Grove, along with our Weston Master Down home, located in Spencer’s Landing.” I’d have to agree. They were some of my personal favorites as well!

Being in the construction industry myself, I know that there are stressful moments where you need to use a little ingenuity to make the final result happen. Lindsey recalled that first house again, “I remember my mom standing on a ladder holding the curtains in the family room up as the judges walked through. We had so many great laughs finishing that house.”   

BONACIO BUILDERS

Another builder who has been around since the beginning is Bonacio Builders, entering a mix of different style homes throughout the years; condos, single-family houses, townhomes, apartments, and historic restorations. They too credit many of the local companies who make their homes comes to life such as B&B Plumbing and Heating, Curtis Lumber, WinSupply, Best Tile, Capital Stone, Signature Cabinet Group and Marcella’s Appliances. Over the past years, many interior designers have also been involved such as Shelly Walker with Finishing Touches Home Decor, Denise Palumbo with Plum & Crimson Fine Interior Design, and Janet Longe from 23rd [and Fourth]. 

Although they have loved each of the homes they have entered in the showcase, they do remember a year when the painters were leaving through the back of the house while the judges were entering through the front door! “It was a bit nerve-wracking!” stated Sonny. But he added,” It’s always great to be involved with the Showcase of Homes and the causes it supports. Both Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together Saratoga are organizations we work closely with and support throughout the year. We also enjoy connecting with people in our community; getting to see our homes through their eyes is a powerful experience. Every year is a chance to learn something new that we can apply to our future projects.”

WITT CONSTRUCTION

And last but not least, the father of the Showcase of Homes, John Witt of Witt Construction, who has participated in every Showcase since he proposed the idea many years ago. “I was inspired by a builder I had met at a convention. It was a great opportunity for the local builders to show the public their work firsthand, while raising funds for great organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together.” I know from my personal experience of volunteering at the Showcase models during the tours that it has become an annual event for families… especially the ladies as they collect a “honey-do list”!  John even mentioned that with each year, the builders drive each other to have a WOW feature, “It keeps us on our toes and pushes our imagination to top what was accomplished the prior year!” he stated with a laugh! John’s favorite homes were 10 Saratoga Farm (2003) and Hyde St. (2021) Needless to say, these are his personal homes within the Saratoga Area!  One unique aspect of a Witt home is the internal design team made up of Kennedy Flack and Hanna Volpe. His daughter, Aspen Witt once contributed to the team as well. John is no stranger to working the Showcase homes personally. He even recalled sodding a front lawn until 3am the morning of judging. But his homes were always ready for Showtime!

This year will be exceptionally welcoming as we once again will have the opportunity to tour these magnificent homes in person! It’s just what Saratogian’s do in the fall and I am confident that this year will be one of the most memorable! We all look forward to seeing what these builders come up with for 2021 and the inspiration it gives us all for our own homes. 


Happy 25th Anniversary Showcase of Homes!


Most sincerely, Colleen Coleman  | CMC Design Studio LLC


When you OWN A Showcase Entry

In the fall of 2017 my husband Adam, children Kai and Hannah, and I were living on the island of St. Thomas.  Little did we know that things were about to take a drastic change with the arrival of category 5 Hurricane Irma.  The children and I were extremely fortunate to secure seats on one of the last flights out of St. Thomas before Irma made landfall.  That flight got us as far as Ft. Lauderdale.  We had to make our way up the east coast, just ahead of Irma’s path, till we arrived safely back to our family in Saratoga.  

Adam stayed behind in St Thomas to watch over the family business and to lend his assistance, and boat, to relief efforts being coordinated out of Puerto Rico.  In an unprecedented turn of events, a second category 5 hurricane, Maria, crashed into St Thomas two weeks later.

With no operating airport or hospital, and our house destroyed, it became apparent that the children and I would not be returning to St Thomas anytime soon.  I began looking for a new house for our family.  We looked through the limited supply of condominiums available around town at that time.   While there were some beautiful options, the lack of a yard for Kai and Hannah caused me to keep looking.

We looked for months.  Adam had finally been able to make his way back to Saratoga and our realtor was able to arrange some showings.  It was at that time that our realtor Lisa Licatta came up with the suggestion that totally changed our situation.  She proposed that, considering Adam’s family’s extensive experience in historic rehabilitation, we might want to consider rehabbing an older home. We were open to that idea and within hours, we were walking through 184 Spring Street.  This was a home that had housed a loving, growing family that had been an integral part of a neighbourhood.  It provided wonderful memories to the kids that were raised there.  As they had grown up and moved on and their aged mother had passed away, the house had fallen into a state of disrepair.  

As soon as we saw it, however, we were drawn to the house, its possibilities, and the neighbourhood.  We immediately made an offer.  We learned that we were not the only ones interested in this house and there were several other offers.  We had to anxiously wait to see if our offer was the one to be accepted.  To our great delight, those children who had such fond memories of growing up in that house chose our offer, hoping a family would live in the home and love it as much as they had.

That was the easy part!  We had to find someone to take this neglected property and turn it into our dream home.  We were extremely fortunate to team up with James Ackerman and Amanda Santy of Bonacio Builders.  During planning stages, our realtor suggested that there would be significant benefits in allowing Bonacio to submit our house as their entry into the Showcase of Homes.  With the opportunity to display their wares to thousands of visitors, vendors supplying materials, furniture and appliances were willing to provide us much appreciated discounts.  

As anyone who has been involved in a rehab knows only too well, anything that can go wrong probably will.  We are grateful to James and his team for taking care of everything and taking our worries away!

We have taken such pride and joy in creating our home. Its “quirkiness’’ – hot air balloon wallpaper, secret doorways in dark blue bookshelves, sauna complete with dousing shower, full size wood burning fireplace on the back porch – reflects us and our lifestyle.  We envisioned a home that would be open and welcome to our family, our friends, and our children’s friends. Therefore, we were more than happy to share it on the Showcase of Homes house tour and had no hesitation about the prospect of hundreds of visitors. 

Showcase of Homes
Showcase of Homes

Photo by Tom Garrett

It was a treat to hear the reactions of the visitors.  It appears that one of the most intriguing features in our home is our refrigerator from Earl B. Feiden Appliances that opens with just the touch of a finger.  It got touched by a lot of fascinated fingers!

We were not unfamiliar with the experience of opening one’s home to a home tour.  My husband’s family home has been on the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation House Tour a couple of times.  We were aware and comfortable with the fact that when an organization such as the Saratoga Builders Association asks to use your home, they are dedicated to making sure your property is enjoyed and respected.  But, most importantly, our participation provided us the opportunity to lend our support to the charitable mission of The Saratoga Builders Association.  We were honoured to be included and thrilled to be able to support this great cause.

Three and a half years later, after living through two hurricanes and a global pandemic, we are looking forward to resuming a normal, routine, life at 184 Spring Street. Although with Adam’s recent decision to get involved in, and give back to Saratoga, as a candidate for Commissioner of Finance, our lives might be anything but normal and routine!   But, as you can see, that is the life we live and love!


When You Own the COVER HOUSE!

Building a home was far from our original plan. However, after finishing my family medicine residency and moving from Long Island to Saratoga that dream slowly became a reality. After following the advice of multiple patients, my Saratoga born-and-raised husband Louis, and I ventured out to find the location of our dream home. We would drive through town and throughout neighborhoods in awe of the beautiful houses in Saratoga Springs. Slowly we started noticing the details that just years prior would have been overlooked. Then on the advice of a realtor about checking out a neighborhood off Loudon Road we found ourselves driving through Rose Terrace for which I immediately turned to my husband and stated, “I can see us living here.” Fast forward a few weeks and we were meeting with David Trojanski, whom was at that time, with Bonacio Construction and we set the wheels in motion to build our first home!

During the initial stages of signing our contract we attended the Showcase of Homes. It was such an inspiring activity. I remember taking notes about details from all the homes we visited.

Fast forward a few months later, we finalize our contract with Bonacio Construction, and we were asked if we would be interested in being a showcase house. 

We excitedly replied “YES!”

Now from talking to different families whose homes were in the showcases, apparently the process is different for each builder. For us it came with some added perks which aside from some upgrades, it was also mainly getting the opportunity to work with decorator and owner Shelly Walker from Finishing Touches Home Decor. Shelly accompanied us with all our selections and directed our choices to coordinate them together. She had a vision of it all working together – much more than what we could have accomplished, with our complete inexperience in building a home. Having Shelly help Louis and I could not have come at a better time because it was around this time, we had found out we were expecting our second child. Working as a primary care doctor, pregnant, and running around after a 2-year-old, while building a home – yes, having assistance in the decision-making process was most beneficial!

It was a 9-month process, (both the house building and baby making!!) 

For the house it was picking Every. Single. Thing. From the fixtures, lighting, doors, floors, windows… Everything! 

Then… Shelly went to work decorating for the Showcase!

It was stagged with a mixture of furniture bought for our new home (such as our toddler’s room) with the help of Finishing Touches and some pieces strictly for stagging purposes. Of course, after seeing our home decorated so beautifully, I had to buy some (most!) of those pieces too! 

In addition to our home being the entry for Bonacio Construction in the 2017 Showcase of Homes, it was chosen as the Cover House for media sponsor Simply Saratoga Magazine (a Saratoga TODAY publication) and appeared in the commercial with local anchor and SOH Spokesperson, Liz Bishop. It was also the home where the judges’ lunch was held. Our house was viewed and admired by many before it became our home. 

I can now admit, I did not want to be around when people toured my new house. It is realistic to understand that different people have different taste, but I did not want to hear one negative word that might have been said if somebody did not agree with our choices. We stopped by briefly at the end of the first day, then waited patiently through the three weeks of the showcase till the stagging could be undone, the house was cleaned, and we could finally move to our dream-come-true home!

Our home was not only beautifully crafted and decorated but was an award-winning home! But the biggest prize came with getting to know our neighbors… who have turned into not only our best friends, but our family.

Yes, I would recommend being a Showcase Home!

Showcase of Homes

The Ethiers

Showcase of Homes

Behind the Scenes Photos

Photos by Alice Corey Photography


Behind the Cover

In addition to the volunteers that put on the Showcase of Homes, the builders, craftsmen, and designers who create these beautiful homes and the advertisers that enable us to provide these beautiful magazines for free… we couldn’t do this without these two!

A Note from Our Cover Girl...

There’s just something about a new home—its shiny promise of happy times, and the lure of open floor plans and gleaming kitchens, designer tiles and acres of closet space!   From the minute I first heard about the Showcase of Homes nearly 20 years ago, I knew this was the Saratoga event for me--admiring the craftmanship and creativity of local builders and picturing myself burning another meal in the kitchen or entertaining throngs in the dining room.   

For me, the Showcase of Homes has always been a license to dream.  If you make the tour often enough, you earn “regular” status, and that’s how the dream got even bigger when the amazing Chris Bushee asked me if I would like to be on the cover of Simply Saratoga magazine’s Showcase edition and emcee the annual awards banquet. Oh, the fun we’ve had since then! 

It all starts with a photo shoot…

Well, actually, it starts with a shopping excursion to find just the right outfit to go with a range hood or a quartz countertop—most of my covers have been in kitchens (which my friends find quite ironic since I’m the first to admit the only thing I know about a kitchen is how to unload the dishwasher or open the refrigerator door!)  Both Pam Worth at Spoken and Heidi West at Lifestyles have this uncanny knack of finding “just the right thing” that will complement a farmhouse sink or a stone fireplace. And then it’s hair and makeup.  One year, clever stylist Diane Palma even gave me long extensions that I think scared everyone a little bit—including me! 

And that sets up an annual reunion with some of the most fun people I know--brilliant photographer Randall Perry who has this uncanny knack for getting me to hold my arm at a completely unnatural angle and have it look exactly right when he snaps the picture.  Thanks to his vision, I become one with the room.  Fun-filled Barry Potoker each year takes not-so-secret delight in each one of my many bloopers that accompanies the filming of the Showcase commercial—waiting to pounce on each one for the blooper reel on the website!  Chris Bushee is both gentle and supportive, and the voice of reason as we plan the shots that will make the cover of the magazine. They do all the work—long before I even show up, the shoot is choreographed, and I just step in to let all seeing it know that this is the Showcase of Homes edition! 

I am always amazed at the talent and thoughtfulness that goes into making that cover happen.  As I tell the team each year, they’re so good that I don’t even know myself when they get through with me! And what they don’t know is that, while I’m reciting my lines, I’m secretly checking out the floor plan and calculating closet space to see how it fits into my latest Showcase dream.  

See you on the tour!



Simply Saratoga

Simply Saratoga Magazine is published  by Saratoga Publishing, LLC, who brings you such award-winning niche magazines as Saratoga Bride, Saratoga Family, Welcome Home and the weekly newspaper, Saratoga TODAY!

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