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Better homes & gardens is virtually plunking down the home of the future in shopping malls today as the magazine adds a high-tech twist to its annual tour promoting home decor.

The Meredith Corp. title has enticed a record number of sponsors to the mall tour, which for the first time includes a 3-D theater featuring an actual house.

America's Home of the New Millennium, built earlier this year in Chapel Hill, N.C., based on readers' suggestions, is being showcased in shopping centers in 20 cities between June 25 and Nov. 7. More than 2 million people are expected to visit the tour this year.


As in the past, the tour includes kiosks and sampling counters allowing consumers to interact with elements of the dream home. They also can shop for furniture online, see food prepared and get information on products promoted in the tour and advertised in the magazine.

The tour has a Kitchen Stage where chefs cook, a Kids' Corner and individual counters where sponsors' products are displayed.

The dream home was open to the public for five weeks in July and will be featured on a special Web site (www.bhg.com) debuting Oct. 14. It also will be featured in Better Homes & Gardens' November issue, with more than 65 sponsors' products highlighted including top-level backers Intel Corp., which supplied PC technology for many of the home's features; FurnitureFind.com, which offers online furniture shopping demonstrations in the mall tour; and Nissan Motor Corp. USA, whose Pathfinder is present at the mall stops.

The "Blueprint 2000" tour "allows people to actually touch and feel and see what they've read in our pages . . . it puts product information literally into consumers' hands," said Jeannine Shao Collins, BH&G publisher.

From the sponsor side, "Our target market is an upmarket adult female who has an active interest in making her home a more beautiful, comfortable place to live in but who insists on real value . . . and building our brand offline is an important element of reaching this target audience," said Steve Antisdel,

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