Claudia Cairns Peruzzini and her husband, Andrew Peruzzini, lived for many years in the Elmwood Village. In 2020, they bought a home in North Tonawanda.
Claudia Peruzzini – a retired interior designer who prefers to use the term “rewired” rather than “retired”– emailed photos of their home and shared a description, beginning with the trauma of experiencing a fire in the home and then “finding one’s way back.”
Here is our latest Home of the Week feature. More photos can be found at the end.
“Last year we incurred a fire in our home a week before Christmas,” she began, noting that the fire began with an unattended tea light candle that was part of the dining room centerpiece. No one, including the family dog, was injured in the fire, she said, adding that most of her candles are battery operated. But this one was not.
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“I’d spent hours decorating our (new to us) 1931 Cape Cod-style home for two reasons. The first being that since we moved into our new neighborhood during Covid, we were looking forward to opening the doors to the ‘house where love dwells’ to host our first big Christmas party.
“Most importantly, after losing both my parents and my husband’s father years ago, and having remaining family members cast far and wide, our little family of three realized we had to reinvent how the holidays would be celebrated. In this home it’s a season, not simply a day,” she said.
“Imagine our delight when our one-and-only daughter met a partner with two children. Our family joyously doubled in size, so to fulfill our new role as grandparents, ‘Nana’ had promised the girls the Christmas of their dreams: cocoa by the fireplace; the guest room prepped with plaid flannel sheets and a winter-inspired coverlet; Santa collection spanning 40-plus years; a similar snow ‘persons’ collection; a folk art Christmas tree, and then the ‘20-hour tree’ – with hundreds of lights and 500-plus ornaments that span every decade from the late 1800s forward.
“Imagine returning home after enjoying the local ‘Xmas Trailer’ event that last year came right down our street, singing carols for the neighbors, taking the girls, ages 7 and 10, to see our lovely neighbor Jim’s mind-boggling outdoor light display and being in such high spirits, only to return to a house filled with thick smoke and flames.
“We ended up spending the holidays in a hotel, then living in a small apartment just two blocks from our house for eight months.
“The upshot was that this year I FINALLY rediscovered my Christmas mojo and decided to once again put a tree up. We also picked up a ‘foster son’ in the process, who’d never had much of a childhood, so again our family has grown.
“He was thrilled to help with the tree this year, and since he’s 6-foot-3, I gave him the honor of putting the star on the tree. After making my LONG journey through some pretty dark moments, I decided to go BIG or go home this year.
“The angels that helped us to heal from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ were legion. I believe our story is not only about home decor but about finding one’s way back. A series of miracles – and a story of reclaiming joy and wonder. My home is my nest,” she said.
Love your home? Share it with us
The Buffalo News is looking for other local homes and the stories behind them for the Home of the Week digital feature at BuffaloNews.com.
In the past, we have featured city homes, townhouses, a farmhouse, a cabin, a penthouse apartment and many others.
Here’s what you need to do if you’re interested in submitting your residence for Home of the Week: Tell us about your home in about 150 words, and email 10 high-resolution images (in JPEG form; horizontals preferred) to [email protected].
It’s OK to send the images split among several emails. Please include your name and the city or town where you live. A phone number is also helpful.
Those chosen for BuffaloNews.com will be contacted by Home and Style Editor Susan Martin. Single-family homes, condominiums, lofts and apartments are eligible.
We will contact those chosen to be featured. We will include your first and last names and the city or town in which you reside, but not your exact address.
For this digital feature, we will publish some or all of the photos you submitted.
Questions? Problems submitting photos? Please email Home & Style Editor Susan Martin at [email protected].
More photos of the Peruzzini home: