BUILDING DREAM HOMES TAKES ON NEW MEANING when the effort supports a children’s cancer hospital that is finding cures and saving lives. Cleveland Custom Homes’ leaders say that’s why they built the St. Jude Dream Home— its fourth giveaway house for the charity. The Avon Lake property will be open mid-May through June.

“The objective of the home is to build awareness and raise money for the cause,” explains Jeff Crawford, president of Cleveland Custom Homes. The campaign started 27 years ago, and every year it grows, he says.

This year, the Avon Lake home set a nationwide record for selling 20,000 tickets for $100 each in 62 minutes. (There are 43 homes built throughout the United States.) “We were No. 1 in the money raised, and (how quickly) tickets sold,” Crawford says, adding he’s proud of the region’s communities for supporting the effort with such enthusiasm.

Set on a cul-de-sac a stone’s throw from Lake Erie, this year’s dream home is an industrial farmhouse style home with a 2,500-square-foot open, airy floor plan with clean finishes. A second-floor loft provides a spacious family room. A well-appointed master suite on the first floor is private from the flowing chef’s kitchen-dining- living space.

“Giant glass doors open up to the outdoor space,” Crawford describes, relating that this year’s home includes a full outdoor experience. “Our goal is to bring the outdoors experience inside — and the indoors experience outside, and make it real fun, inviting and comfortable.”

As the Dream Home builder, Cleveland Custom Homes is charged with rallying vendors and suppliers to provide the “bricks and sticks” to construct the house. “We build the home at no cost,” Crawford relates. “The money we spend, time and resources — there are no strings attached. We do it because we believe in the cause, and our values align with St. Jude’s.”

Crawford explains Cleveland Custom Homes has an advisory committee of about a dozen individuals who helped spearhead fundraising and make the home giveaway possible.

Because of support for this and other St. Jude programs, families who seek care for their sick children there never receive a bill from the hospital or for travel or food. The organization believes that all a family should worry about is helping their children live.

“All the proceeds from the Dream Home go toward what matters: saving children’s lives,” Crawford says.