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HGTV Dream Home floats along the Rose Parade

December 31, 2010 | 10:51 am

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HGTV's New Year's Day programming lineup ramps up with a commercial-free broadcast of the 122nd Tournament of Roses Parade, and for the first time, the home-and-garden network is sponsoring a float -- a replica of its 2011 Dream Home.

HGTV-Dream-Home-front Designed and built by Pasadena-based Phoenix Decorating, the float emulates the modern mountain lodge in Stowe, Vt., that the network is giving away in mid-February as the grand prize in a $2-million sweepstakes.

Phoenix Decorating designer Dave Pittman has been creating the float for months, using as inspiration the architectural blueprints from Dream Home planner Jack Thomasson. Pittman estimates that the floral-covered house is one-tenth the size of the actual 3,400-square-foot Vermont ski getaway. Complete with posts, beams, gables and a chimney clad in copper (bronze-colored strawflower, ground lentil seed and cinnamon, actually), the miniature lodge rests on a 17-by-55-foot platform decorated with iconic Vermont scenery.

"If you were to go inside, there's no question it's built like a prop, but we did use some traditional construction methods, like you would a house," Pittman said.

HGTV-float-3-cutting The structure was ready for dry decorating in early December. That's when Phoenix Decorating floral director Lyn Lofthouse had staff and volunteers covering the siding with a mix of cocoa powder and farina, a cereal grain -- "to get that light tan look," she said. Redwood bark and flax seeds outline the window frames, and finely-cut blue and lavender statice and ground white rice are fashioning the panes. Tiny lettuce seeds texture the rock foundation, and dark poppy seeds suggest grout.

These materials are applied by hand, section by section, with sponges and glue. "You wouldn't want to use flower petals on the house itself because then it would look fluffy," Lofthouse said.

Fresh-cut flowers and petals were added this week. The rooftop is covered with snowy white and lavender chrysanthemums. Roses, carnations, daisies, cattleya orchids, eucalyptus, iris, gladiolas and Spanish moss appear in the garden around the house, forming a landscape of forests, streams and mountains.

The HGTV Dream Home float is one of 22 Rose Parade floats created this year by Phoenix Decorating. Lofthouse sourced thousands of botanical ingredients from around the globe, although she says she tries to order domestically. "The straw flowers are from San Diego, and the mums are from a grower in Northern California," she said. Keep reading for details on the New Year's Day programming, photos of the actual HGTV Dream Home and information on seeing the parade floats in person ...

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HGTV programming is scheduled to start Saturday with "Rose Parade Countdown" at 7:30 a.m. PST The Rose Parade broadcast is to follow at 8 a.m. Then the "HGTV Dream Home 2011 Special" is set for 10 a.m. The HGTV website, however, lists conflicting times for the West Coast, so check local listings. (The Vermont house is pictured above and below.)

You can view floats in person: 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the end of the parade route on Sierra Madre Boulevard in Pasadena. Tickets are $10; children 5 and younger are free. Ticket sales end at 3 p.m.; the venue closes at 5 p.m. Check the Tournament of Roses website for more details.

-- Debra Prinzing

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Photo credit: HGTV

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