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Take a tour of the 2021 Minto dream home

What do you get when you mix Scandinavian, mid-century-modern and a desert look inside, wrapped in an Arts and Crafts exterior? The expertly designed and very welcoming 2021 Minto dream home.

The 4,603-square-foot, fully furnished home makes up the bulk of the $3.1 million grand prize in the annual CHEO Dream of a Lifetime lottery and it’s been anxiously awaited by the CHEO Foundation, which runs the hospital fundraiser.

 

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Normally, the dream home is finished in time to be unveiled at the launch of the lottery in early September. But challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic meant the 2021 Minto dream home was not complete until more than six weeks later — almost halfway through the lottery campaign.

That delay resulted in a slight drop in ticket sales, but Dan Champagne, vice-president of development and corporate relations for the foundation, is confident the shortfall will be made up now that the home has finally been revealed.

In-person visits are not possible for now, but a 3D virtual tour of the home has been posted to the lottery website “to whet people’s whistle,” he says. A day and a half after the virtual tour went live, more than 30,000 people had visited the website and 50 per cent of the ticket shortfall had been recovered, he says.

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Update Nov. 13: Private tours will be available between Nov. 15 and Dec. 17, You can book a time here.

Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

The 3D tour lets you virtually walk through the whole home, moving about wherever you want to go, to give you a sense of what the spaces feel like and how they flow. The tour is expected to be augmented shortly with information about finishes and colours and a guided tour is still to come.

MORE: Take the 3D tour

So, what will you find when you tour the home, which is located in Minto’s Manotick development of Mahogany? Unexpected surprises, a warm colour palette set against a fresh white backdrop and plenty of detail — something that interior designer Tanya Collins is big on.

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“It’s very stylized. I try to do something that’s very stylistic every year,” says Collins, who’s now in her fourth year doing the dream home’s interior design. “This year’s definitely got more of a Scandinavian, mid-century, desert kind of palette… It’s an interesting combination.”

Is it a bungalow or a two-storey?

The floor plan began as a bungalow, with one wing for the master suite or principal bedroom (Minto Communities, which has built the dream homes for more than 20 years, is transitioning to calling the master the principal bedroom) and another wing for the secondary bedrooms. But such an extensive footprint was not going to be cost effective, even though it would fit on the huge lot earmarked for the home.

So, Minto product development manager Karen van der Velden, who designed the home, took the two extra bedrooms and shifted them to a second floor, along with an open loft that overlooks both the foyer and the great room. Minto refers to this type of layout as a master down.

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That design shift meant van der Velden could maintain the soaring ceilings in the foyer and great room, which stretch some 20 feet high in the window-filled space — with custom floor-to-ceiling curtains to match.

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

“It’s a great great room,” says Collins.

Adds van der Velden: “The sun comes up in the morning at the back and it will just flank the whole side. So, there’s going to be so much natural light coming through that space.”

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The main floor alone boasts more than 2,200 square feet, offering plenty of room if mobility is an issue. Including both the office and the laundry on the main floor means one-level living in this home is not an issue.

Watch a time lapse build of the home in 60 seconds:

 

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Other surprises

There are several handy, if unexpected, spaces in this year’s home:

Drive right through: A pass-through third garage makes it easy to get lawn tractors or other equipment into the backyard (it’s great for boat storage, for instance).

Head on down: A dedicated staircase in the garage leads straight to the basement.

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Man cave: That garage staircase provides easy access to a fully equipped hobby room that’s been outfitted with a slew of tools by Home Depot.

Junior man cave: Another room in the basement is a dedicated gaming room, with comfy chaise lounges and glass doors to keep the sound down while still feeling connected to the rest of the house.

She cave: There’s so much room in the yard that, along with a deck, patio and fire pit, there’s a circular greenhouse to extend the gardening season.

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Then there’s the kitchen

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

Collins is not normally a fan of white kitchens, but this one is an exception. Because the space is so connected to the great room, she wanted to tuck away appliances to let other elements take centre stage.

That means most appliances are fully integrated, including the range hood. And the stove is shifted over to the short side wall, leaving room for the black open shelving and mirrored backdrop across the long back wall to pop, particularly when paired with the natural poplar shiplap ceiling.

“It’s got a nice warmth and variation in it and I feel like that makes the whole kitchen,” she says of the ceiling. “It’s a way of doing a white kitchen but it’s got all these flourishes.”

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Add the thin-railed Shaker cabinets, the black rail and ladder (for a stylish way to reach upper cupboards), touch latches on the top cupboards to eliminate bulky hardware, the integrated dining table in the island, as well as the warm marble-look porcelain counters, and you’ve got a space that feels both modern and timeless, while being thoroughly functional.

So, what is Collins’ favourite space in this year’s home?

“I love a lot of things,” she says. “I love the kitchen, I love the powder room, I just love the mix of the textures and the palette… I love the entrance tile. This house feels a little bit more like me, in terms of being true to my own style.”

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Going Net Zero

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Gordon King Photography

Another key element of the home is that it’s Net Zero, which means the home can produce as much energy in a year as it would consume, and it uses about 40 per cent less energy than a similar home built to Ontario Building Code standards.

There’s no gas in the home and the roof is outfitted with solar panels to generate electricity. Heating and cooling are done via heat pump and all mechanical systems are electric, eliminating the need for fossil fuels.

Reducing the environmental footprint of the dream homes is a key goal for Brent Strachan, president of Minto Communities Ottawa. “There will be a strong energy component to the dream homes (going forward),” he says.

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Meet the designers: Tanya Collins & Minto’s Karen van der Velden

Touring the home

The 2021 Minto dream home can only be toured virtually for the time being, although Champagne hopes to have in-person visits leading up to the early bird deadline of Nov. 19.

Visit dreamofalifetime.ca to take the 3D tour.

Ticket info: Tickets are $100 each or three for $250. Tickets for the guaranteed $1 million prize 50/50 draw are $10 each, 5 for $25 or 15 for $50. There are also packages available combining lottery and 50/50 tickets. Tickets can be purchased via the lottery website, by phone at 613-722-5437 or 1-877-562-5437, or via mail (details on the website). Tickets cannot be purchased this year at the CHEO gift shop or the CHEO Foundation.

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The 2021 CHEO Dream of a Lifetime lottery runs until Dec. 17.

2021 Minto dream home, room by room

Exterior

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Gordon King Photography

The exterior of the 2021 Minto dream home is an Arts and Crafts style in a nod to the often-seen style of homes in Manotick, where the home is located. Designed by Minto’s Karen van der Velden, who is the builder’s product development manager, it features an oversized wraparound porch.

“We’re trying to give a nod back to the traditions of Manotick,” she says.

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Initially a bungalow — “There’s been a lot of feedback over the years to have a bungalow,” van der Velden says — the sprawling home was not going to be cost effective, even though it would fit on the oversized lot, so it became what Minto refers to as a “master down.” The two secondary rooms were shifted to the second floor, along with a loft that overlooks both the great room and the foyer.

The grey stone paired with white board and batten siding and silver metal roof on the porch give the home a crisp, fresh look that van der Velden was looking for.

Entrance

Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

The dramatic entranceway sets the tone for the home, featuring a cathedral ceiling and huge 36-by-36-inch porcelain tile from Euro Tile & Stone. ‘The motif works with everything that goes in the house,’ says designer Tanya Collins. “It’s super cool.”

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Wide, open and bright, to the left is the office and to the right is the dining room.

“As you walk in, your first view is this remarkable lobby that just gets your attention and ushers you in… You have to sort of stop and let your mind digest what your eyes are showing you,” says Dan Champagne of the CHEO Foundation.

The foyer closet door mimics the tone of the clay-coloured front door, as do all the interior doors.

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“My whole colour palette, I wanted the modern desert palette and so I took inspiration from Sedona, Arizona, the sandstone hills. There are all these colours from the dark reds to these earthy pinks,” says Collins. Building on the clay doors, the colour runs throughout the home in varying shades.

She was aiming for a more contemporary, cleaner look than last year’s home that would appeal to a family, even though the one-level-living aspect of the floor plan might attract a downsizer.

“I’ve kind of done a flip… I think it can appeal to a lot of people,” she says.

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Office

Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

The home office is located off the foyer at the front of the home.

“The den is really important because people are all working at home,” says van der Velden. “It’s a great space.”

Collins went more contemporary with the wall of built-in walnut cabinetry, which she designed, making it functional with no ornamentation. She then brought in her signature element — lighting that pops — to balance the dark of the walnut. “These are some of my favourites,” she says.

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She opted to hide everything behind cabinet doors to go for a more contemporary, cleaner look. “When you have open shelving, there’s a lot more things to look at and I was already doing open shelving in the kitchen, so I felt this was a good balance.”

Dining room

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

The dining room pairs wishbone chairs and a streamlined table with a deep coffered ceiling and earthy tones and textures for a mix of the traditional and modern. (Most of the home’s furniture is from La-Z-Boy.)

“The dining room is a lovely space with lots of natural light from the windows, front and side, that wrap around the porch,” notes van der Velden.

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The Hunter Douglas blinds are “nice and textural,” says Collins. “There’s still an organic element to the house but it’s still sophisticated and clean and more contemporary… Last year was very layered and lots of pattern on pattern.”

On the home’s overall design, she says: “I don’t feel anything is too formal in this house. It’s still approachable and not too stiff.”

Staircase

Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

“The space was important to me to have the stairs as your feature within that two-storey great room,” says van der Velden. “That whole space is going to resonate so vibrantly.”

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The custom railway is from Ottawa Classic Stairs & Bannisters and is a mix of metal and black painted wood to be consistent so that it doesn’t draw your eye to one area, says Collins.

Great room

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

The two-storey great room soars 20 feet for a sense of grandness and is filled with windows to flood the space with natural light.

“The light is beautiful in the space,” says Collins. “Certainly, the kitchen/great room, you’re flooded with light in there.”

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She wanted the decor to have a mid-century modern flavour, so when the chairs she chose for the great room and office were delayed, she sourced these white ones. “It gives it the flavour that I’m going for.”

The fireplace surround (Dekton Kelya) looks like stone and features warm, brown/bronze tones and a marbled look. Above it, the frame TV (Samsung, supplied by the Audioshop) displays artwork when not in use to camouflage the TV “so it doesn’t feel too media-like,” says Collins. (There’s another in the master bedroom.)

The curtains are custom because of the extended height. “It just brings your eye up,” she notes.

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And the oversized plants are a repeating theme in the home. Because she had the volume for them, they are an easy way to warm up the space and fill the room.

Kitchen

The kitchen boasts integrated appliances, a shiplap ceiling in poplar and an unexpected focal point of black open shelving with a mirror backsplash. Cabinetry is by Laurysen Kitchens.

“Because I felt this was very open concept, I didn’t want to do anything expected with the kitchen,” says Collins. “I wanted it to look more like a bar/lounge and feel less kitchen-like… Most people would never design their kitchen that way, not even a lot of designers would design their kitchen that way. It’s just thinking outside of the box.”

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Powder room

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

‘I love the powder room,’ says Collins, who sourced a custom sculpted marble vessel sink from Living Stones in Lanark. It’s paired with wall tile that “ties in nicely with my door colour,” she says.

Back hallway

Photo: Rhonda McIntosh, CHEO Foundation

The back hallway leads to the master suite and connects to the laundry room and mudroom behind the garage.

Adding the repeating light fixtures “is nice for a narrow hallway, it brings a little interest,” says Collins. Also adding interest is the wall trim, adding a simple and clean panelled effect that’s found throughout the home.

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The transom windows above the interior doors are a repeat of last year. “When you’ve got the high ceilings, you need to bring everything up higher.” (The main floor has 10-foot ceilings.)

Laundry room

Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

The cabinetry in the laundry room was a way to bring the colour palette into the space. “This is a cute little laundry area,” Collins says.

Master bedroom/principal bedroom

Photo: Rhonda McIntosh, CHEO Foundation

The main-floor master suite (or principal bedroom) is in a separate wing and overlooks the storm pond.

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It’s a space that will be a big talking point, says van der Velden. “It resonates with a lot of people… You can be on one floor and have everything you need that accommodates your needs on that main floor.”

Collins had planned for grasscloth on the walls, “but the dye lot sent out was the wrong one and the headboard was changed, so it meant painting the grasscloth at the final hour.”

While the painted grasscloth does give the room a subtle texture, it was just one example of how Collins was forced to repeatedly switch gears in pulling the look together this year.

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“There was just always problem-solving all the way through.”

Ensuite

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

The master ensuite is wrapped in slabs of Bianco tile (colour MV90) from Euro Tile & Stone, continuing the earthy colour tones found throughout the home.

Although not as large as last year (there’s no tub) it aims “for a bit more of an adult lifestyle where you’d just probably want the shower, double vanity and a window overlooking the pond,” says van der Velden.

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Loft

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

The open-concept loft overlooks both the foyer and the great room. It’s been furnished with an extra desk to offer a second work space separate from the main-floor office.

“The windows flow from the two-storey great room up into the loft,” says van der Velden. “It’s a grand space that people are going to be talking about.”

Although it could become another bedroom, the openness of the loft adds to the overall airiness of the home.

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Secondary bedrooms

Upstairs are two oversized bedrooms, one at the front and one at the back, with a shared bathroom in between.

Both continue the colour palette of the home, as well as the wall panelling detail, but the guest bedroom features darker colours than the peachy vibe of the girls’ room.

Basement

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

With such a large footprint, the basement is expansive, featuring a TV room, glassed-in games room, gym, hobby room, full bathroom and both regular and cold storage. In fact, the hallway extending from the stairs is so wide, “you could actually put a table in here if you wanted to,” Collins notes.

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The nine-foot ceilings and oversized windows keep the space from feeling like a basement while a giant mirror in the stair landing helps open up a narrow spot.

And there’s lots of storage space, notes Champagne. “You can have a big beautiful home but if you don’t have anywhere to put the Christmas lights you’re in a bit of a pickle.”

TV room & games room

Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

The media room is wider rather than longer, creating a cosier feel that also allows for a massive projection screen (not shown). Beside it is an enclosed space that was originally open but framed by structural posts. Collins figured it made more sense to close it in and create a gaming room.

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“It speaks to where the world is,” says Champagne.

Hobby room

Photo: Rhonda McIntosh, CHEO Foundation

The hobby room is one of those unexpected, value-added spaces, particularly given that it’s fully stocked with shop tools, workshop cabinets and wall organizers courtesy of Home Depot.

It’s also easy to access thanks to a dedicated staircase directly from the garage to the basement, meaning wood and other supplies can completely bypass the rest of the house.

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Basement bathroom

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Kevin Belanger Photography

This basement bathroom is no afterthought. Collins chose to go half and half with the two types of tiles, having the floor tile come part way up the wall before switching to the wall tile.

It’s done “to show people that you can do different things with tile… almost like a wainscoting effect,” she says. “It brings in more textures and layers.”

The property

2021 Minto dream home
Photo: Gordon King Photography

The home is on an oversized corner lot overlooking the storm pond. There’s more than enough room for the circular greenhouse, the deck, the patio and the fire pit, all done by Thunderbolt Contracting.

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“I love the location, I love the views that it offers, it’s a unique design,” says Champagne. He tells of sitting on the back deck doing some work, watching the birds on the pond. “It just struck me what an incredibly beautiful view that you have… It’s probably one of the most beautiful lots that we’ve ever had for a (dream) home, and we’ve had some great ones in the past.”

About the Author

Anita Murray All Things Home Ottawa homes

Anita Murray

Anita Murray is the co-founder of All Things Home Inc. and owner of Three C Communications. The veteran journalist has covered the Ottawa housing industry since 2011.

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