When Gerald Mire set about designing the 2016 St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Dream Home in New Orleans, he knew he needed to take into consideration an overriding principle: Creating a home that made the most of the site.
“We were just so fortunate to have that beautiful oak tree in front and another one in back,” said Mire, the project manager for Hyman L. Bartolo Jr. Construction, who led the design team. “There was no way we would disturb either, and instead, we made them important features in the home’s design.
Open to the public during the Homebuilders Association of Greater New Orleans’ annual Parade of Homes this weekend and next, the St. Jude Dream Home will be raffled off to raise money for research into catastrophic childhood illnesses. In 2015, the New Orleans St. Jude Dream Home raised more than $1.1 million for the cause. The 2016 house, located at 232 Stafford Place in West Lakeview, is one of 30 across the nation.
Making the most of the site’s oak trees inspired design decisions in several ways, according to Mire.
“For one thing, we knew the house needed a garage, but we didn’t want to disturb the oak in front for the driveway and we didn’t want the garage door facing the street or dominating the facade,” he said. “So we came up with the idea of an entry court with the garage opening tucked off to the side.”
The oak tree in the rear of the lot inspired another thoughtful design element: a bank of glass French doors across the rear wall of the living room.
“On the front of the house, there are three pairs of glass doors with wood panels at the bottom, but across the rear, the doors are glass from top to bottom,” Mire noted. The full-glass doors allow an unobstructed view of the oak and the two-seater wooden swing that now hangs from one of its branches.
Mire planned for the house to have a West Indies flavor, characterized by the steeply pitched roof over the front-facing wing, abundant French doors and the balcony on the two story portion. The home is also raised several feet off the ground, another nod to its tropical influences.
The 2,900-square-foot home offers an additional 800 square feet of covered outdoor space, including the front and rear porches and the second-floor balcony. A great room in the one-story portion of the home has a vaulted ceiling and oversized fireplace, elements that emphasize the expansive nature of the room. Off the great room are the kitchen, dining room and home office.
The kitchen is styled with countertops of Cambria (a man-made quartz product) and modified Shaker-style cabinets. Mire chose an ash stain with a pewter glaze for the wall and base cabinets, reserving a darker hue for the island base. A door off the kitchen leads to a spacious pantry fitted with shelving.
The groin-vaulted ceiling in the dining room — separated from the main living area by an arched opening — adds to the room’s drama.
“I wanted the dining room to feel cozy, so that’s why it’s in a space of its own, separated from the main room,” explained Mire. Pilasters in each of the four corners of the room serve as resting points for the groin vault.
A sweeping, freestanding curved stair leads to the second floor of the abutting wing.
“The iron railing has horizontal banding rather than vertical to underscore the curves of the stair,” said Mire.
Two bedrooms, each with its own closet, share a Jack-and-Jill bath, with the vanity area independent of the bathing area. A gray-and-white Cambria countertop surfaces the vanity.
The hallway at the top of the stairs is open to the great room below and leads to the master suite.
“You enter the master suite though a vestibule that takes you into the bedroom and sitting area,” said Mire. Wood and glass French doors from the sitting area open to the balcony overlooking the home’s forecourt.
Mire said visitors to the home seem to be taken most with the master bath, which features a patterned Carrera marble floor, a rectangular Kohler soaking tub, his-and-hers vanities, a linen closet hidden behind a mirrored door and a well-equipped shower.
“The shower has two shower heads plus a rain head and a handheld option,” Mire noted. “And the toe kick heater under the vanities means your feet will never feel cold.”
Products used in the Dream Home were donated by manufacturers and retailers; Hyman L. Bartolo Jr. Contractors donated time and materials. Just 12,000 raffle tickets (at $100 per ticket) are sold for the 2016 Dream Home, valued at $600,000. Of every dollar raised, 83 cents goes to research and treatment.
The Dream Home remains open for viewing on Saturdays and Sundays through June 26, when the raffle winner will be drawn.
In addition to the St. Jude Dream Home, 17 homes featuring the latest in home products and floor plans are on tour during the two weekends of the Parade of Homes. The houses are across the Metro New Orleans area, in Lakeview, Kenner, Old Jefferson, Marrero, Belle Chasse and English Turn.
Participating builders include Hoskin Homes, Sigfredo Construction, Troyer Builders, Sunrise Homes, Creative Builders of Louisiana, J. Calderara, DSLD, Tyson, and Guidry Custom Homes.