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Home of the Week: Getting creative in Clarence

Buffalo native Alycia Ripley has a lot of nice things to say about the home that her mother, Maria Rizzo, has created in Clarence.

Among her mother’s many DIY projects: installing the faux-tin ceiling. Recycling an old damaged mantel and buffet and refinishing them. Crackle painting the breakfast buffet. Performing a plaster treatment on the kitchen and foyer walls before hand glazing them. Landscaping.

Rizzo, a retired nurse, said she has personalized her previous homes – but not on such a large scale.

“Everywhere I have lived I have looked at a space and been able to envision it differently without knocking down a lot of walls and doing major construction,” said Rizzo, whose other interests include architecture and Buffalo history.

Here is how Ripley – an author, actress and social media consultant (@talentedmsripley) – described the family residence for today’s Buffalo News’ “Home of the Week” online feature:

“I was born and raised in Buffalo but because of my work I have lived in New York City and Los Angeles but always love coming back to the family home I share with my mother. It is really special to me and to friends,” wrote Ripley, who graduated from Buffalo Seminary, Syracuse University and New York University.

“It would be difficult to separate the idea of my mother and me from our family home in Clarence. I’ll bet our friends would say the same. When she told me back in 2005 when I was living in Manhattan that she’d be moving from Eggertsville to a house in Clarence, I couldn’t wait to see it. It has been such a journey of personalization and memories.

Maria Rizzo mixed colors to achieve one she liked for the accent wall in the living room. (Photo courtesy Alycia Ripley)

“What I love most is that it was a basic shell upon her moving in and she customized it due to her self-taught design skill that brings an entire room together with scope and sale.

“She hand-crackled a breakfast cabinet and white-stained the dark wood kitchen cabinets and matching fridge surface (an incredibly challenging technique). She took a photo of our side garden, had it printed on large poster sheets which she attached to adhesive sheets of tiles and created a mural so that we could always see sunshine during the winter.

“We’ve had such fun times in the house, yard and pool – throwing theme parties for friends, such as an homage to ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Hot Tub Time Machine.’

“Some of my contributions are the Funko pop characters strategically placed around the house in unexpected places (i.e. John McClane from the “Die Hard” film series, Baby from “Dirty Dancing”).

“Our home has become such an important place in our lives. ... It’s more than a home to us and I’m so proud of all the work, creativity and time she has put into it to make it something special for us and all who come visit.

“It’s truly such a happy place to be. No wonder people now want her help bringing more of a personalized vision to their homes as well,” Ripley wrote.

Maria Rizzo stained the kitchen cabinets white and created the mural. (Photo courtesy Alycia Ripley)

• • •

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 at least 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. We will not print your exact street address, though we do like to include the town, city or neighborhood in which you live.

If you have difficulty submitting images, please email

* In case you missed our most recent Home of the Week:

Home of the Week: A complete redo in Lancaster

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