Homes for the Holidays: Tour launches with sneak peek at Rideau River area mansion

Emma Porter can look at an intricately detailed walnut cupboard in her living room and memories of her Danish grandmother immediately spring to life. The 150-year-old cupboard, a favourite piece of furniture in her ancestor s home in Denmark, brings comfort. Call it a sense of place, a feeling of belonging. Or the petite lawyer can glance at another wall in her sunny home near the Rideau River, focusing on a glass decanter that most certainly dispensed red wine to thirsty guests at the Porter s Royal Hotel in Sierra Leone 150 years ago.

The large Rideau Cove Court home she shares with her partner, Les Dalzell, is filled with antiques. Some are family treasures, others were found at antique houses in Miami, New York City, west end Ottawa and antique barns across the Ottawa Valley.

Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

Les Dalzell and Emma Porter see opening their home for the tour as a way to give back. Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

The family heirlooms are a glimpse into my past, my roots. They all have meaning to me, says Porter, who is an exotic blend of Danish roots and her father s black heritage. Adds Dalzell, a veteran sales representative for Euro Star Windows and a dedicated auction buff: Then there are the untold stories behind antiques we found in shops and at Ottawa auctions. You wonder who once sat at a desk and wrote a letter with a quill pen and ink.

Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

The home sits on an acre that s extensively landscaped near the Rideau River. Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

His family roots are not nearly as exotic as the woman he met in the light department of IKEA more than seven years ago. He travelled across Canada, living on military bases with his family, until he decided to put down roots in Ottawa at just 16. Together they have combed shops, looking for treasures. You never know what you are going to come across, says Porter. That s the exciting part.

Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

The sprawling home boasts 7,000 square feet. There was a big wow factor as soon as we walked in, says Les Dalzell. Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

They re opening the doors to their collection for the 13th annual Homes for the Holidays Tour Nov.

13 to 15. The tour will see eight smart homes decorated for the holidays by top florists and designers, a pop up shop of Discount Holidays © holiday gifts at the Irish ambassador s residence in Rockcliffe Park, and a craft market plus voting for the top gingerbread house and warm cider at the Ruddy-Shenkman Hospice in Kanata.

Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

The centrepiece as you walk into the home is a 19th-century ivory Chinese urn. Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

The tour is a major fundraiser for Hospice Care Ottawa, an organization offering 19 hospice beds at the Hospice at May Court in Old Ottawa South and at Central West on Carling Avenue. The tour, among the largest and most ambitious Discount Holidays © holiday home tours in the country, has raised more than $1.7 million to help fund services that include home support, day programs and bereavement groups. Along with a team of paid professionals, Hospice Care Ottawa relies heavily on more than 1,000 volunteers to deliver palliative care free of charge.

Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

There is lots of light and very high ceilings, says Dalzell. It is perfect for our antiques. Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

The province covers only a portion of the operational costs, putting pressure on fundraising revenue. And the province does not cover any capital costs, including recent renovations to the Ruddy-Shenkman Hospice and a planned expansion to add 12 beds, due to start construction in the spring. The capital campaign needs an additional $1.5 million to top up $6 million already collected before construction begins.

Anything we can do to help raise money for hospice is good, says Dalzell.

He was encouraged to open his home after learning about the generosity of Peter Foustanellas, owner of Olympia Homes and the developer who built Dalzell s 7,000-square-foot home.

Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

A walnut cupboard in the living room that once belonged to her Danish grandmother helps connect Emma Porter to her past. Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

Peter is a very generous man with The Ottawa Hospital and the (University of Ottawa) Heart Institute, says Dalzell. His generosity inspired us. He passed on the torch to help.

Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

A decanter from Sierra Leone that her ancestors would have used at the Porter s Royal Hotel also connects Porter to her father s side of the family. Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

Dalzell and Porter were looking to buy a home in Manotick when they saw the sign for the brick home perched on the side of River Road. There was a big wow factor as soon as we walked in, says Dalzell. There is lots of light and very high ceilings. It is perfect for our antiques. They sparkle, including 20 clocks. I have a thing for clocks.

The two have spent many hours on the outside space as well, hiring landscapers to build a large stone retaining wall and iron fencing around the one-acre property and creating a pond and waterfall, along with lush grass separating large gardens.

Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

The antique lovers have filled their home with family heirlooms and other treasures they ve found, including 20 clocks. Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

Now, Porter is ready to pause on finding new additions for her home, mostly because her 92-year-old father recently moved into a retirement home nearby. He has several homes in Sierra Leone, she has a home near the Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital and there are properties in England.

Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

Emma s grandfather, Arthur Porter. Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

I have to sort through the homes. There are a lot of treasures to discover. And more family memories to unearth.

Creating a sense of home

Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

Dennis and Andrea Laurin are this year s honorary chairs. Brian T. Hum / Ottawa Citizen

Home is vital for families, yet a sense of home is even more critical at the end of life, says Andrea Laurin, honorary co-chair of the 2015 Homes for the Holidays Tour.

Many people want to be at home at the end of their life and the home environment of hospice care allows them to do just that. Laurin, along with husband Dennis, is heading up the 13th annual Homes for the Holidays Tour Nov.

13 to 15.

The warm lights, familiar sounds and smells must be such a comfort to individuals and their family and friends at such a difficult time, she adds. A tour of homes in our community reminds us of the privilege of preparing for one s eternal home, wherever an individual s faith or beliefs may take them.

  • Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

    This Georgian Revival-style home was built by Commander Barry German in 1942 for his widowed daughter-in-law after the death of his son in the Second World War. German modelled the home after his own on the neighbouring property and it was designed by architects Cecil Burgess and E.A. Gardiner. It sits on a corner lot with old maple trees on what would have part of the original Keefer Estate. The home was recently renovated to open up the space and modernize the kitchen and bathrooms while retaining the historical integrity.

    Tour decorators: Stoneblossom Floral. Brian T. Hum / Ottawa Citizen

  • Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

    Built in 1952, this French Country home almost doubled in size following a renovation seven years ago, then grew again this past summer when designer Andr Godin was brought in to add a great room and renovate the breakfast room and kitchen. Filled with antiques and fine art, this family home focuses on outdoor living with a large pool, a jardin sauvage or wilderness, covered porch for relaxing and double-sided stone fireplace. Tour decorators: designer Karen Grand and Full Bloom. Brian T. Hum / Ottawa Citizen

  • Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

    Designed by architect Barry Hobin, this modern home was meant to accommodate the shifting needs of the owners. A large family room and gym make the spacious and bright lower level a perfect spot for older children, while the convenient placement of essential amenities on the main level allows the home to double as an ideal place to retire. The design makes optimal use of natural light inside and a putting green, large entertainment space, lap pool and hot tub offer maximum outdoor enjoyment. Tour decorators: Mood Moss Flowers. Brian T. Hum / Ottawa Citizen

  • Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

    March Winds is a grand Georgian-inspired home named to reflect both it’s location in old March Township and its constant breezes.

    The owners personally cleared their densely treed 2.5-acre property for their home, which features ample details such as decorative ceilings, trim, chair rails and panel moulding (made and installed by the owner). The living and dining rooms boast matching antique fireplace mantels while the living room is home to a working grandfather clock dating to the 1830s. The gardens have twice been featured on garden tours. Tour decorators: Trillium Floral and Brantim Country Garden Centre. Brian T. Hum / Ottawa Citizen

  • Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

    This home was the original Cardel Homes model home in Kanata Lakes. It backs onto a mature forest that allows the owners to enjoy the secluded greenery and visiting wildlife throughout the year. The home features vaulted ceilings, a large expanse of back windows, walkout basement and a wonderful balance between esthetics and functionality. The front room speaks to the family’s love of music with a grand piano, drum kit and several guitars.

    Tour decorators: Pretty Pots Flower Shop. Brian T. Hum / Ottawa Citizen

  • Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

    Nestled on the banks of the Ottawa River, this beachfront home was designed to take advantage of the sweeping views of the river and the city skyline. Built in 1986, it was renovated to include a spectacular sunroom and floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the view as well as both the front and back yards. Attention to detail means the home is filled with light regardless of the season. Tour decorators: Flowers Talk Tivoli. Brian T. Hum / Ottawa Citizen

  • Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

    An expansive home on a quiet cul-de-sac near the Rideau River, this architecturally stunning home is filled with an array of antiques collected by the homeowners on their travels. The artfully landscaped property reflects their love of gardening, while a large deck is the perfect spot to relax with friends and listen to water falling into the pond. Tour decorators: Mill Street Florists. Brian T. Hum / Ottawa Citizen

  • Homes For The Holidays: Tour Launches With Sneak Peek At Rideau River Area Mansion

    The Embassy of the Republic of Armenia is housed in a Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion built in 1908. Architect W.E.

    Noffke remodeled the home in 1922 and stuccoed the exterior. It has been home to two other embassies: Uruguay and Hungary. In 1995, prominent Armenian-American businessman Sarkis Acopian bought and donated the home to the Republic of Armenia in memory of his parents. Renovations were done in 2005 and in 2008 the building received heritage designation from the city. Tour decorators: Artistic Landscape Design. Brian T. Hum / Ottawa Citizen

Last year, the Laurins opened their own Rockcliffe Park home to more than 2,000 visitors over three days in a bid to raise funds for Hospice Care Ottawa, which runs 19 palliative beds and a collection of home support, day hospice and bereavement programs.

At the end of the tour we returned home and did not know one person had been through our home, let alone more than 2,000, says Dennis, owner of Laurin Construction. It was an easy commitment, and it was an easy commitment when we were asked to be honorary chairs of the 2015 campaign.

Laurin is the development brains behind many commercial projects, including shops at Lansdowne Park.

Opening our home and other homes just makes so much sense, says Andrea.

The 2015 home tour is simply an extension of the concept we agreed to in 2014.

If you go

What: Homes for the Holidays tour of eight seasonally decorated homes from Rockcliffe Park to Kanata

When: Nov.

13 to 15

Extras: A Discount Holidays © holiday pop-up shop at the Irish ambassador s residence in Rockcliffe Park; gingerbread builder s bake-off and craft emporium at the Ruddy-Shenkman Hospice in Kanata

Tickets: $50, visit hospicecareottawa.ca1

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References

  1. ^ hospicecareottawa.ca (www.hospicecareottawa.ca)

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