May//June 2023 Buffalo HOME Magazine

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transform your home with housecrafters! - BACK COVERpg. 23 BUFFALO MAY//JUNE 2023 let’s go explore | for the Home Chasing the Light capturing moments and memories with misty hofert On the Road busy mama shares must-see places from canada to rochester gardenblooms - ANDlive simple. grow food. urban homesteading with dandelion haven Western New York’s Premier Custom Homebuilder Building a community of high-quality homes on Serenity Court in Clarence - page 6on the cover JUREK BUILDERS
G�an� Openin� MAY 20 th Creating beautiful spaces with functional, timeless, & meaningful items for your home. thee_mercantile 7065 Erie Road, Derby, NY 14047 716.773.0988 THEEMERCANTILE.COM Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-5pm

on the cover

6 • Jurek Custom Builders

Western New York’s premier custom home builder developing luxury designs features

9 • From the Artists’ Desk

21 • Sweet Buffalo

Young Buffalo Bills fan looking for a loving family garden & blooms pg. 12

17 • Live Simple. Grow Food. Dandelion Haven shares their love of urban homesteading and their favorite garden recipes

buffalo faces pg. 23

let’s go explore pg. 34

38 • On the Road

Busy Mama shares must-see places from Canada to Rochester

44 • Lots of Merry to Go Round

Herschell Carrousel gears up for their busy season for the home pg. 48

54 • Chasing the Light

Capturing memories and moments with local mom, Misty Hofert

Cover Photography: Sarah Christ, Featured Media ™

Featured Media™ will make every effort to see that all advertising copy, which is neatly presented, is correctly printed. We will not be responsible for print quality of any advertising not created by Featured Media™ personnel. We take no responsibility for statements or claims made in any advertisement. We reserve the right to refuse any and/or all advertising.

High Quality Craftsmanship Mixed with Integrity and Transparency

-Western New York’s Premier Cus tom HomebuilderBY

Named Buffalo Niagara Builders Association’s Builder of the Year in 2013 and 2017, Jurek Builders of Clarence makes dreams a reality for individuals and families across Buffalo.

Henry Jurek III of Jurek Builders is passionate about what his family’s company does. They pride themselves in their core values of honesty, integrity, and high-quality craftsmanship to retain and build their company reputation as Wester n New York’s premier custom home builder. Jurek says their goal is to maintain that reputation, creating dream homes for generations to come.

Founded in 1972 by Jurek’s parents, his father a hard-working interior finish carpenter, Jurek Builders prides itself on integrity of materials and full transparency with each customer. Jurek says their goal is to provide an exce ptional home-building experience for each customer. “This is probably the greatest expense people will ever spend, so we want to ensure it’s a positive experience,” Jurek says.

Jurek explains that he wants to maintain the family legacy with this company. He says, “Neither of my parents had a college degree. They worked extremely hard to build the company together from the ground up. Growing up, my mom and dad were my heroes. My late mom was passionate and tough, especially in a male-dominated industry. When my dad says he’s proud of me, that means a lot.”

Jurek remembers starting at his family’s company when he was just eight years old, sweeping and riding to jobs with his dad. He fondly remembers before that sitting on his dad’s lap while his dad operated bulldozers, and now when Jurek sees his dad doing the same with his nephews, it brings back good memories.

Truly a family-run business, today Jurek leads sales and marketing, his dad runs jobs and manages the contractors, and father and son both meet with customers and project architects, review pricing, and jump in to do the hands-on work when needed.

“We’re not drive-by builders; we’re involved in ever y detail of the building process,” Jurek says. His sister Jillian recently joined them in the front office, taking over the roles their late mother took care of, and their aunt Charlene handles the bookkeeping.

Building a community on Serenity Court in Clarence

Why Clarence? “This is where my dad grew up. My grandfather had a farm, and that farmland is actually where the company’s first community was developed off Clarence Center Rd.” Aligning with the Field of Dreams movie’s release, Jurek Builders called theirs the “Home Show Field of Dreams.”

Buffalo is home for Jurek Builders and Jurek cannot imagine being anywhere else. It’s “where all my greatest memories are.” He’s lived here all his life. It’s where he met his wife and where they’re starting a family. “It’s where the future lies,” Jurek says.

When Henry II retires, his son intends to expand Jurek Builder’s scope to patio homes in the Rochester area, but for now, the elder Jurek has no plans to retire so the company remains focused on the Buffalo area.

Jurek is excited about the company’s Serenity Court, an entire Clarence road the company purchased and plans to build all the homes on. He says they recently finished and dedicated the road, so now they can start to build the homes. Jurek says on Serenity Court, “We’re not just building homes; we’re building a community for people.” Their customers love the new development because they know it will have exclusively Jurek houses, so the whole neighborhood will have high-quality homes.


Elegant, Exquisite Estate Home�

Using the highest quality materials and craftsmanship, Jurek Builders has secured its reputation as Western NY’s premier custom luxury home builder, whose homes have a level of distinction not met by any other builder. Each project is specifically designed to fulfill the homeowner’s vision.

High quality craftsmanship is key to everything Jurek Builders does. They use only top-of-the-line materials built to last for generations to come, including 2x6s instead of 2x4s, all plywood instead of particle board, and copper piping instead of the weaker plastic piping. Jurek says they build very positive working relationships with quality subcontractors, so they get the best work, and get it done on time.

Integrity and transparency are key to Jurek. Each month, the company offers customers itemized bills showing exactly where their money goes in the process, and customers see estimates and quotes Jurek obtains to get the best materials for the most competitive price: the builder’s price. Customers also have both Jurek’s cell numbers and can ask questions or check on things at any point in the building process.

During the pandemic, Jurek and other builders had trouble with supply chain issues, but Jurek anticipated shortages and price hikes, storing materials at their warehouse as needed, and the company weathered the storm well, with their customers’ needs and wishlists top of mind throughout the process. Supplies and costs are now moderating, which further benefits Jurek’s customers.

Jurek says he can still take a customer through any house the company has ever built, which is a testament to their continuing positive relationship and reputation.

“Your Home i� Your Sanctuary”

Jurek Builders have built hundreds of one-of-a-kind homes across the region, including for Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, well-known surgeons, physicians, lawyers, and investment bankers. Other builders even want their personal houses to be absolutely perfect, so they hire Jurek, which speaks volumes to Jurek’s quality and reputation.

Jurek said he and his wife moved into their own newly-built Jurek Builders home a few months ago and he described that when his wife walked out of the basement onto the patio one day, she said it was like a vacation beyond her wildest dreams. That’s precisely what the Jurek family seeks to accomplish with each and every home they build.

Jurek explains that “Your home is your sanctuary,” and with Jurek Builders, homeowners can make any dream on their wishlists a reality. Some customers want smart homes, with everything run from a phone or other device. Some want indoor pools or fitness centers with saunas and massage rooms. Also very popular today are home theaters. One athlete even wanted a cold plunge pool. Computer study areas are common, as are gaming rooms in the otherwise extra space above garages. They even dig extra deep basements to accommodate golf simulators.

Anything customers want, almost always, Jurek can make happen. People really can make their own home the place of their dreams. Why go anywhere else?

“If you can dream it, we can make it a reality. Anything’� po�sible.”
you’re in the market for the house of your dreams, contact Jurek Builders and let them
make your wishlist a reality. 716-741-7055 |
Fireplace Outlet the small store with a warm hearth 8216 Main Street • Williamsville • 716.631.9696 Make your home a destination.

- from the artists’ desk -

April showers bring May flowers – and the onset of Summer! It’s time to throw open the windows, welcome the breeze, get out our gardening gloves, and get back outside! With blooms abounding and an endless list of sights to see, at Home we’re getting ready to make the most of what the Western New York region has to offer.

On the cover, Jurek Home Builders flexes creative muscles with their impressive array of local builds highlighting their highquality craftsmanship and expertise. Speaking of expertise, take a look at our Buffalo Faces section to find some of the best in the industry including Julie Muscato Home & Gifts, 84 Lumber, and AAA Timberline.

Do you know where your food comes from? Germaine and Michelle Miller of Dandelion Haven put a fresh spin on farm to table with their urban homesteading practices and tips with the notion “Live Simple. Grow Food.”

Sweet Buffalo is back with another feel-good story about finding a forever family for a young Buffalo Bills fan!

The beginning of summer is a wonderful time to get out and explore, and Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is a fun day trip for the whole family! Head out to Tonawanda for an

educational and amusing experience, and learn all about the carousel’s storied history right here in Buffalo!

Anastasia Fusillo, also known as Busy Mama from Ontario, Canada, gives us the inside scoop on wonderfully fun trips just across the border. With tips on traveling with young ones, check out the must-see beautiful sights!

Photo ops are fun for the whole family, and Misty Hofert joins us with advice on capturing natural light and childhood milestones.

Whether you’re getting your hands dirty as you show off your green thumb or lacing up your sneakers for local hikes, there is always something new and exciting going on in Buffalo. Catch a few rays and enjoy the beautiful blooms – summer is here!

mark your calendars for our summer bash at Farmer’s creekside!

- scan for more details-

585.226.8111 |


10 THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM | Buffalo Kitchen | Bath | Additions | Sunrooms Awnings | Deck and Patio Covers Screen Rooms | Covered Porches Small Projects | Railings | Decks & More If you’re looking for ways to enhance the look and feel of your outdoor living space or patio, contact our team today! 9074 MAIN STREET, CLARENCE • 716.683.2100 • CORTESE .NET ENHANCE YOUR HOME & BACKYARD!


“We are very pleased with the professional job that Cortese did with our enclosed patio and deck. They were a delight to work with from start to finish. The work crew seemed to enjoy working together and had a nice attitude. We are enjoying the finished product immensely & highly recommended Cortese to our friends who are also impressed & enjoying the patio with us.” - Paul F.


First Monday of the Month • 6PM Cortese Showroom Kitchen

Italian Chef, Jerry Clementi from Cipollina’s Restaurant will provide a hands-on experience.

Limited Spots - Register Now!

View our cooking class schedule & reserve your spot! CORTESE.NET/COOKING�CLASSES/

12 THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM | Buffalo Expert, Quality Craftsmanship 66 SHELDON AVENUE, DEPEW 716.685.8866 UPHOLSTERYUNLIMITEDLLC.COM Garden & Blooms SPECIAL SECTION Your Local Spring Garden Guide Grow Food. Live Simple. Urban Homesteading with Dandelion Haven GARDEN & BLOOMS

Fill each day with something that brings you joy.

The Frase Farm is a U-Pick flower farm just north o f Buffalo, NY. The owner, Morgan, began growing flowers as a way to cope with postpar tum depression in 2021. When the blooms brought their family back to life, she felt compelled to share them with her community. She and her husband, Alex, decl ared a No Pesticide Promise, the most important thing to them as they raise thre e kids on the farm.

Morgan Shares Tips for Picking the Perfect Bouquet

At most flower farms, you’re greeted with all the supplies you need: a bucket of water, pruners, and brief instruction of the flowers they grow. Then, t he experience is yours! Immerse yourself in dozens of rows of zinnias, celosia, sunflowers, rudbeckia, snapdragons (and more!) and build a bouquet uniquely yours.

Many flowers, but specifically zinnias, benefit fro m the “wiggle test.” Grab the stem 6 inches down and give it a wiggle. If the flower head feels sturdy, it’s ready for cutting. If it’s floppy and weak, it need s a few more days.

For many flowers, such as sunflowers, you want to cut them as they’re just starting to open. They wil l continue to open at home, which extends their vase life by several days.

Choose a variety of flowers! Start with focal flowe rs, like zinnias and sunflowers. Add line flowers, like celosia and snapdragons. Don’t forget filler flower s, such as yarrow and feverfew, and head to our greenery section for a final touch!

Cut your stems long! This will give you room to play with the height of your vase, but also allows the plant to focus its energy on growth. Just make sure to leave a set of leaves at the base of the stem.

Follow aftercare instructions at home, like changin g the water daily and giving stems an angled trim to allow for better water absorption.

Finally, enjoy! At Frase Farm, their No Pesticide Promise means you can rest assured you and your loved ones are breathing in nothing but nature.

5180 Feigle Rd., Lockport, NY 14094

A family-owned & operated business, Sara’s Garden & Nursery began as a small farm wagon offering homegrown vegetables and flowers. Today at their family-run nursery, there is nearly 20,000 sq.ft. of greenhouse space where they grow all of the annuals, vegetable plants and hanging baskets that are offered.

��� E��� A�����, B�������� • (���) ���-���� • ����� ������������.��� OPEN DAILY 9AM - 5PM �SARASGARDENCENTER
- inspiring gardeners for over 40 years -
Buffalo | THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM 15 GARDEN & BLOOMS Homegrown and Local. Badding Farm Market & Garden Center 10820 Transit Road, East Amherst | 716.636.7824 Follow us on FB for upcoming events & classes! - stay in the knowGet this magazine right to your mailbox for just $19.99 or be part of our free emailed newsletter with our latest local articles, editions, & offers 6 ISSUES! for $19.99 SUBSCRIBE NOW! THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM Landscape designs for the DIYer We design. You install. Save thousands. ... Every landscape design comes with a scaled blueprint, photorealistic rendering, illustrated plant shopping list, and instructions for installation & maintenance. On-site and virtual services available. CREATE A GARDEN YOU LOVE! 716.508.0852 // WWW.MYGARDENETTE.COM “Nora is very meticulous and attentive with her recommendations. She is a very friendly person and really cares about providing sound advice.” - PETER C. Owner, Nora Saintz
16 THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM | Buffalo Rochester Visit our website to book your appointment or class! Re-Potting Station Visit our potting station to come in and pot up your plants! Houseplant Hospital Let us diagnose what's going on with your plant and treat it! Monstera Makeover A professional will tame your out-of-control plant! Houseplant Sitting We take care of your plants while you enjoy a stress-free time away from home We also offer: Houseplant Consult | Plantscaping | Water Club P U T A P L A N T O N I T 715 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo // (716) 931-5092 P U T A P L A N T O N I T . S H O P W e o f f e r a v a r i e t y o f f u n , e d u c a t i o n a l c l a s s e s t o t u r n y o u r t h u m b g r e e n ! O u r S e r v i c e s P L A N T S W E L O V E Y O U R L I K E O U R O W N !

Live Simple. Grow Food.




Germaine says urban farming has become so influential in recent years because

“If we’re not growing it, we have to go out and buy it. My standard for what I eat is really high now. A lot of my friends invite us out for dinner, and restaurant food doesn’t meet the standard for what we have in our own backyards. We read a lot of labels to know what’s included in store bought food.”

Sustainable and organic living can seem like a desirable but impractical concept for many Americans. With inflation prices soaring and an unsteady economic outlook, can a healthy diet actually be associated with affordable family friendly fare?

In the years since 2020, “small space urban farming” has positively impacted our local region. When communities grow and rely upon their own produce, this not only proves a positive way to put food on the table, but is also a cost effective and rewarding hobby.

A local Buffalo couple has become synonymous with urban farming, and their social media presence on Instagram and YouTube continues to draw followers and growing interest every day. Germaine and Michelle Miller run Dandelion Haven, which is what they call their urban homestead and Instagram page. Their concept is “Live simple, grow food.” Their content is uniquely fun and approachable for both experts and those looking to try gardening for the first time.

Dandelion Haven’s posts illustrate advice that helps viewers develop basic skills to hone their green thumbs. This is surely a process that takes time and patience but is ultimately a gratifying one. Germaine says, “Michelle was born and raised in the City. She’s from New Jersey; I am from Buffalo,” and Germaine “caught the bug starting off with growing tomato plants from her apartment.”

Dandelion Haven’s how-to advice and approach developed from years of learned experience. During the pandemic, the pastime transformed and ultimately unintentionally found

a platform on social media. Michelle and Germaine now encourage followers to incorporate urban farming into their practical everyday life to live a more organic and sustainable lifestyle.

Most Americans are forced to fork over hard-earned cash to buy fresh fruit and vegetables year-round, while the Millers are satisfied by taking ownership of their own produce for more reasons than one. There’s “a huge difference between what you get in the store and growing produce in your own backyard. It’s phenomenal. You can work one day and get free groceries,” says Michelle. By harvesting their own produce, in tandem with reaping the financial benefits, this experience has been an enriching life lesson for the Millers. Dandelion Haven shows how to master creatively using space to harvest and grow plants, vegetables, fruit, and become more independent. Thinking outside the box has always been part of Dandelion Haven’s innovative approach to many of their creations, recipes, and organic living.

On their Instagram page, you will find a catalog for how to preserve food, start a garden, produce your own natural resources, care for livestock, everything DIY, and an assortment of tasty and easy to follow traditional recipes.

Just in time for Spring, try their orange cleaner, safe from harmful chemicals and smelly perfumes, a concoction formulated only with citrus peels and white vinegar ideally allowed to sit for at least 30 days once combined. This cleaner is not abrasive and won’t harm pets or children. Also try Dandelion Haven’s easy recipes such as Basic Salsa and Simple Kombucha to save an expensive trip to the grocery store.

“Healthwise, it makes you conscious about everything you put in your body.”

Simple Kombucha


8 black tea bags

1 gallon of spring or filtered water

1 cup of sugar

1-2 cups of plain kombucha


Bring 1 quart of water to boil.

Turn off heat and add the teabags.

Cover the pot and allow to steep for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes remove the teabags and stir in the sugar and the rest of the water.



2 cups of chopped tomatoes

½ cup of chopped onions

1 clove of finely chopped garlic

½ cup of chopped bell peppers

1 or 2 chopped jalapeño peppers

2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley

¼ teaspoon salt

dash black pepper

Garden Fresh RECIPES

Allow to cool completely.

Pour into the container you will be using.

Add your SCOBY* and 1-2 cups of plain kombucha.

Cover with a cloth to protect from fruit flies, etc. and allow to sit and ferment for 1 to 3 weeks.

You can begin tasting the kombucha after about a week.

When the kombucha reaches the flavor you like, you can bottle and refrigerate it, reserving the SCOBY and 2 cups of liquid for your next batch of kombucha.

You also have the option at this point of flavoring the kombucha with fruit, vegetables, herbs or spices. To do so, add the preferred flavoring to your individual full containers of kombucha, put a lid on tightly and allow to sit for a few days to a week.

Once the taste is to your preference, strain and refrigerate.

*SCOBY is made up of lactic acid bacteria, acetic acid bacteria, and yeast. It serves an essential role in creating the delicious flavors and nutritional advantages of your favorite kombucha beverages.


Place tomatoes in a strainer and allow them to drain for at least an hour.

Combine strained tomatoes with all other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

This is a good time to taste and see if you like the salsa as is or if you want to add more of one of the ingredients.

The best part about making salsa is you can make it to fit your taste buds.

If you prefer restaurant style salsa you can put the salsa in a blender and pulse to your desired consistency.

Put in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Learn how to sharpen your green thumb by visiting Dandelion Haven at @dandelionhaven Instagram or on their YouTube channel Dandelionhaven

Germaine & Michelle


Growing quality plants for Western New York for more than 40 years!

Mike Weber’s Greenhouses began by growing more traditional plants in 1978 but has since expanded into a specialty grower, quickly becoming the leader in the area.

We are a niche greenhouse specializing in products beyond simple annual bedding plants, including Gardener’s Own, accent liners, herbs, and beyond. With 14 growing greenhouses, our product list continues to expand as we sell to both retail and wholesale customers and have the ability to ship to the rest of the United States.

- Come visit us today! -

42 French Rd, West Seneca • 716.822.8887

Open April - August • M-F: 8am-6pm, Sat: 8am-4pm, Sun: 9am-4pm

• Gaming and Programming

• Pets – Dogs and Ferrets

• Construction and building things

Ronnell’s goals are to �ind a “forever family” and get out of the foster care system. His ideal family would be a family that includes a mother, father, and dogs.

He would prefer to live in a suburban setting, and would like to be the youngest child in the home. He would also prefer to have his own room.

His adoptive family would likely need ongoing suppo r� to ensure a successful transition from foster care and to continue to process his past in a healthy way.

Sweet Bu�falo had the great pleasure of meeting Ron nell on the Sweet Bu�falo segment on News 4 Bu�falo where he shared his story and his wish for a family to adopt him.

We are grateful to the Hear� Gallery of WNY for all they do to help children in foster care. Ronnell is an amazing young man who deserves a family to call his own.

For more “Just Great Feels!” stories visit: SWEETBUFFALO716.COM FB + IG @SweetBuffalo716 TikTok @SweetBuffaloToTheRescue
If you would like to learn more about Ronnell, please visit www.hear� western-new-york/ 2022/ronnell STORY COURTESY OF THE HEART GALLERY OF WNY
716-741-7055 | Quality. Craftsmanshi�. Lu�ury. Family owned home builder developing luxury designs. No two of our homes are ever the same, with each built specifically for our clients’ needs. This is because our skilled craftsmen and attention to detail creates quality, luxury homes designed for a lifetime of distinguished living. “The Highest End Custom Home Builder for all of New York State!” - Modern Home Builders ELEGANT, EXQUISITE ESTATE HOMES
faces faces BUFFALO
SECTION Meet the people behind the businesses that help our community thrive, featuring: 84 LUMBER | JULIE MUSCATO HOME & GIFTS AAA TIMBERLINE

building materials


Alex Dobosh, General Manager of 84 Lumber Orchard Park, has been with the company for 26 years. 84 Lumber Company is the nation’s largest privately held supplier of building materials, manufactured components and industry-leading services for single and multi-family residences and commercial buildings.

84 Lumber is a family-owned company with high standards of personalized service for their customers. The operation is truly a team effort. The sales, installation, operations, delivery, and inside teams work in tandem to create a customer experience tailored to the needs of each project.

Alex praises the efforts of his team, mentioning that while they have a light-hearted and fun working atmosphere, “everyone knows that getting the job done for our customers comes first and foremost. These guys make it happen each day.”

The company is also very active in the community, taking pride in giving back to charitable causes wherever they can.

Alex has created a culture of excellence at the Orchard Park location, raising the bar on customer service. “With a team like ours, it is virtually impossible to not be inspired to come to work,” he says of his fellow associates. “Working with these guys is my favorite part of the job as well as interacting with our customers.”

Some of Alex’s most cherished moments during his tenure at 84 Lumber are seeing associates he works with “get opp ortunities and be promoted, enabling them to fulfill their goals. They are the future of the company, and the future is bright.”

Alex dedicates his life to providing for his wife of 25 years, Tricia, and his children, Jacob and Chloe, and he loves leading the team at 84 Lumber’s Orchard Park location.

Taylor Road, Orchard Park | 716.662.0084 |
photography by SARAH CHRIST article by SUZIE WELLS
“We treat each customer like they are a part of our family.”
Dobosh 84 Lumber

interior design

Julie Muscato Julie Muscato Home & Gifts

Along the banks of the grand Erie Canal in downtown Lockport, there is a shop that awaits to embrace and welcome you. It is Julie Muscato Home & Gifts, where you will find the moments you have been looking for and have been dreaming of to “create your beautiful” design and enhance your home.

Upon walking through the doors you know you are going to have a sensory experience. From the furniture, the upholstered sofas and chairs, to the artistic lamps, it all takes your breath away as you walk about the 7,000 square-foot showroom. Muscato Home & Gifts offers a wide range of services from designing entire home s or rooms and offices to a la carte pieces such as custom pillows, unique lamps, and accessories that are as varied as a garden full of flowers.

Muscato prides herself on developing a specialized full-service interior design center and shopping experience. Cus tomers will receive customizable design services, whether it be furniture, window treatments, upholstery, bedding or wallpaper

Filled with beautiful accessories for your home, fashionable clothing, purses, jewelry, and unique items, there is a gift shop as well and you most certainly will always find something to take home!

You are cordially invited to come in to partake and experience Julie Muscato Home & Gifts. Shop beautiful and live beautiful. As we all know, there is no place like home!

THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM 27 BUFFALO 1 Walnut Street, Lockport | 716.201.1274 |
“Let’s create a beautiful space together.”


& masonry

Jeff Kramer & Ryan Gott AAA

Western New York natives, Jeff Kramer and Ryan Gott, co-own and operate AAA Timberline out of Clarence Center, acce pting customer requests for work on their masonry, chimneys, and fireplaces.

The foundation of Timberline’s long-standing reputation is the superior quality of their work and excelling at cus tomer service.

Ryan speaks to that fact by saying, “it’s easy to take for granted the skill set needed for masonry, but the difference between this just being someone’s job and what we do as a career is the detailed craftsmanship that shows in our finished product. The crews know this and they’re accountable, aware that everyone can see their work and they take great pride and responsibility in that.”

At this time of year, AAA Timberline is just finishing the “indoor season,” installing fireplaces and new looks for hearth walls.

Jeff says, “Winter is a change of pace for us with everyone excited about working on hearth renovations and installing new fireplaces. It’s something we look forward to every winter, renovating based on homeowners’ ideas. These are the jobs where you team up to make a transformation that is very special to the p eople who live there, and you can’t beat that kind of advertising – nothing tops a homeowner’s ‘word of mouth.’”

Spring’s warmth means crews are gearing up and stretching their legs for the “outdoor season” of brick and mortar.

“After this brutal winter, we’re very happy with the number of calls and emails we’ve received already,” Ryan says. “That shows that people are out looking at what the weather did to their home.”

“Our techs are ready to work on some exterior mason ry,” Jeff says. “We are still doing a lot of chimney sweeps and inspections, but it’ll be nice to go roof-top soon and be out in the summer sun.”

6670 Heise Road, Clarence Center | 716.741.2400 |
BUFFALO photography by SARAH CHRIST article by SUZIE WELLS
“If you take the time to truly listen to people about what they want and share your expertise with consideration - then contracting becomes easy for everyone... and what’s left is the execution of your craft. The result, typically, is that the homeowners become your biggest advocates and are happy to spread the word for you.”
Explore Guide // On the Road with Busy Mama // Herschell Carrousel LET’S GO
Buffalo | THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM 35 ONE ARCHITECT. ONE FAMILY. TWO HOUSES. ONE DAY. VISIT WRIGHTINWNY.ORG Experience Frank Lloyd Wright through the Martin family’s city and summer homes. Tour both estates in one day, with lunch in between. JOINT TOUR PACKAGE NOW OFFERED MONTHLY
PHOTO: Matthew Digati
A home + lifestyle destination for designer interiors and de cor Experience our showroom or shop online WH127HOME.COM PUBLIC MARKET DISTRICT | 120 RAILROAD STREET | RO CHESTER LET’S GO EXPLORE
PHOTO: Chris Kalisiak
36 THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM | Buffalo Boutique Hotel Rooms | Tavern | Events be our guest The Avon Inn is perfect for casual dining, an overnight stay, or a staycation in one of our 14 boutique style hotel rooms. Just a short drive to Letchworth State Park, the best antique stores and Downtown Rochester! follow us on 55 E. Main Street, Avon | 585.226.8181 Book online at Reserve online! buffalo waterfront explore the OPENING MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND! Our paddle board and kayak rentals include everything you need to enjoy a relaxing trip on the water. Explore the Buffalo River at your leisure, or book one of our tours to find out even more about Buffalo’s great industrial past! Wander THROUGH OUR SHOPS AND Stroll AROUND OUR GARDENS DARIEN COUNTRY COTTAGE 10448 HARPER RD, DARIEN 585.547.9591 OPEN 11:00-5:00 EVERY DAY Farmhouse Vintage Garden Decor LET’S GO EXPLORE

far from a hotel room, at 34 state the suites are beyond what you expect

Boutique lodging suites in the heart of the Village of Skaneateles, NY. At 34 State you will have the pleasure of experiencing a property that blurs the lines between a historic inn with the luxuries of a boutique hotel, yet it affords you the privacy of your own spacious suite. This combination allows you to have the feel of living like the locals do. 34 State has quickly become one of the most sought after places to stay because it is distinctly different in so many ways. Unique designer décor, handsome antiques along with exquisite beds and bedding will lure you in and the charming Village only steps away will make you never want to leave. 34 State is also pet-friendly!


on the road with Busy Mama

Anastasia Fusillo is known as Busy Mama in Ontario, Canada. She started her blogging journey when she felt isolated after moving to a new town. When her daughter was two years old and her son was five, Anastasia started sharing ways they got out of the house on her personal Instagram page. Other parents began expressing interest and asking questions about her adventures: the various hiking trails, outdoor events, museums, and more in Canada, and so Anastasia’s newfound popularity led her to create an Instagram page dedicated to her family’s adventures!

During the pandemic, Anastasia’s page especially blew up. With families desperate to find safe activities outdoors, she began providing important details about places her family visited. She shared details such as which trails and facilities have restrooms, free parking, stroller accessibility, and more. As Anastasia’s blog grew, she received inquiries from businesses to review and recommend their products and services to her followers. Now, Anastasia visits two to three new places a week to review and create blog content for!

find more adventures

Check out Anastasia and her family’s adventures on Instagram @busymamaco

rochester museum & science center

tobermory, canada

weekend getaways

Family Road Trips from Tobermory, Canada to Rochester, New York


About 5 hours away from Buffalo but worth the trip!

This very small town on the Bruce Peninsula known for its turquoise waters and starry night skies is a wellknown destination for shipwrecks that attract scuba divers and kayakers. Tobermory has few hotels, so be sure to book in advance, but the town offers shopping, ice cream, grocery stores, and Airbnbs. Check out Crowsnest Pub for good food.

must-see places

The Grotto: A short hike from the parking lot will take you to the top of The Grotto. This unique rocky space surrounded by turquoise blue waters is the perfect spot to swim. If you walk further you can find a cave in which many people swim, though you will need advance reservations.

Flowerpot Island: Take a boat over to the island known for two flowerpot-shaped rock pillars on the shores and hike down to the pillars for a photo op if water levels are safe. This is a great location for a short hike, a fun cave and the Flowerpot Island Lighthouse to explore.


~ 1.5 hours from Buffalo

A perfect tourist destination with many attractions, breathtaking views of the skylines and mountains, local art and culture experiences, and a vibrant nightlife. Some of Anastasia’s favorites in Milton include:

Halton County Radial Railway Museum: The first and largest electric Railway Museum of Ontario and a place of major historical significance, the Halton County Radial Railway Museum has collected, restored, and preserved various Railway-related objects over the years. Exploring the train interiors here is sure to delight train enthusiasts of all ages. Admission includes unlimited historic streetcar rides on the scenic track, including a stop at the famous ice cream shop (approximately a 20-minute ride).

Lochland Botanicals: This is the most beautiful space, with fields and fields of different wildflowers and millions of smiling sunflowers. Visitors may pay-to-pick and receive a mason jar and a pair of scissors and start exploring on your own. Or take a wagon ride and hear stories of the farm. With so much to see and do here, Lochland includes many beautiful photo ops. Be sure to check out the Gnome homes!

Crawford Lake Conservation Area: A gorgeous location to stretch your legs and explore! There aren’t many other places you can walk a boardwalk around a lake, and it’s flat without being a long walk. The lake is so clear and blue you can see fish and turtles swimming about. When you finish your hike, visit the Longhouse Village and learn more about First Nations history.

Lavender Farms: A must-see are the lavender fields in Milton. Kelso Lavender is the ultimate hidden gem (especially for a beautiful photography backdrop) with fields of endless rolling purple hills. Walk around the fields and enjoy the ambiance or grab some lavender to bring home. TerreBleu is another lavender field just north of Milton with a picturesque view not to be missed. Visit their infamous ‘yellow door’ and take some memorable pictures. You can also join an essential oil or bee tour! Visit in mid-June to late July to see them in bloom.

kelso lavender
must-see places
crawford lake conservation area

bird kingdom clifton hills

adventure map


Clifton Hill: This side of the historic area is only an hour from Halton, where Anastasia’s family resides, and there are plenty of kid-friendly activities. Families can explore streets of arcades and unique houses, check out a beautiful butterfly conservatory, choose between three water parks, and enjoy a view of the city via the Niagara SkyWheel, a huge ferris wheel! Families can enjoy lunch or dinner at the popular Rainforest Cafe, where animals come to life! Parents will love the “miniVegas” vibe this side of the Falls provides with the assortment of casinos. Visit The Bird Kingdom which consists of a big room full of various birds soaring the enclosed space. It’s a unique experience to see birds so closely.

Niagara Glen Nature Centre: Enjoy less crowds and more nature? Hiking the Niagara Escarpment in Niagara Falls is an absolute must. Check out the Niagara Glen Nature Centre for gorge-top views and great hiking trails.

Halton County Radial Railway Museum


The Strong National Museum of Play had been recommended to the Fusillo family to check out for years, so they finally decided to plan a road trip. With the drive being only about 2.5 hours, it was very doable for Anastasia, her husband, and their two young children. Anastasia planned a four-day adventure to Rochester by first booking an Airbnb in Downtown. The Fusillos checked out the famous Strong National Museum of Play, the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the Upper and Lower Falls, Seneca Park Zoo, and several bridges across the city! Next, Anastasia plans to check out the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium, Dinosaur BBQ, and hiking trails they learned about during the first trip.


must-see places

On the state side of Niagara Falls, tour Old Fort Niagara, explore The Panic Room, or enjoy a Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour. In the winter, lace up those ice skates. Enjoy a leisurely day exploring Old Falls Street, the threeblock cobblestone street connecting Niagara Falls State Park with the Convention Center that serves as an entertainment district with food vending, festivals, concerts, and family-friendly activities along the dynamic space. The kids will love the Aquarium of Niagara with more than 200 aquatic animal species!


Find cheap activities for the car. You can find small games, Play-Doh, and coloring books at a dollar store!

Pack snacks. Be sure you have an assortment of healthy snacks like applesauce, juice pouches, crackers, and granola bars. Individual servings are easiest. And be sure to keep water bottles between the kids in the car.

old fort niagara

Dress light. It’s easier to leave the winter coats and boots in the trunk so your kids don’t feel bulky during the car ride. Have your children pick out a blanket and a stuffed animal for maximum comfort!

Charge up. Be sure all iPads and other electronics your kids may use in the car are charged for your trip!

Line up driving with nap time. Try to schedule your driving time around your little ones’ nap time so the car ride is smooth and quiet.

Consider busy border times. While the border’s pretty simple to get through these days, it’s still best to travel across with children during quieter times. During the week is ideal, but if you must travel during the weekend, try leaving as early as possible!

Always plan ahead. There’s nothing more important than simply planning ahead when you’re bringing children on a road trip!

Airbnbs over hotels. They are the most kid-friendly option. Families can enjoy more space, eat meals around a dinner table, and even rent baby items, like strollers, for added convenience. The kids can come home to relax and unwind after a long day out with plenty of space.

strong national museum of play
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The season has arrived and spirits are high as the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is now open! Visitors will get to once again have fun partaking in the various activities the North Tonawanda museum has to offer and learning about the influence the Western New York carousel industry has had on the nation.

“Historically, North Tonawanda is really important for amusement and the amusement industry,” says Executive Director Ian Seppala, who adds that 50% of all American wooden carousels come from North Tonawanda. Over 100 carousels built here are still used in the United States and Canada, including one at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester and one at Busch Gardens in Virginia.

The current museum operates within the building where carousels were built from 1915-1960, and Seppala says, “We are the only carousel museum in the world built in the original factory building.”

Located in the Niagara Region, this museum is operated by the Carousel Society of the Niagara Frontier, which serves as a resource for family recreation and learning about the Niagara Region's carousel heritage. The museum showcases the history of the four carousel companies in the Tonawandas, owned and operated by Allan Herschell. The city produced more handcarved carousels than any other US city.

The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum includes two functioning historical carousels and four functioning historical children’s rides, such as the Kiddieland Testing Park Exhibit, as well as over 10 Wurlitzer Band Organs made in North Tonawanda.

Over forty years ago, a group of people discussed bringing a carousel back to North Tonawanda and they initiated the carousel museum concept. Since then, Rae Proefrock, Doug Bathke, and Allan Herschell, namesake of the Allan Herschell Company, worked together to grow the museum.

After touring the original factory building on Thompson St, the committee decided to restore the building and place a carousel in the roundhouse. At the time, the cities of North Tonawanda and Tonawanda were divided into walkable neighborhoods. Volunteers were recruited to walk each street in the two cities to inform residents of the carousel plan and ask for $2 donations. Donors received a yellow ticket for a family carousel ride. People were eager to go, and over $10,000 was raised for a down payment.

The owner of the factory building allowed the committee to use its roundhouse portion for housing and operating the carousel. Volunteers devoted several weekends to cleaning up around the factory. Afterwards, the carousel parts were painted and assembled, with a carnival operator guiding the process.

On the first day of Canal Fest in July 1983, the carousel opened to the public, celebrating the Tonawandas' history. Peanut-filled chocolate horses on a stick were sold to raise the remaining $55,000 for the purchase.

In 1984, the historic factory building was purchased and the long process of converting it into a museum began. The entire factory building was completely restored thanks to public foundation


grants. They also developed exhibits that tell the story of the Herschell and North Tonawanda band organ companies and developed educational programs.

Despite the rich history the museum provides, displaying North Tonawanda’s everlasting presence in the amusement industry, Seppela says they do not take themselves too seriously. Instead, they provide Western New York with a merry, educational, and affordable experience for all to enjoy. They have rides and fun activities for visitors of all ages.

Seppala hopes the museum is a fun, historical experience that brings pride to the community. He says, “We’ve done a lot of amazing things, and we’re continuing to do a lot of great things in the area.”

New this year is the Rounding Board exhibit. The museum received a federal grant from the National Park Service to restore the rounding boards on top of the carousel. Seppala said visitor being done on the rounding boards to restore them t condition. These will be worked on all summer and a complete in October.


First Friday of Each Month


Enjoy the latest favorite picture book at 12:30pm in person and on Facebook Live.

May 27th-29th

Kiddieland Opening Weekend

Kids between 34” and 52” tall will love our refurbished rides featuring kiddie cars, wet boats, pony carts, and more!

June 20th

National Band Organ Day

Visitors can listen to various organs and participate in music themed educational programming.

July 22nd

Auto Show: Classics at the Carrousel Music, food trucks, 50/50, basket raffle, and some of the finest classic cars in Erie and Niagara featuring pre-‘72 cars and other special interest cars. Sponsored by Ross Service.

For current museum information and activities, visit

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Refresh Your Home // Capturing Moments and Memories with Misty Hofert


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“I’m interested in capturing stories and preserving them as they are with emotion, genuine smiles, and real moments.”
- Misty when asked how she edits her photos

Capturing Moments and Memories with Misty Hofert

For Misty Hofert, photography started as a means to capture her daughters’ various memories and milestones and has since grown into a serious hobby. The Buffalo mom of two captures everything from major to everyday moments with her two daughters, Calista (6) and Camila (4), whom she affectionately calls Cali and Mila.

“Photography wasn’t anything I ever had an interest in until I became a mom,” Misty says. When her eldest, Cali, was born, she began posting a picture of her every week for family and friends, and that quickly morphed into a weekly tradition.

When Cali turned two, Misty bought her first ‘real’ camera, an entry level DSLR (“The Canon Rebel series is great for beginners!” she says), and forced herself to learn to shoot in manual mode. While she has no professional training, Misty attributes much of her growth to what she deems a long while of trial and error, including joining photography groups and learning to look for natural light.

“If you ask any seasoned photographer how to get better at photography, they will tell you to shoot every day. So in 2020, that’s what I set out to do,” Misty says.

The 365 Project

When the world shut down in the early months of 2020, she says her task of taking at least one photo every day was still going strong, and that became the year her passion for the art of photography really took off.

“I work full-time as a healthcare professional, and there were days I didn’t even feel like picking up the camera,” Misty says. At the end of 2020, despite all the difficulties and uncertainties the year entailed, she says, “I had so many photos of my girls. Every day of their childhood that year was documented: the good, the bad, the fun, the mundane…and everything in-between.”

The following January, she decided to give the challenge another go, and is now on her fourth consecutive 365 Project. At the end of each year, Misty creates an album that her daughters love flipping through, and she knows they’ll have something tangible to remember fleeting moments of their childhood by.

While she might make a few alterations here and there, her photos are largely unedited, as she opts for a more candid style.

Hot Spots for Photo Ops

While a majority of the photos Misty takes are in their home or neighborhood, she also has a few favorite locations her family returns to annually:

Sunflowers of Sanborn

“We’ve been going since they first opened when my oldest was just a year old. It’s become incredibly trendy, and I think everyone in Western New York probably has a photo from here every summer!”

Smith’s and Blackman Homestead Farm

“I always take our orchard photos at the tail end of the season, when the orchards are still open but the apples are scarce. After we purchase apples from the bins, we go for a walk through the orchard for that beautiful golden hour sunlight.”

Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens

“They have a ton of fun events for kids throughout the year, and it’s a great place to warm up during the cold winter months! The natural light and gorgeous greenery make for a great place to take photos.”

Buffalo Murals

“These beautiful murals make for really fun backgrounds. The back wall of the Town Ballroom is actually where my friend’s daughter chose to do her senior portraits.”

The Beach

“It’s where my girls are happiest and I am always guaranteed to get at least a few genuine, natural smiles. In Buffalo we have a lot of great locations: Beaver Island, Woodlawn, Wright Park, or even the little beach in Olcott are all places I’ve captured my girls enjoying the sun and the sand.”

Another favorite is a day trip to Rochester’s Ontario Beach Park to walk the boardwalk, play on the playground, grab some ice cream at Abbott’s, and build sandcastles. “When I plan to take photos at the beach, I try for an overcast day and go later in the year when the sun sets earlier in order to avoid that harsh midday sun.”

“There are moments I would have absolutely forgotten about had it not been for the photo I captured.”
- Misty

Quick Tips for Success

When it comes to improving photography skills, Misty asserts that, like anything else, it’s best to practice every day. Taking photos with kids isn’t always an easy task and she finds the less she pushes, the more cooperative her daughters are.

“Don’t force it,” she advises. “Make sure they’re not tired or hungry. Most of the time my photos happen by following my girls around and doing things they normally do. If they’re not feeling it, I let them choose to take a picture of something they want to do first, which often helps get them in the mood for what I have in mind. I love to incorporate their ideas and sometimes my favorite shots are ones they make up all on their own.”

As she shoots and edits, Misty selects her favorite photo of the day or one that best captures a moment and adds it to her 365 folder and a folder for the corresponding month. She names each file with its date to easily keep track. For photos of special events, she recommends keeping them in separate folders within the corresponding month for easy access.

Her biggest advice, though? “If you’re a mom who is always behind the camera, don’t forget to hand it off and get in a few photos with your kids once in a while!”

Follow along with Misty, her husband, Carl, and daughters

Cali and Mila’s adventures on IG @mistyhofert or start a 365 Project of your own!

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