GREENSBORO — Just 18 months ago, years of accumulated clutter and overgrown foliage hid the beauty of this Fisher Park mansion.
Now the property — the subject of an infamous episode on the A&E television reality series “Hoarders” — has new owners and a new lease on life.
Crews rapidly prepare it for its fast-approaching public debut as a designer showcase.
Designers decorate its 31 rooms. Fresh sod and plantings cover its 1.6 acres.
“It will be really beautiful,” said Eric Fuko-Rizzo, one of the mansion’s new owners.
For three weeks, starting Saturday, owners Eric and Michael Fuko-Rizzo and Preservation Greensboro will welcome the public to the historic Julian Price house, built in 1929 for the president of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Co. (now Lincoln Financial Group).
Known as Hillside, the brick and half-timbered mansion at 301 Fisher Park Circle is considered one of the grandest Tudor-style houses in North Carolina.
In January 2017, Hillside attracted the country’s attention — but not just for its magnificent architecture.
The house became the setting for a dramatic episode of the A&E reality TV show “Hoarders.”
The four-story house had become packed with piles and piles of items collected by its former owner, Sandra Cowart, who lost the property to foreclosure.
More than 1.2 million households watched on television as crews removed furniture, clothes, baskets, picture frames, kitchen supplies, sewing machines and bags filled with other clutter.
The country’s fascination with this long, complicated saga has not ended.
Since the “Hoarders” episode premiered, the story of the Price house has captured the interest of the News & Record’s audience on its website, greensboro.com, like no other.
Articles, photos and videos about Hillside have attracted more than 1.6 million page views, growing by thousands every time the episode airs.
What those TV viewers haven’t seen is Hillside’s recent transformation.
Michael and Eric Fuko-Rizzo bought the house from Bank of America in September 2016.
Hillside hums with activity these days, as the Fuko-Rizzos restore its beauty and history.
From Saturday to April 29 — and possibly into May — visitors can see Hillside’s transformation into the Hillside Designer Showhouse. The public is invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday that will open the show house.
Twenty-two designers from New York to Dallas have been chosen for spaces throughout the mansion, where they will show their talents in decorating with fresh wall treatments, furniture and accessories.
The overgrown foliage is gone. In its place, renowned local landscape architect Chip Callaway has designed its gardens.
Organizers hope to attract visitors from around the country, including those attending the High Point Market on April 14-18.
The market, the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, brings more than 75,000 people to High Point twice a year.
Another couple plans to travel from Iowa, Michael Fuko-Rizzo said.
For $35, visitors can buy a general admission ticket.
Or for $75, visitors can join the Fuko-Rizzos on an exclusive tour of the property.
In a separate $75 tour, they can get a behind-the-scenes perspective with Benjamin Briggs, the executive director of Preservation Greensboro, and Linda Lane, who chairs the Designer Showhouse.
Proceeds from the show house will benefit Preservation Greensboro, the nonprofit organization that works to preserve historic sites and neighborhoods.
When the designers and their decor are gone, the Fuko-Rizzos will move in with their twin daughters and their own furnishings.
“What an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime journey this has been,” Eric Fuko-Rizzo said. “We can’t wait to share it with you all.”