How a nightmare ‘Hoarders’ home was saved and turned into a luxe B&B
This bed and breakfast takes “the satisfaction of a clean room” to a different level.
This 11,000-square-foot mansion was purchased by esteemed Greensboro, North Carolina, interior designer Sandra Cowart in 1975. But in a reality show-ready turn, she tragically lapsed into collecting hordes of objects that engulfed the house before it went into foreclosure.
Hillside mansion — also known as the Julian Price House — ultimately gained worldwide fame for its overrun appearance on A&E’s “Hoarders,” when the new owners, Eric and Michael Fuko-Rizzo, tried to help Cowart clear out the house.
“It is really interesting to have had this place exposed around the world. People come from all over and stay with us, which is why we opened it to the public — so many were interested in the story from the TV show, but it’s also architecturally intriguing,” Michael Fuko-Rizzo told The Post.
The 11-bedroom, nine-bathroom home was originally built in 1929 for Julian Price, a wealthy and unusual insurance executive who “always [wore] his hat in the office,” according to the building’s original National Register of Historic Places application form.
Even with the help of the “Hoarders” cleaning crew, the renovation was a huge project — but the Fuko-Rizzos say they never regretted their decision to buy it.
“It was curiosity at the time [that inspired them to buy the house]. We were renovating other houses in the neighborhood and would drive by, and we could only see the roofline from the street,” said Michael. They have renovated one or two houses a year since 2013, he said.
“We look for historic homes that have a background to them,” Eric added. “We prefer to preserve rather than renovate.”
On the highest point of Fisher Park Circle, a lit stone walkway on a 1.6-acre lot leads to a brick, timber and plaster-facade mansion with an orange, red and brown Ludowici clay tile roof, Airbnb photos show.
The Fuko-Rizzos worked with landscape architect Chip Callaway to remove invasive plants and sculpt the grounds, according to a Preservation Greensboro pamphlet.
“The grounds are very impressive, with sweeping hills, grass — and garden areas to relax and enjoy the views. It’s wonderful being outside right now,” Eric told The Post.
Last year, the pair installed 2,500 new plants, and they plan to plant a couple thousand more this year, Eric said.
Inside the four-story home, an expansive octagonal, white-paneled room with oak floors invites guests inside, photos show.
To the left of the foyer, a navy blue, floral-wallpapered room with white wainscoting provides the landing of the winding wood staircase, photos show.
On the other side of the foyer, an arched doorway leads to a light-green drawing room, photos show.
The inviting bright room has several original features: molded-plaster ceilings, fireplace and a huge, steel-windowed reading nook.
Even the original brass handles on the windows have been removed, polished and restored , according to the Fuko-Rizzos.
The drawing room also has two original 16th-century paintings, an 1870s piano and arched inset bookcases.
The dark-wood paneled dining room seats 12 with teal suede chairs and large windows, photos show.
The library matches with teal walls and black-and-gold trim. All the books in the house have been there since the 1930s and many were signed by members of the Price family.
“Eric’s parents actually dusted all of the books,” Michael said, laughing. “So now the guests can actually hold and read all of them.”
The sunroom has large windows and dark blue walls, plus two ornate antique brass birdcages acquired by the previous owner. (A third is in the library.)
The sun porch has stone floors and even bigger windows with comfortable patio furniture.
The glass-fronted kitchen cabinets are painted light blue and are complemented by a cream floral wallpaper.
The bedrooms are filled with antique furniture sourced from local antique shops and high-end local producers such as Theodore Alexander. One bedroom has an original fireplace; another has a blue ceiling with white clouds. A third has wild wallpaper.
Michael, Eric, their 6-year-old twin daughters and their cat Tyler live in the closed-off servant’s wing of the house.
“Being inside the home, we really get to enjoy all the original details of everything and appreciate how it was lived in. We’re only the fourth owners — it hasn’t had to see a bunch of owners,” Eric said.
The pair are currently compiling a collection of historic photographs of the property and plan to create a gallery hall upstairs for guests and visitors.
Greensboro, North Carolina
- "I have however long I live to deal with this"
- — Sandra to Dr. Zasio.
Sandra Cowart is a woman that is a hoarder and was featured in the ninth season of Hoarders. She was featured in the season's sixth and final episode, "Sandra". She is known for being one of the most difficult hoarders ever to be featured on the show while also having the biggest hoard featured on the show.
She is a former famed interior designer who has now hoarded a mansion to the ceilings. If she cannot clean out the home all of her stuff will be forcefully taken out of it. The mansion is so full that she has to live in a van outside. The new owners who recently bought the mansion is giving her time to clean it out. She continues to be difficult throughout the episode. This leads everyone helping her to their breaking point.
She opened her design company, Cowart designs, in 1975. She began to hoard items for her business. Her business suffered from a lawsuit which ultimately caused it to go downhill. She soon became unemployed but, still kept all of her business items which added to the size of her hoard.
In 1979 an individual approached her husband and asked to buy the house and to tear it down. Her husband ended up leaving Sandra causing a big blow to her. Once she was unemployed she pursued a series of risky home refinancing schemes to survive. She ended up owning a $2.1 million bill. She fought for many years against the law and government.
Purchase Of The Home And Eviction
The house was purchased by a man named Michael. He agreed to purchase the house with the hoard the the hoarder included. After Sandra continued to live there for six months he finally started the eviction process. A notice was issued that she was given ten days to get the property cleaned up and for her to be off of the property. She did not listen and a sheriff ended up locking her out of the house. That still didn't stop her as she already had her and parked outside the home and ready for her to live in. Michael and his partner have given Sandra one more chance to clean out the home.
"Can I get permission to maybe wander throughout the house?" - Dr. Zasio
"Ok" - Sandra
"I'll be very careful" - Dr. Zasio
"Ok" - Sandra
"See you in two hours" - Sandra
"The mascara that you picked up. How old is that?" - Walter
"It fell out of my pocket!" - Sandra
"I had it in my pocket today!" - Sandra
"It now seems like everything he is handing you, you are just putting in the box and not even looking at" - Dr. Zasio
"I have however long I live to deal with this" - Sandra
"Stop attacking me" - Sandra
"Everybody's attacking me" - Sandra
"Don't make me wrong" - Sandra
"Do you understand.." - Earl
"Earl, Stop It, Now!" - Sandra
"I am not a frickin' idiot and I understand every bit of it! Leave me alone!" - Sandra
It’s been nearly one year since Sandra Cowart’s home — the historic Julian Price manor in Fisher Park — was featured on a two-hour episode of Hoarders. Unfortunately, it has since been foreclosed on. According to Greensboro News & Record, Michael and Eric Fuko-Rizzo bought the massive 31-room mansion at 301 Fisher Park Circle from the bank after a lengthy court battle.
Despite the overgrown foliage on the 1.5-acre property, the couple saw potential in the 1929 estate. “What we could see, we really loved,” Eric said. Keep scrolling below to learn more about the home — and Sandra’s whereabouts in 2018.
She was in legal battles with the bank for years
A report from the same publication revealed that Sandra — who represented herself — was deeply in debt and “working 18 hours a day to save my home and get back to work.”
According to the outlet, she filed numerous complaints against the Bank of America in federal courts, “asking to proceed in a ‘pauperis’ status for those who cannot afford the filing fee and other costs of court action.” In early 2015, the bank argued that Sandra had failed to pay a loan that was “approximately 67 months past due.”
She’s a renowned interior designer
An entire floor of her 7,266-square-foot house was dedicated to her design studio. “She was the best,” her brother, Earl, once said of her career, adding that she would often take things that others left on the street. When her business suffered after a lawsuit, Sandra’s hoarding habits increased. Soon after, she failed to make payments on her house.
As a result, another business was born. She began renting out rooms in her home twice a year for the International Home Furnishings Market, which took place in the Greensboro area. She would charge between $125 and $225 a night per person. “I find out in advance what kind of food they like and have breakfast and dinner catered. Or, I’ll make reservations for them at a restaurant if they want to go out,” she said. “That’s got to be done months in advance because everything is filled during market.” She added, “I didn’t realize how lucrative this could be until I started getting these larger groups. It certainly helps. This house was built in 1929 and always needs something. The big thing, though, is I love having people here. This is a big house to always be bouncing around in all by myself.”
She’s reportedly in therapy
Last year, reddit user lsp2005 wrote, “She lost the home. A male couple and their young children purchased the home as a foreclosure. Most of her stuff went to the dump. She had to leave in the car that they were finally able to start. She said she would stay with friends and took the recommendation for aftercare therapy.”
She considers herself lucky
Speaking with the Greensboro News & Record in 2016, she said that she was lucky to call the mansion home for over 40 years. “If this had happened 35 years ago, I really would have been devastated,” she said in regards to the foreclosure. “I have not allowed a single thing to be changed.”
Sandra Cowart dead: Is Sandra Cowart designer and Julian Price house Hoarders owner dead? Here’s what happened to Sandra Cowart.
Sandra Cowart death?
Sandra Cowart, the former owner of the 90-year-old Julian Price mansion that was drowning in an overgrowth of foliage and clutter that Cowart had acquired throughout the years, is not dead.
She was featured on tonight’s episode of Hoarders Overload, when A&E aired an update on its Hoarders episode from 2017.
Introducing herself on the promo for the episode, Sandra said:
“I’m Sandra Cowart, and I’m an interior designer.”
The official A&E synopsis for tonight’s episode read:
“Former famed interior designer, Sandra, has hoarded out every square inch of the historic mansion she lost to foreclosure.
However, she refuses to leave the manor in spite of the fact the bank has sold it to a new couple.
The new owners are now facing a crisis of conscience trying to figure out how to compassionately evict Sandra from the property and dispose of her hoard.”
According to A&E, Sandra Cowart’s 2017 episode was one of the most talked about segments in the show’s history, and while the network revisits the Julian Price mansion, viewers will see how close the crew came to their breaking points while filming the show.
More than 1.2 million households watched the drama unfold when the original Hoarders episode featuring the Julian Price mansion and Cowart aired in January 2017, as crews emptied the house. The episode has aired several times since.
Tonight’s episode will not only revisit the mansion to give viewers a chance to see how the house was renovated, it will also show what happened to Cowart following the 2017 episode.
Tonight’s episode also includes interviews with one of Cowart’s brothers and the new homeowners, revealing Cowart’s progress and the restoration of the mansion.
JULIAN PRICE HOUSE:
The 90 year old Julian Price house, formerly owned by Sandra Cowart, dates back to 1929 and was designed in the Tudor style by an acclaimed, New York-bred architect, the late Charles Hartmann.
The mansion was purchased by a new couple, Michael and Eric Fuko-Rizzo, who are attempting to gently evict Sandra from the house that she is still clinging desperately to.
Michael and Eric Fuko-Rizzo, the new owners, expressed gratitude to A&E Network for returning.
“There has been so much interest in how Sandra is doing,” he said.
Michael Fuko-Rizzo mentioned that Cowart still “lives in the area,” but declined to share more with the Winston-Salem Journal.
Sandra Cowart lawsuit:
Sandra, the longtime owner of Greensboro’s famed Julian Price House, back in 2015 was caught in a legal tussle with Bank of America after they scheduled a foreclosure sale of the architectural and historic landmark for Jan. 11.
Representing herself in the lengthy court battle, interior designer Sandra Cowart in a petition filed in U.S. Middle District Court, said that she was deeply in debt and “working 18 hours a day to save my home and get back to work.”
Acting as her own lawyer, Cowart filed complaints against the bank in federal court, asking to proceed in a “pauperis” status for those who cannot afford the filing fee and other costs of court action.
Cowart also petitioned the court for a “permanent preliminary injunction” barring the bank from selling the large, imposing structure on Fisher Park Circle.
The bank had won several rulings against her claims of fraud in both federal and state courts, arguing successfully to the N.C. Court of Appeals that Cowart borrowed $1.9 million on the Fisher Park property 10 years ago in a loan that was “now approximately 67 months past due with a total outstanding debt of more than $2.5 million.”
According to court documents, Cowart “has lived in and cared for the subject property since 1975, a total of 40 years”.
Update sandra hoarders
Sandra Cowart will be featured on tonight’s episode of Hoarders Overload, when A&E airs an update on its Hoarders episode from 2017. Cowart is the former owner of the 90-year-old Julian Price mansion that was drowning in an overgrowth of foliage and clutter that Cowart had acquired throughout the years.
The official A&E synopsis for tonight’s episode reads: “Former famed interior designer, Sandra, has hoarded out every square inch of the historic mansion she lost to foreclosure. However, she refuses to leave the manor in spite of the fact the bank has sold it to a new couple. The new owners are now facing a crisis of conscience trying to figure out how to compassionately evict Sandra from the property and dispose of her hoard.”
“I’m Sandra Cowart, and I’m an interior designer,” Cowart introduces herself on the promo for tonight’s episode. A&E claims Cowart’s 2017 episode was one of the most talked about segments in the show’s history, and while the network revisits the Julian Price mansion, viewers will see how close the crew came to their breaking points while filming the show.
In the clip above, tensions run high as Cowart can be heard yelling at the crew “I can’t get a damn thing done because everyone keeps telling me what to do,” while a crew member shouts over her “STOP TALKING!” Cowart shouts back “Leave me alone!” as he walks away.
“This is the biggest hoard, biggest house, most stuff … it’s just overwhelming,” someone states in a voiceover. “This was by far one of the most painful cases,” another can be heard stating.
When the original Hoarders episode featuring the Julian Price mansion and Cowart aired in January 2017, more than 1.2 million households watched the drama unfold as crews emptied the house, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. The episode has aired several times since.
Tonight’s episode will not only revisit the mansion to give viewers a chance to see how the house was renovated, it will also show what happened to Cowart following the 2017 episode. The synopsis reveals that the mansion was purchased by a new couple, who are attempting to gently evict her from the house that she is still clinging desperately to.
Michael and Eric Fuko-Rizzo, the new owners, expressed gratitude to A&E Network for returning. “There has been so much interest in how Sandra is doing,” he said. He mentioned that Cowart still “lives in the area,” but declined to share more with the Winston-Salem Journal.
Although season 10 of the show wrapped up last week, episodes of Hoarders Overload generally revisit past hoards and present expanded versions of old episodes with previously unseen footage and updates on the subjects, which is what viewers will get a chance to see tonight.
See What Sandra Cowart's 31-Room Mansion From 'Hoarders' Looks Like Today
In 2017, A&E’s Hoarders highlighted the plight of Sandra Cowart, a Greensboro, N.C. woman who had filled her four-story, 31-room mansion with everything imaginable — including pieces of furniture she found on the street.
Sadly, the once-celebrated interior designer lost the home to foreclosure, though its new owners, Michael and Eric Fuko-Rizzo, have since lovingly restored the property, which was built in 1929.
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Back in April, A&E aired a special episode of Hoarders that took viewers on a tour of the newly renovated Julian Price House and updated fans on Sandra’s whereabouts. Scroll down for more information about the show’s biggest project to date.
What happened to Sandra from Hoarders?
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Though she was evicted from the mansion after failing to pay back a bank loan, the new owners allowed Sandra to cull out her hoard and arranged for many of the items to be auctioned off.
At the time, Sandra said she officially moved out on Oct. 4, 2016, and was staying with a few friends. Michael and Eric confirmed on the April episode that she still lives in the area but has yet to visit the remodeled home. It remains unclear whether she took part in any post-show therapy, which the network offers to all of its participants.
According to co-executive producer Alice Ikeda, Sandra saw Hoarders as an opportunity to tell her side of the story. "She finally felt like there might be more resources other than herself trying to make some decisions on what to do with the next chapter of her life."
Sandra admitted around the time of her initial episode’s airing that she was unhappy with the show's outcome. The decorator claimed that she had yet to receive any proceeds from the auction of her belongings and that the items she had chosen to keep were not moved to the location she requested.
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Alice responded to the claims by noting that Hoarders is not a transportation service. "We’re not going to move 50 years of contents piece by piece to another location," she stated. "The point of this show is to try to make people face their disorder and make some very difficult decisions."
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What does the Julian Price House look like now?
After purchasing the home for just $415,000, Michael and Eric have spent over two years restoring the property. They eventually plan to move in with their twin daughters but have made certain rooms in the residence available for short-term rentals.
A majority of the renovation was completed last spring in time for a Designer Showcase that benefited the nonprofit Preservation Greensboro. "It’s an honor for us to continue to create memories in this home," Eric previously told the Greensboro News & Record. "Our overall goal is to bring back to the neighborhood what was lost."
Before the house sold, Sandra expressed how lucky she felt to have lived in the historic mansion over the past four decades. "If this had happened 35 years ago, I really would have been devastated," she shared. "I have not allowed a single thing to be changed… Forty years, what a privilege, what privilege it has been."
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Where is Sandra Cowart From Hoarders?
‘Hoarders’ is a popular series that focuses on people who have trouble letting go. As the title suggests, they accumulate paraphernalia over the ages, and simply hate parting ways. As a result, the houses don’t just get cluttered, but the residents run a legitimate risk of being buried under all the junk. Sandra Cowart, of Greensboro, North Carolina, was introduced to us in a previous season. She’d filled her four-story, 31 room mansion, with everything imaginable, including furniture from the street. So, where is Sandra Cowart today? Let’s find out.
Where is Sandra Cowart Now?
Cowart, who was a famous interior designer at one point, lost her house to foreclosure. She lived at the historic Julian Price mansion in Fisher Park. However, it was reported that Sandra struggled to maintain the 1.5-acre property since Sandra had to work 18 hours a day. She filed papers against the Bank of America in federal courts, but the bank stated that Sandra failed to pay a loan, 67 months past its due.
Sandra wasn’t always in a financial pickle. Her brother, Earl, stated that an entire floor of her house was dedicated to her design studio. She’d always take things that others left on the street, but after her business suffered a lawsuit, Sandra’s hoarding activities increased. She started missing making payments on the house. After that, Cowart moved to another business.
She’d rent out room twice a year for the International Home Furnishings Market. Sandra charged between $125 and $225 for a night. It was lucrative when she started attracting large groups. However, when she was finally evicted, Sandra had to move out. She officially left on October 4, 2016, and the new owners were kind enough to allow her to cull out the hoard and arranged for several items to be auctioned off. However, when Cowart expressed her opinion, she was not entirely pleased because the show did not send all the things she requested to the particular location. On the other hand, the crew stated they were not in the moving business, and could not afford to transport each of Sandra’s items as per her request.
Despite the bittersweet break, reports suggest that Sandra has been living with her friends in the Greensboro area, but has not visited the remodeled house. Before the house was sold, Sandra mentioned she was lucky to have spent four decades there. Currently, her exact whereabouts remain unknown though there have been some suggestions that she underwent aftercare therapy.
And what about Sandra’s house? Michael and Eric Fuko-Rizzo are the new owners, and initially, they rented out a few rooms, but then planned on making it a full-fledged bed and breakfast. Initially, the zoning commission denied the permit, with neighbors complaining about parking and noise. However, the duo moved the case to the Superior Court, which overturned the commission’s decision.
The duo expressed elation at the news, which came in November 2019. They were eager to share the landmark with the entire community. The property, known as Hillside, has a rich history. ‘Hoarders’ and Sandra’s antics have only made it more popular.
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