Rachael Ray Gives an Inside Look Into Her Newly Renovated Home Following Fire (Exclusive)

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Rachael Ray is back in her home. The 53-year-old Rachael Ray Show host invited ET's Rachel Smith into her newly renovated home in Lake Luzerne, New York, more than a year after the house was destroyed in a fire.

"I drew this house on a piece of paper 18 or 19 years ago," she told ET. "We lived in it for almost 16 years and it burned on Aug. 9 into the ground. It burned for a long time, actually."

When the fire broke out in the chimney, Ray, her husband, John Cusimano, and their dog, Bella, "had to leave immediately [with] nothing but the clothes on our back."

"I was in flip flops. John was in kind of beat-up boat shoes," she recalled. "We ran across the street with our brand new adopted dog and we watched the house burn till about 3 a.m., and then we went to bed. We got up and kind of went back to it, went back to work."

It wasn't until "much later" that she and Cusimano emotionally reacted to the tragic event, during which "the house was 100 percent lost."

"For John, it was for his birthday on Aug.19," Ray said. "For me, it was about three or four nights later when I realized I lost all of my mom's letters, all of the letters my mom had written me throughout my life."

Given the meaning of the items inside the house and the home itself, when Ray set out to rebuild and renovate she "tried to make it exactly the same."

That goal even applied to much of the furniture, including her coffee table, which was recreated "from just the general pictures" she had, weathered with sand paper, and made to be "roughly the size" of the one she lost.

There are some differences, though; Ray forgot to include a linen closet in the design and is still trying to find where all the outlets are. The most notable change came in the rough.

"We changed the material of the roof to tin, so that we are not going to be the three little pigs twice," she said.

In her new book, This Must Be the Place, Ray included both recipes and stories from her life over the past year. She told ET that "the book is really about gratitude" and "not a total bummer."

"It's about connecting with people. Everyone on the planet went through the same thing at the same time," Ray added, alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic. "In my 53 years, that's the only time in my life I can think of that happening that this was universal. Everyone had to pivot, everyone suffered some sort of loss."

"Sharing with people in the most transparent way everything, all of the bad and the good, as the good starts to come back into your life," she continued, "that's bonded us with our viewers, and our friends, and our family in a different way than it ever had before."

This Must Be the Place is out now. Tune in to Thursday's episode of Entertainment Tonight for more of ET's interview with Ray.


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