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american dream builders finale

Emily Oster

It has arrived - the last review of American Dream Builders. Monday night was the final episode of the season and not surprisingly (SPOILER ALERT) Lukas won. The finalists were given the project of run down beach houses, 5 days to complete the challenge and a team of eliminated designers. Jay was given the more traditional house while Lukas got the boxy, contemporary home (apparently these were random selections but I am highly skeptical). Jay approached the project by giving out room assignments to each designer on his team while Lukas controlled the design of each room down to even the glassware selection in the kitchen.

Jay's house had more space planning issues and smaller, tighter rooms. That being said, he was able to use these constraints to his advantage creating an intimate, cottagey feel to his house. My favorite elements of Jay's design were the chairs in the living room, the idea of the nook build out (not necessarily the execution of it), and the installation of the glass folding doors and balcony. I did not like the master bedroom, plastic outdoor chairs or the family room on the second floor. Overall, I think Jay did a good job as the BUILDER and I think had the neighborhood council voted he would have won. He delegated, oversaw his crew, had a general design intention and kept things on task. 

Lukas' house was much more contemporary and seem to have a lot more space. He used a color palette of white and black making the risky decision of painting the exterior black. This selection was not received well by many of the former contestants as well as by judge Monica Pedersen. Personally, I liked it and appreciated its uniqueness.

Overall, Lukas' design was pretty incredible and did not disappoint in the least. He mixed in rustic wood pieces to warm up the stark color palette and created signature sculptural elements in the form of lighting fixtures and a custom 12' long dining table. I especially liked the living room and Moroccan family room and found them both to be very design forward. There were, however, a few miss steps namely in the kitchen which just sort of seemed neglected and stuck in the corner and in the outdoor space which they didn't feature in the episode but by the pictures looked to have a very, awkward furniture plan.

Lukas was definitely the best designer on the show and I am glad he won. However, the show is called American Dream BUILDERS and I think Jay gets the award for best builder - so in many ways Jay is the more appropriate winner for how things were set up. In the end, the finale played out the fundamental problems with the show perfectly. Is it a show about giving homeowners their "dream" home? Or is it a show about innovative interior design? I know and believe you can achieve both but it takes the right partnership between a client, designer and the home they have to work with - a relationship that isn't really achievable in the world of reality television. If the show gets renewed for another season - which I doubt it will - there needs to be a clear intention of what they are after or else the next season will be as fragmented as this one was. 

I hope you have enjoyed this mini-series! Click here to read all the American Dream Builders episode reviews!