Why The Valerie Fund loved hosting Grace’s House!
The integrity of a house rests on its foundation. The foundation of Grace’s House was laid by a remarkable group of supporters and their efforts exceeded all of The Valerie Fund’s expectations. They came together to bring a 150 year-old, heavily damaged house, not only back to its former elegance but one we were proud to share as a “visual feast of gorgeous home design.” The sublime experience that was Grace’s House accomplished so much on so many levels.
The Valerie Fund had previously benefited from a Show House fundraiser but it was over two decades ago so the expertise of others proved invaluable this time around. We began by consulting with Mansion in May volunteers, the gold standard in Show House exhibitions. Their success and longevity were inspiring and before making many early decisions, we looked to see how they did things.
Design NJ generously shared advice, made up a special insert, and gave out magazines and free subscription offers to Show House guests. The staff were enthusiastic cheerleaders using their magazine’s pages and website to champion the project and promote awareness of the cause. Design NJ’s wonderful summation of Grace’s House can be found in their report “12 Reasons We Love Show Houses….and why this one is really special" (https://www.designnewjersey.com/curated-for-you/12-reasons-we-love-show-houses).
With much gratitude, The Valerie Fund has crafted their own poignant postscript to the magic of Grace’s House.
The Valerie Fund loved hosting Grace’s House because we bore witness to both a makeover of physical space and the transformation of a group of strangers into a family. Investors Dan Reichard and the Allen Brothers were willing to step back from their real estate flip and lend The Valerie Fund the house for our initiative. They knew it had good bones – original parquet floors, Moravian tile, moldings, and stunning natural light – but they took a gamble on whether the restoration by twenty-two different individual designers would result in a hodgepodge or a cohesive gem. As Grace’s grandfather, Dan’s love and concern elevated the stakes and commitment of the group – Grace became everybody’s daughter or granddaughter- and that love and positive energy filled up every space in the house.
The Valerie Fund loved hosting Grace’s House because each designer brought their “A” game to a project that was defined by an intensive three month timeline. Once selected, they would not let the deadline curtail their imaginations or most design decisions. They did whatever it took to achieve their space’s “WOW factor.” Often the financial commitment went well beyond the contracted entry fee. Our gratitude goes out to all the vendors who stepped forward with donations or heavily discounted materials. (A special shout out to Benjamin Moore! The company donated paint for every room that requested.)
After the house opened, designers spent many additional hours in their rooms sharing their inspirations, ideas and design sources to those that came through.
The Valerie Fund loved hosting Grace’s House because all the proceeds benefited The Green Light Initiative, The Valerie Fund’s $5,000,000 Capital Campaign that is nearing completion. The green light analogy is powerful; in the transit of life, a cancer diagnosis is a red light, a detour, a road block. The new revenue will give a green light to our patients and their families and enable them to move forward in a host of ways, so important to Grace and to the 6,000 other precious children who, each year, are treated at The Valerie Fund for life-threatening diseases.
Need to catch up on the story of Grace's House? Check out our previous stories in the entries below!