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Endless Summer
May, 2011
Source: London Free Press


GRAND BEND - After an Ontario winter, most of us are dreaming of summer in the

sun. The London Dream Lottery Beach Home puts you in a West Coast frame of

mind -- sun, sand, water and fun.

For the price of a ticket, you could be living that dream -- and supporting the needs

of more than one million patients of St. Joseph's Health Care, London Health

Sciences Centre and Children's Hospital.

The Beach Home, built by Bridlewood Homes in Grand Bend, is one of three

prize homes.

The other two, built by Graystone Development Group, are the Sanctuary in

Sunningdale West and the Promenade in Talbot Village. By the time the final draw is

made June 30, between 25,000 and 30,000 people will have walked through the

homes, imagining their life inside one of them.

Entering the Beach Home, visitors are greeted with a chilled-out vibe created by terrazzo floors, marble countertops, louvred cabinets, vintage wood, and leather and wrought iron furnishings set against a wall of windows. Just outside, a hot tub and dipping pool reflect the sky.

"The comments have been overwhelming," said Rita Fieder, director gaming lotteries at the London Health Sciences Foundation. "It's out of this world. The remarks are all glowing."

The house features the latest in design and technology. An end wall in the great room features strapping in a geometric pattern to add visual interest. A flat-screen television and fireplace insert are fitted into it. A built-in bench is surrounded by storage that extends from the kitchen. The cabinets are a blend of smooth drawers and louvred, cantilevered doors. The kitchen is by Cardinal Kitchens.

Texture is a key component in the furnishings by Kate Gielen and Kim Morphy of Gielen Design. Behind the bench, a wallpaper insert looks and feels like stone. The smooth floors and marble island are a contrast to the rough old wood bar stools and dining table hand-crafted from a tree trunk. Frosted glass rectangles camouflage the pantry.

The space is a mix of modern industrial and sophisticated casual style.

A three-piece bath is painted in soft aqua and decorated with seashell-framed mirrors. Embedded pebbles appear as a motif throughout the house, on floors, in showers and on the bar top.

The main floor is made for easy entertaining. But the lower level is party central. A bar at the foot of the stairs is equipped with two fridges, a curvilinear sink waiting to be filled with ice, and plenty of storage for glassware.

Driftwood art pieces continue the beach theme. A lounge area transitions to a media space reminiscent of a '60s pad. Sleek modular units provide the best seats in the house for watching the large-scale screen.

Two bedrooms on the lower level continue the natural atmosphere. A midsummer's night is evoked in one with a cluster of cloud-like white lanterns. In the other, a row of birch trunks lines up along one wall. The bathroom features panoramic wallpaper with scenes of water and rocks.

The stairs to the top floor have open, dark wood steps and large windows, providing an airy look. At the top, a lounge area overlooks the front of the house and leads to a covered rooftop terrace. A braided area rug begs for wiggling bare feet, and a sage-coloured chair is the ideal setting for a good read.

Both bedrooms on this level have three-piece baths and walk-in closets. Both showcase modern applications of wallpaper. One is decorated in soft greys and gold, the other in teal and silver.

The master bedroom on the main floor also has a large walk-in closet and ensuite. The room provides a spa-like retreat with access to the deck and pool. A television screen hangs above the sliding doors.

                                                                                                       Fieder said none of the past winners has taken the prize house, but this one                                                                                                                    might be different. "If people are looking for a getaway, an oasis, this might                                                                                                                        give you that extra treat. This house draws a wow. It's breathtaking."

                                                                                                       The other two prize houses are equally stunning. The Sanctuary is more                                                                                                                            traditional, and the Promenade is designed as more of a family home with                                                                                                                        contemporary style.


                                                                                                       The Sanctuary features dark hardwood flooring and a soft palette of grey and                                                                                                                  cream. The open great room is set up for easy daily living, or elegant                                                                                                                                  entertaining. The Promenade is a two-storey, three-bedroom home with an                                                                                                                      upper floor family room. The warm wood kitchen cabinets make meal-making                                                                                                                  a breeze. The basic colour scheme of beige and deep brown is complemented                                                                                                                  by smoky green and sage.

Each year, the Dream Lottery begins with a request for proposals from builders. They present plans, a model home or one under construction. Once the builder is selected, they begin working with a designer and Fieder.

"Rita plays a big role in collaborating with the builders and buyers," said Dan Ross, president of London Health Sciences Foundation. "A lot of hard work goes into it as we bring the dream alive. When we have a winter like this one, it's a lot tougher."

Despite delays caused by the weather, all three homes opened on schedule. "We try to show three different presentations," Ross said. The houses also boast many added features not seen in a typical home, such as lighting, the media room, the kitchen design and special pieces such as the dining table.

The Dream Home Lottery brings in $1 million to $1.5 million, split among the three hospitals.

"The great thing about it," said Ross, "is that it is unrestricted income. So it can go to the highest priority needs rather than a designated program. It allows us to concentrate on programs with less high profiles. It creates tremendous awareness around health care and our hospitals. It is really important in London.

"We hit way above our weight in health care. A lot of that is achieved through donors, and events and the lottery."

While each hospital foundation holds its own events, such as the Country Classic Auction, Children's Miracle Network and speakers' series, the Dream Lottery is the only collaborative project.

"Londoners benefit from the research, which becomes standard care across the country," Ross said. "Because we're good at what we do, we offer more specialty programs than any other hospital in Canada. You could give a hundred examples of how the funding benefits people in the area. We've just done the biggest redevelopment in our history, and it was supported by each foundation.

"The goal now is to offer the finest programs in the country with the finest people and equipment. The lottery supports high-end equipment and new facilities. Everybody in the city is touched by health care at some point.

"People enjoy the lottery. They buy a ticket, but if they don't win, they say it was for a great cause."

Of course, it's hard not to dream of winning the house when you walk through.

"They want to win," Fieder said of ticket buyers, "but at the same time, they support a great cause."

"The lotteries are almost synonymous with the hospitals," Ross said.

"We do two a year and people look for them. The way health care is trending, people need to take more responsibility for their own health and concentrate on healthy living. Our role is to help educate them. And the lottery can help educate because the funds are unrestricted."

Absolutely -- but one can't help but dream of that healthy living in the Beach Home, by the lake, with the hot tub, the pool . . .

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