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Home Design Project Addresses Unique Everyday Challenges of Families with Children with Autism

Designers from Ethan Allen take measurements of the family room for the Chicago Dream House Raffle Dream

Designers from Ethan Allen take measurements of the family room for the Chicago Dream House Raffle Dream

How can families dealing with a child with autism create a home that meets the unique needs of both the autistic child and other family members? The Hope Institute for Children and Families and Ethan Allen launch today the “Chicago Dream House Raffle – Dream Room Project” to combine the expertise of Ethan Allen designers with the knowledge of Hope Institute staff. Together, they will create a model home environment that provides unique solutions to everyday challenges faced by families and children with autism and other developmental disabilities. The model rooms will be unveiled on Tuesday, December 20.

The setting for the Dream Room Project is the $1.2 million dream home featured in the Chicago Dream House Raffle, the Hope Institute’s largest fundraising initiative ( All proceeds from the fundraiser will help The Hope Institute provide services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities throughout Illinois. Ethan Allen designers, consulting with Talitha Mueller, an expert on autism spectrum disorder, are working for the next three weeks to design comfortable, family-friendly spaces within the home. The concept of the project is based on Hope Institute’s model of inclusivity, where they encourage spaces designed for children with and without developmental disabilities, rather than an either-or approach.

The final designs will be unveiled on December 20, where families and friends of the autism community will get to walk through each of the rooms and hear directly from the designers involved in the project.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Ethan Allen on the Chicago Dream House Raffle – Dream Room Project. There are more than 29,000 families who have children on the autism spectrum in Illinois. This project is intended to demonstrate how design can help overcome some of the everyday obstacles these families face, and establish a sense of comfort and function while fostering independence,” explains Clint Paul, Interim President and CEO, The Hope Institute for Children and Families.

The Chicago Dream House Raffle – Dream Room Project will be chronicled via Parents and interior design enthusiasts will be able to follow the progress of each of the rooms (family room, eat-in kitchen, dining room and children’s bedroom.) Designers will share their thoughts on the process, and will offer tips on how families can incorporate essential elements in their own homes.

"Ethan Allen is very excited to be a part of the Chicago Dream House initiative,” says Pam Bemus, Regional Design Manager. “Our local designers can’t wait to bring their talents to the family room, eat-in-kitchen and girl’s bedroom, especially knowing that the proceeds from the raffle of this home will benefit such a deserving cause.”

Ethan Allen is also hosting a complimentary Holiday Design Workshop in its Lombard Design Center on Saturday, December 3, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Their pros will lead attendees through a series of quick ideas for adding a feeling of warmth and welcome to their homes.

Dream Room Partners
Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (NYSE:ETH) is a leading interior design company and manufacturer and retailer of quality home furnishings. The company offers free interior design service to its clients and sells a full range of furniture products and decorative accessories through and a network of approximately 300 Design Centers in the United States and abroad. Ethan Allen owns and operates seven manufacturing facilities in North America, including five manufacturing plants and one sawmill in the United States and one manufacturing plant in Mexico. Approximately seventy percent of its products are made in its United States plants. For more information on Ethan Allen's products and services, visit

Talitha Mueller, M.Ed., J.D., has 20 years of experience in the field of special education. She has worked with students, ranging from three to 21 years of age, in both private and public school settings. For the past five years, she has worked as an ABA therapist and special education consultant assisting families of children diagnosed with autism. She is passionate about helping special education students achieve their fullest potential in both school and the community.

About the Raffle
All proceeds for the raffle will help The Hope Institute for Children and Families provide educational, residential and health care services to more than 23,000 Illinois children per year with multiple developmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. Here is a link to Hope’s most inspiring stories of how the organization helps children:

The Hope Institute will sell up to 35,000 tickets for the Dream House Raffle. The grand prize drawing deadline is January 20 and the drawing will be held on February 4. For a complete list of prizes, go to

Any individual who buys more than one ticket will be entered into an additional, exclusive Multi-Ticket drawing to win a 2012 Porsche Boxster or $30,000 cash; a European vacation or $10,000 cash; or a Hawaiian vacation or $5000 cash. Multi-ticket purchasers will receive an entry into this drawing with each ticket they purchase. If ticketholders refer a friend to purchase a ticket, they will be included in the Refer-a-Friend drawing and given the chance to win $10,000 cash.

To enter the Raffle, call 1-800-697-7734, or go to and register online. Forms can be mailed to The Hope Institute at 15 East Hazel Dell Lane, Springfield, IL 92712. Entrants may also print online ticket forms and fax them to 312-254-5014. Ticket purchasers must be 18 years or older, have U.S. residency and meet other requirements in the Rules and Regulations as specified on

About the Hope Institute for Children and Families:
For 54 years, The Hope Institute has provided living, learning and health care services to children with multiple developmental and physical disabilities from across Illinois. For more information, go to or call (217) 585-KIDS.

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