Eric Waligora sees the room Shannon Tootle designed for him in Perkinson Homes' house during the opening of Homearama.
Richmond Homearama kicked off last weekend, offering a chance to tour nine showcase homes built by area custom builders and fully furnished and decorated by area designers. This year, the new community of RounTrey in Chesterfield County serves as the event’s location.
Presented by the Home Building Association of Richmond, (HBAR) this year the group has designated ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation as its beneficiary charity. HBAR expects to donate at least $13,000 to the organization after the event.
Perkinson Homes took its support of ASK one step further by designing a dream room for ASK kid Eric Waligora. A fifth grader at Gayton Elementary School, Eric was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last year.
Interior design Shannon Tootle of Signature Designs, who furnished and decorated Perkinson’s Villa Blanca home, worked with Eric on the concept for a game room/boy’s bedroom on the third floor of the home. “I do a lot of work for Massey Cancer Center but I didn’t know a lot about ASK,” Tootle says. “The more I learned, the more I wanted to bring awareness to the organization. I contacted [ASK Executive Director] Amy Godkin to see if there was a boy I could design a room for.”
The mother of two boys herself, Tootle could relate to Eric’s interest in video games. She worked with him, and graffiti artist Matt Betts, to create a cool third-floor retreat for gaming and hanging out with friends. “As a mom, it tears at your heart,” she says of ASK’s mission of making life better for kids with cancer. “This was a very special project for me.”
Tootle, and Perkinson Homes’ founders Shane Burnette and Brian Perkinson were on hand as Eric and his parents, Rose and Jeff Waligora, saw the room for the first time and learned that he would be taking home everything in it — furniture, custom graffiti panels, a television and sound bar (donated by Livewire) — after Homearama’s run.
Eric’s wide eyes and smile made it all worthwhile. “This is what matters,” Tootle said as she fought back tears and gestured across the beautifully decorated Villa Blanca home. “All of that is not important when compared to this.”
Homearama offers a great chance to check out the talents of the area’s builders while also learning about the latest in new home design. The Craftsman trend is still going strong, with this year’s home exhibiting hallmarks of the style — welcoming front porches, beautiful millwork and paneling, and gabled roofs. At the same time, the homes are built for modern living with sumptuous master suites, large closets, family drop-zones, open floor plans and fabulous outdoor living spaces.
Homearama is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through May 17, with beer and bluegrass music on tap for this weekend. Tickets are $8 and are available here.