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american dream builders episode 8

Emily Oster

Ok so I am going to go ahead and say this has become the Lukas show - which I am actually fine with because his work is interesting enough to keep me watching. This week the designers are given downtown lofts and Lukas does probably his best work yet. The sculptural elements and his consideration of scale are spot on and the end result is really beautiful. In the entry/dining room, Lukas pairs a long stained black farm table with chestnut leather chairs. The effect is the perfect blend of rustic and modern. The styling of an antique tray with white candles completes the look adding just the right amount of warmth to the space.

The long table frames the kitchen which has some really thoughtful design elements. The first being the island detail which has a recessed front panel - a small detail with a big impact. The other two aspects I love about this space are Lukas' treatment of the range hood and the side cabinet wall. The hood is a simple, iron frame that acts as a shelf but its real purpose is to create symmetry on the back wall - counteracting the asymmetry of the cook top - pretty genius. The cabinet wall is actually just two sets of upper cabinets stacked on top of each other which is sort of a wonderfully stupid design trick to create a large pantry space. 

In the living room, the use of texture is really what stands out to me. The combination of leather, fabric, metals and natural fibers give the space that modern yet rustic feel that I love. I also am pretty obsessed with the driftwood sconces and the sculptural floor lamp.

It pretty clear from the show that Nate Berkus thinks Lukas is the standout as well. He defends his chairs to the other judges and you can just tell by his reaction to the space how much he loves it. In addition, in his video clip he calls Lukas' the "role model" for the other contestants. 

As far as the other designers go this week, Elaine's space was fine but not very functional. Darren's bedroom had good styling but that was really to Elaine's credit. And Jay and Nina's loft while making a good use of space was sort of generic and cliche. This week there was no neighborhood council and no distinct winner. Each contestant was judged individually and ultimately Darren went home. I think the show's producers did this because they realize the neighborhood council's aren't picking the best designs. I am not sure how they will judge the remaining challenges but I much prefer it when the judges select the winner and losers. 

Happy Monday everyone!