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Home of the Week: Ellicottville retreat

In 2017 Tula Economou and her husband built a 1,539-square-foot home in Ellicottville on 13 wooded acres. It has three bedrooms and two baths.

They both grew up in Western New York but now live in California with their two daughters. In fact, California is where the couple met.

This is their second home, and they get back as often as they can.

Here is how Tula Economou – vice president, division manager at Apex Companies (an environmental professional and field services firm) – described their love of Western New York and their place in Ellicottville for our Home of the Week online feature:

“My husband and I have visited Western New York nearly every year for as long as we have been married,” she wrote in an email.

“The pull of the area is strong and though California has striking natural features and a fantastic climate, we missed the lush greenery, the peaty aroma of the forests, fireflies, and thunderstorms that summer brings to the Northeast.

“We have family ties to Red House (Cattaraugus County) but thought Ellicottville would be a better choice for our family’s second home due to its four-season recreational offerings, charming downtown, and proximity to the Buffalo Airport.

“With the tireless assistance of our agent, Andree McRae of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services in Ellicottville, we were fortunate to find a lovely wooded property complete with a stream and two ponds. I made an offer on the property without my husband even seeing it; fortunately he loved it.

“The property contained a small cabin that we considered renovating and expanding, but it made more sense to start from scratch. Andree introduced us to Mike Halloran of Halloran Construction and we embarked on construction of what was originally envisioned as a small house of 1,000 square feet.

“Soon after drawing up our initial plans, our architect gently encouraged us to expand the footprint to approximately 1,500 square – a great suggestion.

“Building a home from across the country was not at all daunting due to the expertise and guidance of Halloran Construction. We braced ourselves for issues and large overruns that never materialized; our California friends thought we were a bit crazy for attempting such a project from afar but we couldn’t be happier with the end result.

“Now when we visit Ellicottville, I can’t get the girls and dogs out of the creek. Small habits like walking up the road in the morning, stargazing at night, visiting Watson’s for our daily chocolate fix, and having dinner at one of Ellicottville’s lovely restaurants bring outsized joy.

“Though we love the vibrancy and cultural attractions of California, it is at our second home where we truly feel relaxed, refreshed, and renewed,” she wrote.

The banquette. (Photo courtesy Tula Economou)

Do you love your house enough to show it off? This could be your chance.

The Buffalo News is looking for other beautiful local homes and the stories behind them and their décor. Those chosen will be displayed in a weekly feature at and could be chosen as Home of the Month in a Sunday edition of The Buffalo News.

If you are interested, tell us about your home in 150 words or less, and email 10 images (in .jpg form) of the interior and exterior to

It’s OK to separate the images into several emails.

Those chosen for will be contacted by Home and Style Editor Susan Martin. A phone number is helpful. Single-family homes, condominiums, lofts and apartments are eligible.

The News will include your name and the city or town in which you reside but not your exact address.

If you have difficulty submitting images, please email

Take a look at our last Home of the Week:

Home of the Week: Lakefront living

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