An Elegant Home Designed to Bring Families Hope

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The St. Jude Dream Home is about more than a display of elegance, cutting-edge products and trend-setting style. It’s a place where beautiful design becomes entwined, absorbed and almost inseparable from an incredible mission to give families in inconceivable circumstances a ray of hope.

The marriage between design and mission began seven years ago when St. Jude’s Research Hospital contacted industry thought leader Stephen Alexander Homes about designing a Dream Home. The two agreed that not only would they imagine and build the home – but 100% of the proceeds from the project would be donated to find cures and save children from childhood cancer and other chronic illnesses.
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[/su_column] [/su_row] [su_row] [su_column size=”1/2″] “The goal is to raise money for charity,” explained interior designer Susan Wilson who styled the 2016 Dream Home. “We didn’t want to do the mundane. We had to go above and beyond to showcase new products and new ideas, while tying it all back to St. Jude’s.”

[/su_column] [su_column size=”1/2″] Susan decided the home would stay true to Stephen Alexander’s roots – taking on a characteristic coastal flavor with an updated urban, contemporary feel. The overarching theme of the design would be centered on family, warmth, community and hope – all key values of St. Jude’s.
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Susan chose to incorporate beautiful upgraded finishes – from the rustic driftwood floors to the Cambria Quartz counter tops to rich marble accents. Stonework, white trim and sea grass rugs unite to create a coastal, harmonious appeal. The home was brought to light with Progress Lighting’s flush mounts and Status collection, among other fixtures.
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“I like to blend nostalgic elements that give people a sense of comfort and openness,” explained Susan. “People love bright open spaces.”

[/su_column] [/su_row] [su_row] [su_column size=”1″] Susan thoughtfully integrated images that are reflective of the St. Jude’s target house in Memphis – where families stay when their children are receiving treatment at St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Small art galleries with hand-colored creations from local school children decorate the walls to honor the children and families going through deep trials. An elephant theme is carried throughout – as one of St. Jude’s mascots.
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“St. Jude’s is a warm, happy place where the children forget they are sick. There is so much love there – and that’s what I want people to walk away with when they come to the home,” said Susan.

Lighting was very important for designing a warm and inviting environment. An abundance of can lighting paired with many windows created the desired look of daylight streaming through the house at all times. Progress Lighting’s Status fixtures further enhanced this theme.
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“Status embraces an elegant, translucent quality with its polished finish and glass accents. The way that the fixtures sparkle and shimmer adds to the openness you feel. The lighting opens up each room even more,” said Susan.
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Susan styled a cozy kitchen nook adorned with shiplap walls and finished the space with the Status linear chandelier. Easily her favorite area in the home, Susan explained, “I didn’t want to put too much around the chandelier – on the walls and table and such. The chandelier is a beautiful stand-alone piece.”

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Susan’s goal to create an urban coastal home marked by its bright inviting nature and overall elegance was expertly achieved. But for her, she keeps the home’s true mission in keen focus.

“This is the biggest and best project anyone can ever be involved in,” said Susan. “I’m so driven to bring that ray of hope into the home, just like St. Jude’s brings the kids who go there for treatments. No matter how sick the kids are – there is hope.”

Images and insight courtesy of Susan Wilson (Susan Wilson Interiors) and Stephen Alexander Homes (
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