The Dream Lottery has built its reputation by presenting some of the most stunning homes imaginable.
To shake things up a little this year, organizers called on Hillier Contracting Inc. to build a home that — quite literally — has never been seen before. And that goes not just for London, or southwestern Ontario, but the entire province.
The home, located in Bayfield, is made of eight shipping containers and although it measures less than 4,000 sq. ft., it contains three floors of luxury living.
For company owner Brent Hillier, building a container home has opened an entire world of opportunities.
“It was a massive learning curve. Everything we have learned will make the second one easier and the next one easier after that,” he said. “I think they’ll become popular. That’s my desire. I’m going to push them; build as many as I can.”
One of the strengths of a container home, which is a movement gaining global traction, is their durability.
After all, shipping containers are designed to ship across the ocean; they endure all kinds of weather and climate conditions.
As a result, Hillier said they are basically indestructible. That comes in handy since there are so many of them lying around.
“There are 1.5 million sitting empty in North America that are never going to be used for anything,” he said. “They are too expensive to recycle, based on the thickness of the materials. So why not use them for something?”
Building a home out of shipping containers may sound limiting to some people, but definitely not Jillian Summers.
The owner of UpStaging Limited, decorator of the container home, Summers said her experience working with the Dream Lottery has probably been “by far the most fun, exciting project” she’s been a part of.
“I could do whatever I wanted. I had this vision of a New York loft, very minimalist, very minimal colour. The sky was the limit with nothing to compare it to. So it was a lot of fun,” Summers said. “We got to see it before it was even near completion. The creativity going through my brain, I’d never experienced it that before.”
Everything came into play, Summers said with excitement. From hanging a bicycle on the wall, to doing a huge mural of original artwork, and crafting a New York-inspired master bedroom, she said the home was designed with “a lot of dramatic effect” in mind.
Like Hillier, Summers admits she knew little about the container home movement when she started work on the dream home. However, with the flexibility to configure the home to almost any taste and design, she is most excited with how this particular project came together.
“We didn’t want it to feel like you couldn’t touch anything. We want people to be comfortable in an entertaining space that is very inviting,” she said. “It was like, come on in, put your feet up; this is a place of family. That’s what I wanted people to feel.”
Summers said she wants people touring the dream home to come away feeling “wowed.”
For proof of that feeling, he points to the upwards of 3,000 people per weekend who are visiting Bayfield to tour the house.
“The response has been ridiculous. The biggest thing I’ve heard is, ‘If I won this house, I’d actually keep it.’ You don’t hear that a lot,” Hillier said. “Most people say they will take the $1 million and stay where they are. Now, geography plays a big role. But if someone from the area were to win, the consensus is they would take the house.”