Author: Dr. Rehab

Dr. Rehab

John Straubinger has been an occasional Buffalo Rising contributor since 2007. Born and raised in the city, John lived and worked in Boston, MA in the Research field for over 47 years. Since the early 1990's, he started following what was happening in his home town with a developing interest. Liking more and more of what he was seeing in Buffalo for the last ten years, John decided to return to Buffalo permanently in the fall of 2014. John has an interesting facebook page called Buffalo rehab and Reuse, https://www.facebook.com/groups/929189663802358/. He occasionally contributes articles to BRO as Dr. Rehab.

For several years, I have been writing a year-end recap of new houses in the city. Covid made that recap impossible to do last year. I thought I would start with an observation that Buffalo’s West Side is the neighborhood where a number of houses have been built or are under construction with creative and unusual design. Three of those appeared in 2021. Two were finished in 2020, and one was finished in 2019. All except for one on Chenango Street, which was a redesign and rehab, were infill projects. A house built 839 Prospect Avenue (lead image), designed by…

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2019 was a year when two noticeable and notable houses were completed. It was also a year when some urban infill appeared that was not suburban in style. There were also new houses constructed by Habitat for Humanity, the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency(BURA), and the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation (BENLIC). A house that many people in North Buffalo took note of because of its size and its attractiveness was finished on Tillinghast Place. The house was built by Berkshire Homes of Clarence, NY, a custom home builder, on a double lot near the corner of Tillinghast and Colvin.…

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When I first started reporting about rehabs in Buffalo, it was done by my driving or walking around city streets. The Garden Walk was a great source and still is. I did my first article about Buffalo rehabs for Buffalo Rising in August of 2007 while I was still living in Boston. I was making my annual summer visit and keyed in on some West Side and Elmwood Village rehabs for the article actually using that year’s Garden Walk map. Unfortunately, the pictures in the article have gone to cyber heaven as have other rehab articles I wrote prior to…

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2018 saw another banner year for rehabs in Buffalo. This report is the first of a three-part, possibly four-part, series. Rehabs that finished in 2018 as well as those in progress will be shown. Many are restorations. Some are “vinyl-final”. I don’t discriminate. Not everyone has the money or the knowledge or the interest to engage in a restoration rehab project. There are also many rehabs in the city that don’t display external work. Based on my use of the City’s building permit database, many more rehab projects in the city that involved kitchen remodeling or bedroom remodeling, or even…

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2018 saw a larger number of new houses constructed, under development or planned for Buffalo, than in recent years. This was due to Marc Marrano’s Colvin Estates Part 2 project. Let’s start with the completed houses. The new house on Depew Ave. near Wallace Ave was designed for an adult handicapped person. Its design accommodates that situation. As such, it’s controversial and a prime target for the armchair architect corps. Another new house was constructed in the Black Rock section of the city on Bush St. As a modular house, it was constructed quickly over Summer and Fall. A third…

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This house at 68 Penhurst Park has undergone quite an impressive transformation. Work started last year with the removal of the roof and a gut rehab of the interior. This year has brought a new roof, new windows, an addition, and a startling new rear makeover of the house. I was literally wowed when I first saw the back side (lead image). There is an interesting story to go along with this house. A family from the suburbs bought the property. They are responsible for all the changes, and a number of the enhancements will accommodate what I’ve been told…

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After over 2 years of meticulous restoration work, the rehab of the Gothic style house at 73 Johnson Park is finished. Payton Barlow has spearheaded this work. Here is some history of the house from Buffaloah.com: “After the death of Ebenezer Johnson his estate was subdivided. From the early 1850’s, homes were built about the mall of Johnson Park, which was created in 1851. Frederick Law Olmsted’s 1876 map of his plan for parkland in the city of Buffalo indicates that he redesigned Johnson Park, which he incorporated into his overall plan. The Kennedy Insurance map of 1854 shows a…

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Construction of an L-shaped house using 3 shipping containers started on Kail Street in Black Rock last July and is now finished. As far as true shipping container projects in Buffalo, this is one of the first to come to fruition, especially in the residential department. The house consists of two flush parallel containers creating the two-story section of the home, and a third perpendicular container creates the one-story portion of the home. A rectangular tower was constructed between the two masses. Windows were added to all of the containers, while paneling was affixed to the tower. Next came a green…

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People come at rehabs from different perspectives. Some are just happy that a house or building is saved and reused. Others want the period details maintained or restored and the proper materials used. A number of rehabs done by government agencies like the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency or by Do-It-Yourself (DIY) rehabbers utilize cost-effective materials like vinyl siding, vinyl windows and oval glass front doors. Other rehabs that focus on restoration have wooden windows that come with the house or building that are repaired for functionality or have new wooden windows installed. There are several craftsmen in Buffalo who can…

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At the end of 1988, my life changed dramatically. One of the benefits of that change was that I started to pay attention to Buffalo again. During the 21 previous years that I spent in Boston, I visited sporadically. My parents lived in Florida in the winter, so I spent Christmas with them and I often skipped several summers of possible Buffalo visits, preferring to go to other places for a vacation. When I started coming back to Buffalo on a regular basis in the summers of the 1990’s, the city didn’t look good. It looked beaten up. I grew…

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