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    American Homebuilders tudor bedroom
    NBC/ZillowTeam Blue creates two bedrooms, including a boy's bedroom with functional seating.

    By Emily Heffter

    Each week, Zillow Blog will provide a recap of NBC's new home renovation show, "American Dream Builders," hosted by celebrity designer Nate Berkus. Zillow is proud to be partnered with the show in its debut season. The show airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT).

    500x191_ADBLogo_a_01In the first episode of "American Dream Builders," we're introduced to two families that have a common problem: they've outgrown their homes. The West family has six family members -- four adults and two kids -- sharing their 3-bedroom, 1,800-square-foot home. The Brehme family has seven people sharing one main bathroom in their 2,000-square-foot home and the kitchen is just too cramped.

    Both homes are Tudors -- a storybook architectural style, but the interiors need modernizing to be more spacious and functional. The 12 contestants divide into two teams to take on a one-week remodel of the two families' homes, which are both located in Los Angeles. The first order is who will act as site manager for each team and the only non-designers in the group, home builders Jay and Tarrick, are appointed to lead each teams' respective efforts.

    Jay heads up Team Blue and includes team members Andrew, Christina, Darren, Elaine and Nina. They are assigned the West family's home. Tarrick leads Team Red and includes Dann, Erinn, Lukas, Nancy and Vanessa to work on the Brehme home. Celebrity designer Nate Berkus, former NFL star-turned-landscape-architect Eddie George and designer Monica Pedersen will be judging the participants. Both teams begin brainstorming by looking at other homes in the neighborhood on Zillow, to see the values of nearby homes and what features most include. They look at comps for the neighborhood and other updates that will help increase homes' value.

    Team Blue

    Team Blue gathers in their project tent and team members choose the respective rooms they want to work on: Elaine takes the master bedroom, Jay gets the dining room and bathroom, Nina is assigned the kitchen and nook, Andrew is in charge of the living room and Darren, the outdoor space. Soon, everyone is swinging sledgehammers, but Andrew raises a concern that the team never agreed on an overall concept for the space.

    Christina suggests converting the master closet into a bedroom for the kids. The original kids' bedroom would become a den.

    Team Red

    Meanwhile, in the Brehme home, Team Red needs to do something about the outdated bathroom the whole family shares. Lukas, an edgy Polish designer who says he is "the bad boy of design," falls in love with an old workbench he finds in the garage and decides to transform it into a bathroom vanity.

    Tensions start to fly when Dann, who is assigned to handle the outdoor space, doesn't hold back his concerns about how much time the rehabilitation of the workbench might take. "He has taken on too much," he says. "This is kindling. This is not a vanity."

    Lukas is already up to his neck in another project: turning some of the home's old kitchen flooring into a dining-room table. Short on time, he asks Tarrick to complete construction of the bathroom vanity.

    Judges Check Progress

    The judges visit the construction sites and immediately raise concerns about Team Blue's closet-to-bedroom plan. "They took a room that could have been another bedroom, and they created that den, and now the kids are still sharing a room," Nate said. "Huge mistake." But Nate likes Lukas' idea to rehab the workbench into a bathroom vanity. "They're going to need a lot of storage, so that vanity they're building is key," he says. "I'm excited to see it."

    Finish Line

    As the appliances and mattresses start showing up, it's crunch time at both sites. Jay makes the final call to ditch the den at the West house and make a bedroom for each child.

    At the Brehme home, Lukas steps in to assist Tarrick on finishing the bathroom vanity. Lukas scrambles to patch it and make it functional. He ends up with drawers that don't open and pillowcases hanging where the cabinet doors should be.


    (Pictured: An unfinished vanity seals the team's fate.)

    But when the time runs out, both design teams feel good about their work. At this point, Nate throws a surprise into the equation and tells the teams that they will not only be judging the outcomes, but so will the "neighborhood council" -- a group of about 20 people who walk down the street towards Team Red and Team Blue.

    Reveal

    When it's time for the reveal, the judges tour both homes and point out their favorite features. In the Brehme house that Team Red designed, they admire the way the designers kept traditional Tudor details, but updated the color palette in the living room.


    (Pictured: Team Red's living room is beautiful and modern.)

    Nate loves the table Lukas fashioned from the old floor. "So this is the floor that the family loved?" he says. "This is just cool." The judges question the television nook the team squeezed into a hallway, saying it just feels awkward. But the big problem is the unfinished vanity in the family's only bathroom. "That vanity was just a mess," Nate says later. "There is no way seven people are going to be able to use that bathroom."

    In the West house that Team Blue designed, the judges admire the individual rooms, but they call the overall design too eclectic. There was no clear vision. "There were multiple personalities in your group," Monica said. "And there were multiple personalities in the home."

    Dining room
    (Pictured: Team Blue's formal dining room.)

    They loved the remodel, and Monica called turning the closet into a bedroom "genius."
    The neighborhood council makes its way through the homes and choose the West home remodel as the more useful space.

    Team Blue wins.

    When Team Red faces the judges, Dann is upfront about his feelings and say he thinks Lukas should go home because of the bathroom vanity. Lukas points out that he delegated that job to Tarrick. Nate agrees, and says the neighborhood council likely voted against their design mostly because the bathroom vanity had drawers that didn't even open. They decide to send home Tarrick.

    "The poor time management is really inexcusable," Nate told Tarrick.

    In the end, both families are thrilled with their new designs. Each family ends up with a modernized, more useful space and about a 35 percent increase in their home value. Before the show, the homes were estimated by Zillow to have a lower market value than similar homes in their neighborhood. But the Zestimate(R) home value should increase, following an appraiser's inspection of the remodeled home that takes into account special features, location and market conditions.

    What did you think about Episode 1? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!
    If you missed the episode, you can watch the show online on nbc.com or Hulu Plus.


    More about "American Dream Builders'':
    "American Dream Builders": Episode 1: Exit Interview
    Get Amy's Take on "American Dream Builders," Episode 1
    Storybook Tudors for "American Dream Builders" Fans
    See Before and After Photos of the Homes

    More from AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find homes for sale in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    See celebrity real estate.

     

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    Storybook Tudor house 4441 Mockingbird Lane Dallas
    Zillow
    By Catherine Sherman

    If you caught Sunday's premiere of NBC's new reality home renovation show, "American Dream Builders," you saw leading designers and home builders going head-to-head in the battle of storybook Tudors. Their challenge? To add improvements and style to two North Hollywood homes built in 1930.
    Early 20th-century Tudor architecture -- known for its charming pitched roofs and cross gables -- remains a popular choice for homeowners across the country, but smaller Tudors tend to have chopped-up floor plans that can be problematic for growing families.

    On the show, two teams of pros demonstrated how adding modern upgrades and opening up rooms is a great way to make a Tudor better suited for a contemporary lifestyle while preserving its character. After both renovations, the homes were not only were more functional; their Zestimate(R) home values also increased by more than $100,000. (While the Zestimate is not a substitute for an appraisal, it's a great starting point for determining a home's value.)

    Feeling inspired to renovate a Tudor of your own? We've rounded up a few standouts currently on the market in major U.S. cities. Click on the links below to see each home's Zestimate, square footage, local school data and more.

    Kansas City, Mo.

    7220 Ward Parkway
    For sale: $239,950
    Kansas City, MO
    Nicknamed after its famous Kansas City builder, this "Dible Tudor" is on the market in the Ward Parkway neighborhood. The interior, measuring 1,808 square feet, has been well preserved with gleaming hardwoods and original crown molding.

    Chicago

    6043 N. Marmora Ave.
    For sale: $395,000
    Chicago, IL
    This 2,000-sq.-ft. Jefferson Park Tudor is just steps from the Indian Road Park forest preserve and bike trails. The exterior shows off classic, brick-wall cladding, while the interior mixes hickory wood floors and original kitchen cabinetry with new appliances and contemporary furnishings.

    Nashville

    105 Cherokee Road, Nashville
    For sale: $449,900
    Nashville, TN
    Measuring 1,876 square feet, this Nashville Tudor features a sunroom with crank-out windows, arched passageways and other vintage details. Updates include bathroom subway tile, contemporary kitchen cabinets and a gas range.

    Dallas

    4441 Mockingbird Lane
    For sale: $689,000
    Dallas, TX
    This inviting Dallas Tudor contains 1,965 square feet and is located near top-rated schools in the Highland Park neighborhood. It's also full of character with a cathedral ceiling, ornate chandeliers, turquoise bathroom tile, wooden built-ins and more.

    San Jose, Calif.

    1109 Garfield Ave.
    For sale: $729,000
    San Jose, CA
    While a modest-sized interior (1,026 square feet), this Tudor has a great backyard patio for outdoor entertaining. Other highlights include original hardwood floors, a storybook fireplace and a spacious, finished attic.

    More about "American Dream Builders'':
    "American Dream Builders": Episode 1: Exit Interview
    Get Amy's Take on "American Dream Builders," Episode 1
    See Before and After Photos of the Homes

    More from AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find homes for sale in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    See celebrity real estate.


    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    The hottest home design trends for 2014 include sleek ergonomic design, organic materials and customization, says designer Campion Platt. As Platt comments in the video above, "One of the big
    black interior of ergonomic refrigerator
    AOL On
    trends is where you have ergonomic functionality, but also things feel good to the touch. They look good obviously, and they fit seamlessly into your kitchen."

    An example from the recent Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York is the black flat-panel design refrigerator (pictured at right) that opens to reveal a black interior. (See more from that show in the video.)

    More recent posts about home design:
    Retractable-Roof Pergolas: Made for the Sun and Shade
    Why Sears 'Kit' Homes Are Cataloged as American Classics
    Sorting Truths From Myths About Home Storage

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    ZillowScott Disick said the Calabasas home's decor looked like "Alice in Wonderland meets Beetlejuice."
    Kourtney Kardashian Portrait
    Dan Hallman/Invision/APKourtney Kardashian
    By Emily Heffter

    When Kourtney Kardashian listed her latest design project in January -- a showcase of bold, graphic, black-and-white patterns -- it wasn't clear whether it would sell. Her own partner, Scott Disick, said it looked like "Alice in Wonderland meets Beetlejuice." Now the Calabasas, Calif., mansion has reportedly sold in less than two months. According to the Los Angeles Times, the buyers paid an extra $125,000 for some of the furnishings.

    Those who are keeping up with the Kardashians may already know about the mansion swapping that has made sisters Kourtney and Khloe neighbors in Calabasas. Kourtney and her family have reportedly upgraded to a 10,000-square-foot home they bought from former NFL start Keyshawn Johnson, putting them near sister Khloe Kardashian, who reportedly bought the home of problem neighbor Justin Bieber.

    Kourtney's custom-decorated East Coast-style traditional home at 25435 Prado De Las Peras in Calabasas is dramatic, with black-and-white wallpaper, flooring, paint and furnishings that give it a lush, modern feel. It has views of the city, marble bathrooms, three designer guest suites in addition to the master, and a detached library.


    Related:
    Report: Jodie Foster Relists Hollywood Hills Home
    Pink Lists Spanish-Style Home
    Rihanna Selling Pacific Palisades Mansion

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    'American Dream Builders' Mid-Century Modern
    Zillow

    By Emily Heffter

    Each week, Zillow Blog will provide a recap of NBC's new home renovation show, "American Dream Builders," hosted by celebrity designer Nate Berkus. Zillow is proud to be partnered with the show in its debut season. The show airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT).

    500x191_ADBLogo_a_01This week on NBC's home renovation reality show "American Dream Builders," each team had one week to remodel and design a home built in a popular architectural style: midcentury modern. Both homes are small and feel tired. Or as host and designer Nate Berkus puts it: "These couples have seen their dream homes become a nightmare."

    If your nightmares involve vinyl siding, that is.

    The best-selling homes in the Palm Springs neighborhood have kept the mid-century design intact and maximized their use of outdoor space, since the homes aren't very large.

    As an added challenge, each team is asked to make the two homes' underwhelming yards into "an outdoor oasis" where the homeowners can enjoy additional space as well as cool down in the hot Palm Springs weather.

    Team Red


    Team Red, under the site management leadership of Lukas, lists three goals to tackle:

    • Create indoor/outdoor living area
    • Give bedrooms facelift
    • Add special projects to make house pop

    Lukas assigns himself the kitchen, Erinn says she is going to make the master bedroom a "calming oasis" by painting it a darker color, Nancy makes plans to weld a big piece of art and Vanessa is assigned to work with Dann on the guest bedroom. Dann, who is from Palm Springs, will also focus on the outdoors. "Palm Springs is about that true melding of indoor-outdoor living, so we have a huge job to do," he says.

    Team Blue


    Andrew is the site manager for Team Blue and the team's goals are:

    • Create a custom pergola in back
    • Give front exterior a mid-century modern makeover
    • Open up more space in master bedroom

    The members of Team Blue clash right away. Jay, the only builder on the team, wants to update the front of the house with a larger door. Andrew, Christina, Darren, Elaine and Nina, disagree. They are concerned his idea is not consistent with the lines of mid-century architecture. Once the new door frame is in place, they overrule Jay.

    "That's a disaster," says Christina.

    "This does not put us in a good spot. ... It looks like crap," site manager Andrew tells him.

    Eventually, Jay, in his second humbling moment in two weeks, reframes the entry for a smaller door.

    "Voila," he grumbles. "There it is."

    Christina is concerned that team leader Andrew is not doing enough to rein in Elaine. At one point, Jay has to help diffuse an argument between the two women after Elaine criticizes Christina's drawings.

    "Girlfriend, the day you have a sense of proportion, I'll let you use it," Elaine tells her. "I need you to understand that in the real world, you would be working for me."

    Team Red


    On Team Red, Dann talks about a plan to have the indoors/outdoors as one by removing a wall between living room and kitchen and replacing the windows with panoramic doors - floor-to-ceiling glass doors that fold all the way open, which will create "one continuous room," says Lukas.

    Vanessa discovers some chicken wire and hands it to Lukas. The two - who collaborated on a dining room table out of a kitchen floor in episode 1 - have the same "a-ha" moment of using the chicken wire for a project, and Lukas says to Vanessa, "Do you want to play with me?"

    Meanwhile, Nancy is busy designing a bedroom as well as welding a sculpture out of steel.

    Dann, Erinn and Nancy shop for plants that can withstand the extreme Palm Springs heat and dry weather. Erinn spots a plant that she feels is perfect - "coffea" - which "blooms from spring to fall." Dann picks out furnishings.

    Judges check progress


    With a few days left before the reveal, the judges pay a visit to both homes and have mixed reactions to both teams' plans.

    They start with Team Blue where Elaine explains her design idea for the living room: "We have brown walls, then shots of yellow, so it's going to be very chic. And the living room is going to be this very metallic grass cloth."

    Nate thinks that Elaine's color palette in Team Blue's living room might be too dark, especially because of the low ceilings and lack of light.

    Meanwhile, over on Team Red, Erinn promises Nate her bedroom "is going to be the sexiest place in the house."

    Nate says, "This could either be the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life or the ugliest house on the face of the earth. We'll see what happens."
    As the teams scramble to finish, a storm rolls in and forces them to stop work for part of the final day. At 3 a.m. on reveal day, both teams are still working and frantic.

    "In order to speed up the process, I've become this crazy person," Lukas says, as he flips over a framed print that is hung upside down on a wall.
    Over at Team Red's project, Nancy is having a crisis because the bed is too big. She starts crying.

    "This is wrong," she spurts. "This sucks!"
    Dann helps keep her calm and they move the bed to make it fit. "We're going to be fine," he says, helping her pile pillows on the bed to disguise the headboard.

    Red Guest Room

    Reveal


    The judges head into Team Blue's house first, and immediately, Nate announces that Elaine made the right choice with her dark, textured walls.
    "This is mid-century modern, for now," he says. "It's really sexy."

    Rich wall color pairs beautifully with sleek furnishings.
    But things are not as well-received in the bedroom. Judge Monica Pedersen doesn't like the headboard or painting that Christina chose.

    The judges love the home's new outdoor space until they spot an ugly, old water heater on the side of the house.

    "This destroys it," says judge Eddie George. "It's the stain on the white suit."

    Team Red's simple living room design gets rave reviews from the judges.

    View More: http://americandreambuilders.pass.us/adb

    "Oh my goodness," Nate says. "Six pieces of furniture and a rug and it looks spectacular."

    They declare that by intentionally leaving out some shelving in the kitchen, the team gave the kitchen a clean, mid-century feel.

    But the judges don't like the bedrooms.

    Monica says there are "way too many textiles" in the bedroom Nancy and Dann threw together at the last minute.

    "I just don't get it in here," says Eddie.

    Erinn's dark master bedroom feels small, and the judges say it doesn't go with the rest of the house, either.

    But the outdoor space is a true addition to the home and the large chicken-wire lamp created by Lukas and Vanessa receives oohs and ahhs as it seems to float above a long dining table.

    The neighborhood council chooses Team Blue as the winning team. The judges tell Team Blue that the home's curb appeal, the colors inside, as well as the organic materials used by Darren for the outdoor space helped them win, but the water heater eyesore was not overlooked by the council or the judges.

    Team Red is grilled by the judges. Erinn's master bedroom was an issue as well as Nancy's guest room. Erinn's room was too dark and not welcoming. "We were designing for two guys," Lukas says, defending Erinn's decision. He says that taking time for the sculpture took Nancy away from designing the bedroom and that was the weak point in their home.

    In spite of creating an innovative sculpture, the judges cite Nancy's room as the most problematic. By selecting a too-large bed for the space, the bedroom design was overdone with too many textiles and patterns. The sophistication level was not at the same in the rest of the home.

    Nancy is eliminated.

    In the end, both families are thrilled with their new designs. Each home has increases in its estimated value, thanks to new landscaping, outdoor space and modern interiors.

    Before the show, the homes were estimated by Zillow to have a lower market value than similar homes in the neighborhood. But the Zestimate(R) home value should increase, following an appraiser's inspection of the remodeled home that takes into account special features, location and market conditions.

    What did you think about episode 2? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!
    If you missed the episode, you can watch the show online on nbc.com or Hulu Plus.

    More about "American Dream Builders":
    "American Dream Builders" Episode 2: Exit Interview
    Midcentury Homes for "American Dream Builders" Fans
    "American Dream Builders," Episode 2: Before & After
    Get Amy's Take on "American Dream Builders," Episode 2

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    Palm Springs, Calif. 688 E. Spencer Drive
    Zillow

    By Catherine Sherman

    Two teams of designers and home builders renovated midcentury modern homes in this week's episode of NBC's home renovation reality show, "American Dream Builders." The sleek architectural style, which is marked by a low-pitched roof and post-and-beam construction, first appeared in the 1940s and continued through the mid-1960s. Today, midcentury architecture and design is as popular as ever, with the "Mad Men"-style aesthetic filling furniture stores across the country.

    For episode 2, Team Red was led by Lukas Machnik and Andrew Flesher oversaw Team Blue's efforts. In the end, both homes' Zestimate(R) home values increased by almost $150,000. (While the Zestimate is not a substitute for an appraisal, it's a great starting point for determining a home's value.)

    Check out these classic midcentury homes for sale across the U.S. Click on the links below to see each home's Zestimate, square footage, local school data and more.

    Gulfport, Fla.

    800 61st St. S.
    For sale: $224,900
    Gulfport, FL
    Just outside St. Petersburg, this Gulfport home was built in 1957. The interior has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, vaulted beamed ceilings and a large back deck. The kitchen was updated last year with granite countertops, marble backsplash, new wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

    Phoenix

    3702 E. Paradise Drive
    For sale: $319,500
    Phoenix, AZ
    Built in the "Haver style" defined by midcentury architect Ralph Haver, this Phoenix home retains it's architectural roots. The interior has been renovated with "luxury finishes and a timeless palette," according to the listing description. Highlights include porcelain tile flooring, flat-panel cabinetry, quartz countertops, a soaking tub and a replastered pool.

    Palm Springs, Calif.

    688 E. Spencer Drive
    For sale: $539,000
    Palm Springs, CA
    Palm Springs is known for having the largest concentration of midcentury modern architecture in the country. George Alexander of the Alexander Construction Company is responsible for several built in the late '50s and '60s. He collaborated on homes, including this one, with architect William Krisel. The design the pair came up with is ideal for Palm Springs, with a poolside patio and lots of windows for soaking in the desert sun.

    Falls Church, Va.

    3015 Pine Spring Road
    For sale: $599,900
    Falls Church, VA
    About 20 minutes from downtown D.C., this post-and-beam construction shows off several mid-century details including cathedral ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and a brick fireplace. The home has three bedrooms, but the library could easily be converted to a fourth bedroom.

    East Hampton, N.Y.

    (undisclosed address)
    For sale: $1.195 million
    East Hampton, NY
    This East Hampton home sits on 100 feet of prime waterfront property overlooking Gardiners Bay. The midcentury-style, open floorplan includes three bedrooms, three baths and a large deck. Ownership includes membership privileges in the Lion Head Beach Association.

    More from Zillow about midcentury homes:
    For Sale: Midcentury Homes With Modern Upgrades
    American Dream Builders' Episode 2: Before & After
    Midcentury Classic in Bothell, Wash.

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    bedroom Christian Audigier Home Los Angeles
    ZillowThe house shows off Audigier's nouveau taste, with designer touches such as upholstered leather headboards.
    Macy's Passport to Fashion Arrivals
    APChristian Audigier
    By Emily Heffter

    French fashion designer Christian Audigier, creator of the Ed Hardy line, is selling another home in Los Angeles. This time, it's a lush Mediterranean in an upscale neighborhood, and the listing promises "unpretentious luxury" to any buyer willing to plunk down the $9.199 million asking price. That's about $36,199 a month with a 20 percent down payment, according to Zillow's mortgage calculator.

    The seven-bedroom, seven-bath, 9,276-square-foot home is at 600 S. Muirfield Road, in the Hancock Park neighborhood. It was designed in 1926 by Gene Verge, Sr., who also built Buster Keaton's famed Italian villa. Audigier has listed it once before -- with a different brokerage and a marketing strategy that included throwing in a limited edition Rolls Royce with the sale. This time, he's added $1.5 million to the price tag and left out the car.

    Last month, Audigier listed a Tudor in Los Angeles for $3.1 million. Like that home, the Hancock Park house shows off Audigier's nouveau taste, with designer touches throughout such as pink stools in the chef's kitchen, crystal chandeliers and upholstered leather headboards on beds. The master suite has a private terrace, and the pool includes a cabana and outdoor bar, kitchen and dining area.

    The listing (see the gallery below) is held by John Duerler of Hancock Homes Realty.


    More from Zillow about celebrity homes:
    Jane's Addiction Guitarist Dave Navarro Selling Hollywood Bachelor Pad
    Bruce Willis Cuts Sun Valley Home Price
    Rented: Philip Seymour Hoffman's West Village Apartment

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    midcentury modern makeover american dream builders
    NBC, ZillowFurniture in the midcentury modern style is usually a dark wood, designed to be streamlined and sleek.
    By Erika Riggs

    Midcentury architecture is enjoying a resurgence, but it's a home style that can look dated and dark if not updated. Such was the problem with the two homes that designers from NBC's reality home renovation show "American Dream Builders" were tasked with. The owners loved their "dream" homes, but were unsure how to make their homes modern and more functional. Designers and builders from Team Red and Team Blue tackled the homes' small, dark living spaces and unused yard space and came up with designs that can be useful in any home.

    What is midcentury modern?


    Even if you don't own a home built in the midcentury modern era -- late 1950s through the 1960s -- you can incorporate hallmarks of the look: clean lines, absence of visible hardware, perfect proportions and overall functionality. Furniture is usually a dark wood, designed to be streamlined and sleek. Accessories are minimal, but if they're present, they're geometric in metallics or natural materials. Midcentury homes are often one-story with exposed wood beams and slanted rooflines.

    Look No. 1

    Designer Lukas Michnik led Team Red this week, turning a small, cramped living area into an expansive and chic room that extended into the yard. The kitchen was updated and one spare bedroom was transformed into a chic, "Mad Men"-inspired den.

    Den: Before

    The room was functional, but not the most exciting use of space.

    Den: After

    The designers created a completely new function for the space.

    The designers created a completely new function for the space.

    Textured wallpaper, dark woods and accents create a comfortable space that even Don Draper would be comfortable in.

    Designer Vanessa DeLeon explained that with this room, she wanted to create a "really sophisticated man cave."

    Rather than go the traditional route of big-screen TV or bar stools, Vanessa added subtle, masculine details.

    "To give the room a real sense of masculinity, we painted the base molding black," she explained. "That's a nice detail that's unexpected, but anybody can do it. It outlined the room and really tied it all together."

    To create some interest to the room, Vanessa added a statement wall behind the sofa. To make the statement wall a more neutral accent, she had the paint store match the base color of the wallpaper.

    "It's a very custom look for not a lot of money," she said.

    How you can get the look:

    1. Baseboards don't always have to be white -- try painting them a rich black or brown.

    baseboard

    Dark baseboards frame in a room.

    2. Create a neutral statement wall - either with wallpaper or art.

    This faux-food wall adds a rustic feel to this office.

    This faux-wood wall adds a rustic feel to this office.

    3. Choose wood finishes and furniture.

    The stools add a definite mid-century vibe.

    The stools add a mid-century vibe.

    Look No. 2

    The first project for Team Blue, led by Andrew Flesher, was to open up the house and Darren Moore was assigned to update the outdoors into an extension of the living room.

    Elaine Griffin led the charge on the living room, creating a layered look with lots of textures and of course, nods to midcentury classic shapes.

    Living room: After

    Rich wall color pairs beautifully with sleek furnishings.

    Rich wall color pairs beautifully with sleek furnishings.

    How you can get the look:

    1. Create a luxe look with rich wall colors or texture wallpaper.

    Grasscloth walls add depth to a room.

    Grasscloth walls add depth to a room.

    2. Add mid-century modern furniture: streamlined, minimal pieces.

    furniture

    Simple furniture can draw lots of visual interest in a room.

    3. Accessorize with a few typical mid-century modern pieces: statement light fixtures, geometrical shapes and a shag rug.

    A shag throw is functional and stylish.

    A shag throw is functional and stylish.


    Get more design inspiration from "American Dream Builders" contestants on Zillow Digs!

    More about the show:
    American Dream Builders: Episode 2 Recap
    Mid-Century Homes for American Dream Builders Fans
    Get Amy's Take on American Dream Builders Episode 2

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
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    Find homes for rent in your area.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    American Dream Builders spanish living room
    NBC/Zillow Nate loves the tile, and calls the room "the most massive transformation."

    By Emily Heffter

    Each week, Zillow Blog will provide a recap of NBC's new home renovation show, American Dream Builders, hosted by celebrity designer Nate Berkus. Zillow is proud to be partnered with the show in its debut season. The show airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT).
    500x191_ADBLogo_a_01

    This week on NBC's home renovation reality show "American Dream Builders," each team had a week to remodel and design a Spanish-style home in North Hollywood, Calif. Both homeowners say their homes are so run-down and ill-designed that they are embarrassed to have people over.

    Gwen, the owner of the home Team Blue is working on, says, "I can't begin to tell you how sad it's made me that I can't give this home what it needs."

    Team Red

    Team Red has lost two challenges in a row, so their team is down to four people (Dann, Erinn,Lukas and Vanessa) and really needs a win. Erinn decides to take leadership of the team.
    "I'm gonna try to dig us out of this hole," she says.
    They list three main renovation goals:

    • o. Add a fire pit, larger stairs and a tiled patio to the backyard.
    • o. Add Spanish tile to the fireplace in the living room, to create a focal point.
    • o. Remove two kitchen walls to create a bigger entertaining space.
    Dann takes on the living room, which is his first chance to show off his ability to design an interior space. But when the tile arrives for his focal point -- the fireplace -- he learns he doesn't have enough tile.

    "I'm at a do-or-die point," he says. "If I can't fix it, I'm going to be screwed."

    He decides to reinvent his concept, adding wood to the design. The rest of the house seems to be coming together. Erinn promises the kitchen will be "the sexiest place in the house," and she and Dann envision French doors that open up into the backyard.

    "I'm just hoping it comes together as an entertaining paradise. We desperately, desperately, desperately need a win," Erinn says.

    Team Blue

    Team Blue (Andrew, Christina, Darren, Elaine, Jay and Nina) may be undefeated, but this week, their most vocal team member, Elaine, is the site manager. Right away, she dismisses Darren's suggestion that he work on something inside the house.

    "We're going to keep him outside where he belongs," she says.
    The team makes three goals for their house:

    • o. Open up the living room for entertaining.
    • o. Knock down a wall to expand the kitchen.
    • o. Create an Alamo-inspired façade to accent the front of the house.

    As usual, Elaine begins making waves on her team right away. Christina is working on the kitchen, but Elaine nixes all her ideas about tile for the backsplash. "Elaine is incredibly difficult to work with," Christina says and decides on a neutral palette to avoid a fight.

    "I don't think there is any point of getting into it with Elaine," she says.

    Jay is feeling pretty confident about his Alamo pediment feature that he plans to add to the front of the house, but the rest of the team thinks it looks too small. "It looks like a big 10-gallon cowboy hat," says Darren.

    Meanwhile, at the store, the team argues about the number of plants Darren wants to buy. "It's too much," Elaine says. "It's like a jungle. You expect Tarzan to come swinging out from one of those trees at any given minute."

    Back at the house, Elaine is stuck on what to do with her fireplace, so she heads next door to ask Team Red's Lukas - who she calls "a true creative genius" - for some help. Her teammates confront her and tell her that was "offensive."

    Judges check progress

    In Team Red's house, the judges really like the work Dann has done on the living room and fireplace tile. Dann explains his idea to modernize the home beyond a "typical Spanish" and give it a younger feel.

    "It could come together really, really well," says lead judge Nate Berkus.

    And judge Eddie George likes the yard.

    "I feel like this team has something to prove," he said. "They are pissed off."

    Team Blue's visit is not as successful. Nate is not impressed by Jay's work on the front of Team Blue's house. The Alamo detail is "wrong from the height, the shape. It's awful," Nate says. Inside, Nate adds that he is not blown away by Christina's kitchen design.

    "She absolutely needs to step it up," he says.

    In the backyard, the team's drama is exposed when Darren and Elaine get into an argument. Nate says the team "is in dire risk of being the team that goes to elimination," comparing it to being in a bad marriage.

    When the judges leave, Team Blue erupts into a fight.

    "Not only do you not respect us, but apparently we're not good enough to be on your team either, because you don't feel like we're good designers," Nina tells Elaine.

    Elaine tells Darren it was a "slip of the tongue" when she called him an idiot, and says she is trying hard to be more diplomatic. She asks how she can be "less loud" and Darren responds, "Shut your mouth."

    Reveal


    Team Red is confident going into the reveal, and their certainty seems to be justified. When Nate walks into the living room Dann designed, he exclaims, "Oh my goodness, how chic is this! It's shockingly beautiful."

    Dann's Spanish-style living room is still modern.
    NBC/ZillowThe living room's custom tile shows off Dann's creative abilities and the beauty of Spanish style.

    On the kitchen's new island, the team left platters of hors d'oeuvres, styling the room for entertaining. Monica calls the kitchen "flawless."

    View More: http://americandreambuilders.pass.us/adb
    NBC/ZillowThe kitchen is praised for complementing the Spanish style.
    The team is also excited about the little girl's room, with its patterned wallpaper and twin bed with a headboard. They are less crazy about the master bedroom, which Vanessa designed, but Nate called it "very pretty" and said "it feels grand."

    The only room they don't love is the dining room, which Erinn designed. They said it feels too busy, with too many accessories.

    View More: http://americandreambuilders.pass.us/adb
    NBC/ZillowThe judges are underwhelmed by Erinn's dining room.

    They love the backyard, which includes a little bit of everything: a patio with a pergola and a firepit, a long dining table for entertaining, lanterns hanging from the trees and there is even a vegetable garden.

    When the neighborhood council tours the home, Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Amy Bohutinsky also approves. "This is the kind of backyard that buyers are going to go crazy for, because in this neighborhood, the homes aren't that big, and they want to entertain. They want to have people spill outside when the house is too small," she says.

    In Team Blue's house, the judges have a change of heart about Jay's adobe detail.
    "It looked like a restaurant," says Monica, "But now I'm in love with it."

    "Jay surprised us all," says Nate. "He took a massive risk -- I mean, really put himself out there - and it worked out."

    And after all the drama, Elaine's living room was well-received as elegant and understated. They loved Nina's work in the bedroom, as well, with Nate saying of the space: "This is really special."

    But the judges think Christina played it too safe with her kitchen design.

    Christina kitchen
    NBC/ZillowThe judges are less than impressed with Christina's kitchen design.
    "She could have done something really special, and what did we get? Vanilla," Nate says.

    In the backyard, Darren repurposed concrete from the front yard and used it to make pathways across the yard. The judges love it. In the last room the judges tour, a little-used bedroom with a peeling ceiling was transformed into the master bedroom. Andrew used drapery rods and a long piece of fabric to create a dramatic wall-hanging that the judges said was sophisticated yet simple.

    Neighborhood council judge Bohutinsky said buyers want modern spaces, but they also want charm in keeping with a home's original style. She thought Team Blue did a particularly good job in the living room.

    Team Blue's living room design gets rave reviews.
    NBC/ZillowTeam Blue's living room design gets rave reviews.
    "They did a great job of making it look modern, but keeping some of the original elements of the home," she said.

    The judges rave about both homes and the work of both teams.

    Team Red's kitchen was breathtaking, Nate says. The dining room furniture was clunky. "Design on steriods," Monica adds.

    Team Blue's home had a cohesive design. Nina's room was Nate's favorite of the season so far. She demonstrated a great eye for detail through Wonderful furniture. The judges said the weak point was the kitchen. Christina said she wanted to bring Spanish style into the room, but she wasn't the manager.

    Nina jumps in and says that Elaine asked Lukas for advice. Elaine says she made a tactical error by asking for Lukas' advice.

    Nate says that the neighbohood council liked design elements in both homes and the vote came down to a difference of 3 votes. Team Red wins.

    Although Elaine, as site manager, did a terrible job, Nate says that a room is either memorable or it is not. And since the show is about design, Christina has to go.

    Christina is speechless and disappointed that she let Elaine unnerve her. She notes that Elaine had an efficient way to get rid of her competitor.

    "You cannot second guess yourself. Don't look back," Christina says.

    The owners are thrilled with their new spaces. Homeowner Gwen says, "this is beyond anything I could have imagined. This is going to change my life."

    What did you think about episode 3? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

    If you missed the episode, you can watch the show online on nbc.com or Hulu Plus.


    More from Zillow about "American Dream Builders":
    "American Dream Builders," Episode 3: Exit Interview
    Spanish-Style Homes for "American Dream Builders" Fans
    "American Dream Builders," Episode 3: Before & After
    Get Amy's Take on "American Dream Builders," Episode 3

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
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    Find homes for rent in your area.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    4090 Cuervo Ave, Santa Barbara, CA
    ZillowThe living room of this Santa Barbara, Calif., house features a hand-carved wood ceiling.

    By Catherine Sherman

    NBC's new home renovation reality show, "American Dream Builders," wouldn't be complete without some Spanish architectural flair. This week, designers renovated Spanish houses with quintessential Colonial Revival details: terra-cotta roofs, overhead beams, stucco walls and arched passageways.

    When redesigning architectural gems, the challenge is blending the old with the new. Homes built in the early 1900s typically don't have open floor plans or defined outdoor living spaces, but their character is undeniable.

    By opening up the space for a contemporary lifestyle while maintaining the homes' architectural integrity, Team Red and Team Blue increased their homes' Zestimate(R) home values by nearly $150,000. While it's not a substitute for an appraisal, the Zestimate is a great starting point for determining a home's value.

    Craving a Spanish-style home of your own? Check out these for-sale listings across the country. You can see each home's Zestimate, square footage, local school data and more by clicking the links below.

    New Orleans

    3627 State Street Drive
    For sale: $337,000

    New Orleans, LA
    This New Orleans home features a Spanish barrel-tile roof, covered front porch and backyard patio. Arches are carried throughout the home from the front door to the passageways and coved, game room ceiling. Originally built in 1929, the kitchen has been updated with newer appliances.

    Tucson, Ariz.

    2140 E. 8th St.
    For sale: $539,000

    Tucson, AZ
    Showing off a Southwestern variation on the Colonial Revival style, this Tucson home has a curved roofline, turquoise window trim and high, coved ceilings. The living room fireplace and poolside patio are also highlights of the Spanish-style home.

    Dallas

    1406 San Rafael Drive
    For sale: $1.649 million

    Dallas, TX
    Described in the listing as a "Spanish eclectic blending old and new," this 1935-built home was expanded and redesigned in 2006. Period details include Spanish-style chandeliers, ornate ironwork and lancet windows. Upgrades include stainless steel appliances, a two-person shower and soaking tub.

    Coral Gables, Fla.

    756 Alhambra Circle
    For sale: $1.898 million

    Coral Gables, FL
    This old Spanish masterpiece spans nearly 5,000 square feet with two guest cottages, a four-car carport, grand foyer, massive fireplace and more. Standout architectural features include cathedral ceilings, an iron stair railing, tile floors and a terra-cotta covered patio.

    Santa Barbara, Calif.

    4090 Cuervo Ave.
    For sale: $5.195 million

    Santa Barbara, CA
    Designed by an apprentice of noted California Spanish Colonial architect George Washington Smith, this Santa Barbara estate is stunning inside and out. Built around a courtyard like a classic California hacienda, the property is lined with flower-filled pathways, a stone statuary, vegetable garden and an antique Italian stone well. The living room, reminiscent of the famous Casa del Herrero estate, features a hand-carved wood ceiling, four custom-made sconces and a stone fireplace with an intricate wrought-iron grill.

    More from Zillow about this week's "American Dream Builders":
    "American Dream Builders": Episode 3 Recap
    Get Amy's Take on "American Dream Builders," Episode 3
    "American Dream Builders," Episode 3: Before & After

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
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    739 Tehama Dr, Big Bear Lake, CA
    ZillowThis cabin on Tehama Drive in Big Bear Lake, Calif., is a short walk from the Big Bear Mountain Golf Course.
    By Catherine Sherman

    Ready to put on your hiking boots and head to the mountains? Leading designers and builders renovated historic cabins in the latest episode of NBC's reality show "American Dream Builders." The classic American getaway represents a simpler way of life where families can gather and enjoy the great outdoors.

    Some cabins are built from logs with a simple one-story construction, while others have tin roofs, timber supports and unique elements from nature. But architecture isn't what they're necessarily known for. The true sign of a cabin is a rustic, lived-in feel that becomes more rich over time.

    On the show, the contestants tried to preserve each cabin's character, while adding some much needed repairs and upgrades. By doing so, they nearly doubled the Zestimate(R) home values. The Zestimate is not a substitute for an appraisal, but it is a great starting point for determining a home's value.

    Want to see more rustic retreats? We've gathered a few on the market starting at $105,000. Click on the links below to see each home's Zestimate, square footage, maps of the surrounding landscape and more.

    Gatlinburg, Tenn.

    507 Hoot Owl Way
    For sale: $105,000

    Gatlinburg, TN
    Nicknamed "Blueberry Hill," this cabin is ideal for snuggling up with a good book by the fire. The one-bedroom, one-bath home has a log fireplace, heart-shaped jetted tub and a hot tub. It's also within walking distance of the Mountain Shadows Resort pool and just minutes from downtown Gatlinburg.

    Big Bear Lake, Calif.

    739 Tehama Drive
    For sale: $225,000

    Big Bear Lake, CA
    If you fell in love with the Big Bear cabins on the show, you're in luck! This cabin is a short walk from the Big Bear Mountain Golf Course. The 1962 construction has a unique A-frame entrance, cozy brick fireplace and a large lot filled with pine trees.

    Kalispell, Mont.

    4216 Foothill Road
    For sale: $350,000

    Kalispell, MT
    From the snowshoes hanging on the wall to the rocking chair in the master bedroom -- this cabin is filled with rustic details. The property spans nearly five acres with three garages and a guest cabin.

    Placerville, Colo.

    4444 Wood Road
    For sale: $895,000

    Placerville, CO

    This custom, Colorado cabin has designer touches throughout. Antlers, animal skin rugs and fluffy throw blankets give the place a mountain-lodge feel. A rooftop deck is prime spot for soaking in views of the peaks and relaxing in the hot tub.

    Camano Island, Wash.

    2441 Bretland Road
    For sale: $299,950

    Camano Island, WA

    With views of Port Susan, the Cascades and Mount Baker, this Camano Island cabin is a Pacific Northwest gem. The 1978-built home has tall, wood-vaulted ceilings framed by a wall of windows overlooking Puget Sound.

    More about cabins on "American Dream Builders":
    American Dream Builders: Episode 4 Recap
    Get Amy's Take on American Dream Builders Episode 4
    American Dream Builders Episode 4: Before & After

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
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    Find
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    Dance studio  2900 NE 37th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL
    ZillowAn elegant ballet studio is only one of several recreational options in this Florida home.
    By Sharona Ott

    The hardest part of going to the gym isn't the workout -- it's leaving the house and getting there. For those stay-at-home types, these homes offer fun exercise options without having to walk farther than your own backyard.

    Yoga studio

    225 Main St., Farmington, Maine
    For sale: $657,500
    Farmington, ME
    Looking to practice yoga at home? You are in luck - this 4,951-square-foot Victorian-style home has a peaceful, sun-drenched room used for yoga and it also leads to an intimate balcony. Built in 1888, this historic 6-bedroom, 5-bathroom home boasts a gourmet kitchen and a beautiful garden with a gazebo. The home is energy efficient as well, utilizing wind power and solar-powered hot water. Located near the University of Maine and ski spots, more recreation awaits.

    Putting green

    4N745 Mountain Ash Drive, Wayne, Ill.
    For sale: $895,000
    Wayne, IL
    Located 36 miles west of Chicago, this 6,200-square-foot home is perfect for entertaining indoor and outdoor. The interior of the 4-bedroom 5-bathroom property includes a hot tub, wet bar, and game room. An expansive deck overlooks the backyard, where one can golf at the home's putting green. Assigned schools also receive an impressive 8-out-of-10 and above by GreatSchools.

    Giant-sized chess

    10202 E. Journey Lane, No. 1352, Scottsdale, Ariz.
    For sale: $2.595 million
    Scottsdale chess
    This 4-bedroom, 5-bathroom mansion offers leisurely living over its 5,100-square feet of living space. Unique design features include imported stone, tile, and marble. Loads of activities are available in the backyard, too. Cozy up by the fireplace in a covered cabana, take a dip in the pool, spend some time on the putting green and play chess on a giant outdoor chessboard!

    Indoor basketball court

    722 Prospect Ave., Winnetka, Ill.
    For sale: $7.595 million
    Winnetka basketball
    Sitting on one acre, this spacious 12,000-square-foot home has 6 bedrooms and 8.2 bathrooms, as well as an elevator to navigate its three floors. The fun will likely never stop here, with a starry theater room, golf simulator, and a multi-purpose recreation room sure to be a slam dunk for any basketball fan.

    Baseball field

    18880 Old Coach Way, Poway, Calif.
    For sale: $10.9 million
    Poway baseball
    This massive 42.2-acre compound is located 30 miles from San Diego and is a recreation-lover's dream. The 12,764-square-foot home sports a lavish 30-foot-long gourmet kitchen and other lovely features, but the outdoor features cannot be beat. If the infinity-edge pool, waterfall, slide and lazy river are not enough, go saddle up - the estate also includes a barn, riding arena, and corral. But the pièce de résistance is the fenced baseball diamond with turf and clay composite construction. There is a separate batting cage and pitching practice mound. Who is behind this playground for adults? A sports agent, naturally.

    Dance studio

    2900 NE 37th St., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
    For sale: $17.9 million
    Fort Lauderdale dance studio
    With 9 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms and 17,812 square feet of stunning architecture, this home could easily be a resort. Located on 1.1 acres on a rare double point lot on the Intracoastal Waterway, it contains a pool with a waterfall, waterslide, in-pool bar, and Jacuzzi overlooking 650 feet of water frontage. Both wood and stone are incorporated beautifully throughout the home and are accented by grand pillars. While hard to choose, perhaps the most unique recreation space in this home is the elegant ballet studio. A chandelier graces its ceiling while a wall-to-wall mirror and ballet bar sit awaiting its next ballerina.

    More home galleries from Zillow:
    Waterfront Homes Under $250,000
    For Sale: Town Houses With 3 or More Bedrooms
    10 Romantic Rooms You Won't Want to Leave

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
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    Find
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    2 story modular home by meka inc
    MEKA, Inc.Modular homes are houses manufactured off-site, transported and then assembled on residential land.
    By Catherine Sherman

    In the latest episode of NBC's home renovation show "American Dream Builders," the remaining contestants were given four identical, modular homes to showcase their creativity. With their design tricks and tools, the competitors worked to transform the small homes into open, modern spaces.

    Modular homes are houses manufactured off-site, transported and then assembled on residential land. The idea first appeared in the United States in the early 1900s, when you could mail-order a home kit from Sears. Today's models are new and improved, making them an attractive option for many homebuyers. Here are some reasons to consider a modular home.

    Affordable

    Source: MEKA, Inc.

    Source: MEKA, Inc.

    Real estate prices are as much about location as the home itself. But with modular homes, prices fluctuate less because you aren't paying for a location.

    MEKA Inc., a global modular home builder, offers six models ranging from 320 square feet to 1,920 square feet. Pricing in the U.S. starts at $61,500 for the smallest model and goes up to about $200,000 for the bigger models. Kitchen appliances are not included, and the buyer is responsible for the costs of the foundation, roof finishing and assembly. But according to MEKA CEO Michael de Jong, they are still more affordable than most alternatives.

    Anyone looking to buy a brand new modular home can shop online to compare prices. Manufacturers like Clayton Homes, the biggest provider of modular homes, offer houses at many price points in a variety of floor plans. They will build and insure the home.

    Easy to move

    Source: MEKA, Inc.

    Source: MEKA, Inc.

    Plus, modular homes offer flexibility that traditional homes don't have. MEKA's homes are built to fit in a shipping container so they can be transported virtually anywhere. Assembly takes only a day, and it's possible to move the homes after they've been assembled.

    "Like Legos, you also undo it and move your home," De Jong explained.

    Attractive

    Source: MEKA, Inc.

    Source: MEKA, Inc.

    While modular homes typically don't have the architectural complexity of some home styles, de Jong says simple lines can be attractive if you make some modifications so the home doesn't look like a container.

    "Our models have a post-modern look like you see at IKEA," he said. "It's been popular in California since the '60s, but now it's gaining popularity nationwide."

    Marketable

    Source: MEKA, Inc.

    Source: MEKA, Inc.

    If someone decides to sell their modular home, de Jong says its no different than selling a traditional residential property. Real estate agent Natalie Lafont, who listed a shipping-container home built by MEKA in New Orleans, agrees.

    "While on the for-sale market ... the reception was and continues to be of high interest," she said.

    Of note, Lafont said the construction was good quality and could withstand hurricanes, making it a compelling option for a New Orleans homebuyer.

    De Jong said the company's current models are built with a steel frame, making them stronger than a traditional, "stick-built" home with pine framework. The foundation is created locally and surveyed by architects to ensure it is up to code.

    Wide appeal

    Source: MEKA, Inc.

    Source: MEKA, Inc.

    MEKA's customers range from retirees wanting to downsize, extreme off-the-grid survivalists and posh city-dwellers.

    "Some people want to live in the wilderness," de Jong said. "Since our homes can be transported anywhere, they work for these kinds of people."

    He says people increasingly don't mind the small size.

    "There is a new generation of people who don't mind as long as you design it in such a way that it's attractive."

    More from Zillow about home design:
    Designs for Small Spaces, as Seen on 'American Dream Builders'
    'American Dream Builders,' Episode 5 Recap: Modular Matchup
    Recap of 'American Dream Builders,' Episode 4: Clashing Cabins

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    American Dream Builders small space tips
    NBC, ZillowOn "American Dream Builders," a modular home becomes a "modern cottage," complete with white plank walls and simple features.

    By Erika Riggs

    This week on "American Dream Builders," the teams were temporarily disbanded and the contestants partnered up to work on an empty modular home. Their new spaces would be voted on by the neighborhood council -- as well as a discerning group of editors from Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Like previous weeks, the homes came with a set of challenges, and this time it was a lack of space. The modular houses had a narrow living room and kitchen and one small bathroom and bedroom, forcing each team to get creative in their space planning. Here's how you can recreate some of their looks.

    Darren and Elaine's Living Room

    Darren and Elaine changed their living room both structurally and decor-wise. They took out a section of countertop, moving the fridge several inches over and greatly expanding the living room area. Even without the room's rearrangement, there are several things to be learned from their soothing living room design, which Elaine described as "Malibu beach house meets Upper East Side."

    Neutral furniture doesn't overwhelm a room.Cami Constantine

    3. Add accessories sparingly, as to not clutter the room.

    Just a few accent pieces add a lot of personality.

    Just a few accent pieces add a lot of personality. Design by Luke Stephens Staging.

    Erinn and Lukas' Modern Cottage Kitchen

    Erinn and Lukas chose to transform their modular home into a "modern cottage," complete with white plank walls and simple features.

    "Look at the details. The walls are planked!" judge Nate Berkus said.

    Get the look:

    1. Open shelving, rather than closed cabinets, makes the kitchen feel spacious.

    Get creative with what you display on open shelving.

    Get creative with what you display on open shelving.

    2. Keep the color palette light. White gives a room an expansive feeling.

    An all-white kitchen appears light and spacious.

    An all-white kitchen appears light and spacious.

    3. Create an eat-in kitchen. The need for a formal dining room is becoming less and less important for Americans and combining the space makes sense for smaller homes.

    The pop of yellow is fun in the otherwise white kitchen.

    The pop of yellow is fun in the otherwise white kitchen.

    Get more design inspiration from "American Dream Builders" contestants on Zillow Digs!

    More from Zillow about "American Dream Builders":
    'American Dream Builders,' Episode 5 Recap: Modular Matchup
    Today's Modular Homes Offer Flexibility, and More Strength
    Recap of 'American Dream Builders,' Episode 4: Clashing Cabins

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
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    This light-filled home in Seattle is adorned with leaded-glass windows, boxed beams and a built-in dining room buffet.

    Zillow This light-filled home in Seattle is adorned with leaded-glass windows, boxed beams and a built-in dining room buffet.

    Craftsman homes, an early 20th-century architectural style, feature high-quality craftsmanship not always found in new constructions.

    "It's elegant artistically: classic materials, bay windows, the low-hanging eaves," said host Nate Berkus this week on NBC reality show American Dream Builders. "There is nothing more iconic American than that."

    During this week's episode, the designers renovated two Craftsmans in Glendora, CA. Team Red received $5,000 extra to put toward their renovations, while Team Blue got two extra carpenters to bring their designs to life.

    Making critical upgrades led to a 35 and 37-percent increase in the Zestimate(R) home values for each property. While the Zestimate is not a substitute for an appraisal, it is a great starting point for determining the value you can add by updating an older home for a contemporary lifestyle.

    Craving an updated Craftsman of your own? Here's a look at some Craftsmans for sale across the U.S. Click on the links below to see each home's Zestimate, square footage, interior photos and more.

    Minneapolis, MN

    4056 12th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN
    For sale: $189,900
    Minneapolis, MN
    This charming, Craftsman bungalow has beautiful woodwork including dining room build-ins, hardwood floors and oak molding. Several updates have been made to the home since its 1922 construction: new windows in 2009, a new roof in 2004 and a boiler in 2003. The home sits on a 4,356-square-foot corner lot with southern exposure and lovely perennial gardens.

    Tampa, FL

    309 W Hanna Ave, Tampa, FL
    For sale: $255,000
    Tampa, FL
    From tapered, square columns to a front porch and exposed roof rafters - this Tampa, FL home has several classic Craftsman features. Inside, the look and feel continues with built-in living room shelving, an ornamental fireplace and antique white kitchen cabinets.

    Seattle, WA

    1834 N 54th St, Seattle, WA
    For sale: $699,950
    Seattle, WA
    A quintessential Seattle Craftsman, this light-filled home is adorned with leaded-glass windows, boxed beams and a built-in dining room buffet. French doors allow the indoor entertaining space to flow seamlessly outdoors onto a new covered deck.

    Santa Barbara, CA

    329 E Anapamu St, Santa Barbara, CA
    For sale: $799,000
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Located in the heart of Santa Barbara, this 1920-built Craftsman features an inviting front yard and porch. The 1,054-square-foot interior has 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. The kitchen has been remodeled with stainless steel appliances and cherry cabinets.

    Portland, OR

    3133 NE 40th Ave, Portland, OR
    For sale: $939,000
    Portland, OR
    This Portland home was redesigned to have an open floor plan while preserving its 1920s Craftsman roots. The 4-bedroom residence features several architectural details including a breakfast nook in the kitchen and a floating fireplace wall separating the dining and living rooms.


    Related:

    Catherine Sherman, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers real estate news, industry trends and home design. Read more of her work here.

     

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    American Dream Builders colonial home kitchen
    Zillow
    By Erika Riggs

    Each week, there's an additional little twist to "American Dream Builders." This episode featured not two, but one home, a Colonial-style duplex. The columned home was elegant, but outdated and in need of classic styling and rebuilding. The remaining team members divided into two new teams.

    Colonial homes feature columns, shutters and gables on the exterior. Interior details include wainscoting, chair railings and wall and ceiling molding. While craftsman homes often include these same features, Colonials are a lighter version. "They have a sense of glamour," explained designer Elaine. "[The details are] light and gracious -- like icing on a cake."

    Here are few tips to add a similar "icing" to a home.

    Look No. 1

    Although the colonial architectural style dates back to the 1600s, designer Lukas wanted to create an enduring aesthetic. He transformed the small kitchen into a bright and inviting space. As judge Monica Pederson remarked, a tiny kitchen can still be gorgeous.

    "In general, for kitchens -- whether you're talking about a Colonial or Tudor or any other style of home -- you really want to keep the kitchen design timeless," he explained.

    Kitchen: Before

    The kitchen needed many updates.
    The kitchen needed many updates.

    Kitchen: After

    White cabinets and tile dramatically changed the space.
    White cabinets and tile dramatically changed the space.


    How you can get the look:

    1. Add light details. The ceiling in the kitchen is a beadboard painted a faint blue. It's not a bold statement, but rather something that adds depth and interest, and won't become dated anytime soon.
    A slightly darker shade on the ceiling is a unique twist.
    A slightly darker shade on the ceiling is a unique twist.


    2. Go with classic, simple features. "We stuck with simple white cabinetry, Carrera marble countertops and subway tiles for the backsplash," said Lukas. "You can't go wrong if you keep the base very clean and simple."
    An all-white kitchen is a classic look.
    An all-white kitchen is a classic look. Design by Sheila Mayden Interiors.


    3. Add vintage touches. From the deep farmhouse sink to silver accessories picked up from second-hand stores, Lukas' added details are "affordable and beautiful."
    farmhouse sink
    A farm sink with one large vessel is more useful than sinks with multiple compartments.


    Look No. 1

    Colonial living rooms are largely traditional with the "bones" of the home -- columns, molding and chair rails -- doing most of the design work. With this much detail, it's best to keep the furniture and accessories minimal and classic, as Elaine did in this room.

    Living Room: After

    The simple furnishings let the details of this room shine.
    The simple furnishings let the details of this room shine.

    How you can get the look:

    1. Add traditional chairs. Colonial-inspired chairs are not slouchy but have clean lines and slight details, like curled sides and dainty legs.
    Simple chairs are a polished choice for a traditional room.
    Simple chairs are a polished choice for a traditional room.

    2. Let architectural elements shine. Create a traditional space with deep molding, thin chair rails or beadboard.
    Designer Suzanne Tucker chose neutral finishes for this room.
    Designer Suzanne Tucker chose neutral finishes for this room.

    3. Keep the pattern and color mixing at a minimum. Choose a palette of just a few colors or patterns and stick to it. The solid couch and solid chairs go well together, and patterned pillows add a small amount of interest -- without overwhelming the room.
    Simple furniture works well with the wall and window details.
    Simple furniture in this living room by Andrew Skurman make the windows pop.

    Get more design inspiration from "American Dream Builders" contestants on Zillow Digs!

    More about "American Dream Builders":
    Colonial Homes "American Dream Builder" Fans
    For-Sale Craftsman Homes, Like Those on 'American Dream Builders'
    For-Sale Cabins, Like Those on 'American Dream Builders'

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    16903 246th Ave NE, Woodinville, WA
    ZillowThis classic Colonial looks like it dates from two centuries ago but was actually built in 2002.
    By Catherine Sherman

    If you look at historic homes from the original 13 colonies, you'll likely see architecture reminiscent of early English and Dutch houses on the Atlantic seaboard. Defined broadly as the Colonial style, these homes reflect the tradition and elegance of European architecture with tasteful moldings, pediments, shutters and stately columns. The style spread across the U.S. in the first half of the 20th century and continues to be popular among homeowners today.

    This week on NBC reality show "American Dream Builders," the remaining six designers restored an early 20th-century Colonial duplex. In addition to bringing in contemporary amenities, they added several architectural elements true to the period, including interior and exterior columns, a gable pediment, applied molding, new shutters and more. As a result, the Zestimate(R) home value increased by 36 percent. While the Zestimate is not a substitute for an appraisal, it's a great starting point for determining a home's value.

    To see more homes in the style, we've gathered five beautiful Colonials for sale across the country. Click on the links below to see each home's Zestimate, square footage, interior photos and more.

    Springfield, Mo.

    900 E. Sunshine St.
    For sale: $159,000
    Springfield, MO
    This Pennsylvania cottage was built in 1936 and has been lovingly restored with several period details. Like Lukas' design on the show, the kitchen combines classic white cabinets and an apron-front sink with high-end appliances. The living room features beautiful hardwood floors and a fireplace with Colonial-style molding.

    Dayton, Ohio

    100 E. Dixon Ave.
    For sale: $339,000
    Dayton, OH
    This Dutch Colonial is for sale on one of Oakwood's most sought-after streets near top-rated schools. Dating back to 1917, the home is in good condition with gleaming hardwoods, chair rail and applied molding. French doors also lead out onto a side porch supported by Colonial-style columns.

    Wauwatosa, Wis.

    641 N. 77th St.
    For sale: $599,900
    Wauwatosa, WI
    A stately brick Colonial, this home has 4 bedrooms, 5 baths, a large family room addition and covered patio. The master bathroom has been updated with a luxury spa bathtub, and the home features six fireplaces throughout.

    Woodinville, Wash.

    16903 246th Ave. NE
    For sale: $1.2 million
    Woodinville, WA
    Set back behind a gated entrance on a private, 5.6-acre lot, this Woodinville home was custom-built in 2002 to reflect the Colonial style while infusing modern amenities throughout the space. The exterior is marked by shutters, columns and a second-floor balcony, while the interior features a grand foyer, sauna and huge master bath.

    Rye, N.Y.

    320 Grace Church St.
    For sale: $3.495 million
    Rye, NY
    The listing says this "immaculately updated Colonial exudes sophisticated good taste." From high ceilings and French doors to beautiful built-ins and crown moldings - the home is filled with architectural charm and decor fitting for the period.

    More from Zillow about Colonial homes:
    13 Homes From the 13 Colonies
    Pilgrim-Era Saltbox Built By One of America's Earliest Settlers
    American Dream Builders Episode 7: Before & After

     

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    Todd Davis ArchitectureLeather furniture works in a rustic room.


    By Erika Riggs

    The designers on American Dream Builders have taken on a variety of home and décor styles, ranging from traditional colonials to rustic cabins in Big Bear, CA. This week the five remaining designers were charged with transforming a former factory warehouse into a livable loft.

    Loft apartments are common in big cities, where turn-of-century factories provide perfect blank slates for city living.

    Each team chose to stick with a minimal style - featuring exposed architectural elements, such as brick, stone and wood - and clean lines. Here are some tips for replicating the look.

    Look No. 1

    Designer Darren, working with team members Lukas and Elaine, created a master bedroom with a decidedly rustic feel. His inspiration came directly from the industrial elements of the loft.

    "Every room is different, so I would encourage people to grab inspiration from a space rather than trying to replicate it," he explained.

    A paneled wall is a great backdrop to a simple bed.

    A paneled wall is a great backdrop to a simple bed.

    How you can get the look:

    1. Create a paneled statement wall. Buy new, thin boards at a home store, or go the truly rustic route and use reclaimed wood pieces.

    A plank wall can be a full or partial installation.

    A plank wall can be a full or partial installation. By Groundswell Design Group.

    2. Go for an open closet. Don't have a closet? Try a free-hanging one or garment rack. If you're after an open floor plan, this is a great option, Darren says.

    A simple wardrobe rack is a great closet alternative.

    A simple wardrobe rack is a great closet alternative.

    3. Add minimal accessories. Don't lose the sleek look of a room with heavy bedside table lamps or additional accessories. Try installing a simple wall sconce instead and keep bedside clutter to a minimum.

    A simple, elegant room by DKOR Interiors.

    A simple, elegant room by DKOR Interiors.

    Look No. 2

    Designers Jay and Nina created this living room in a space where awkward angles made traditional furniture placement difficult. They chose to outfit the room in a masculine and minimal style.

    Jay and Nina created a classic, masculine space.

    Jay and Nina created a classic, masculine space.

    How you can get the look:

    1. Embrace the exposed materials in a home, whether it's a brick wall, stone or wood.

    Brick gives a room warmth and texture.

    Brick gives a room warmth and texture.

    2. An industrial wall needs to be paired with similar, strong-looking furniture. Pick pieces in a dark color with simple lines and thick, straight legs.

    Leather furniture works in a rustic room.

    Leather furniture works in a rustic room. By Todd Davis Architecture.

    3. Add a bit of warmth and bring the open living space elements together with a neutral rug.

    A white rugs contrasts nicely against a wood floor.

    A white rugs contrasts nicely against a wood floor.

    Get more design inspiration from "American Dream Builders" contestants on Zillow Digs!

    Related:


    Erika Riggs, the Zillow Digs manager, covers home design and trends. Read more of her work here.

     

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    By Catherine Sherman

    Half a block from St. Charles Avenue and the Mardi Gras parade - that's enough to attract any New Orleans buyer. But a prime location, not to mention the city's largest green roof, isn't this home's main selling point. Since 1927, a light-filled great room with 26-foot ceilings has played host to everything from wedding veils and hymnals to pointe shoes and stage lights.

    "It was a famous ballet school for many years," said listing agent Britton Galloway of Keller Williams Realty. "Everyone from Bolshoi Ballet to Baryshnikov danced here."

    Harvey Hysell, a classical ballet dancer praised for his choreography and lavish costumes, was born to a New Orleans Methodist minister and church pianist. It was fitting, therefore, when he moved his ballet school to 1527 Harmony St.

    "The massive old Spanish baroque structure the color of Bermuda coral, tucked away in the Garden District on a short side street called Harmony, was once a church," Dance Magazine wrote in an April 1998 cover story. "The building is somehow symbolic of Hysell himself."

    Westminster Presbyterian, a historic congregation started in the 1830s, used the building as a place of worship. When the congregation outgrew the space, they sold it to Hysell in 1978. He lived in one part of the property and used the sanctuary for the dance studio.

    The current owner bought the place in 1999. By that time, the church turned dance studio had been converted into a residential property with a 10,000-square-foot main residence and three 1-bedroom apartments. Here's a look at the transformation:

    Then

    EPSON002
    EPSON007

    Now

    great room 2

    Galloway says his client is looking to downsize, though isn't in a hurry to sell. The home has been on the market since September, and the asking price hasn't budged from $2.5 million. That's anestimated $9,714 a month, assuming 20 percent down on a 30-year fixed mortgage.

    "A lot of people from the entertainment industry are looking at it," he said. "Both actors and musicians are looking to use it for a myriad of different uses."

    The New Orleans property is currently zoned residential, but that isn't to say it couldn't be converted again depending on the buyer's vision.

    "Not many people get a chance to live in this type of situation," Galloway said. "It's truly unique."

    Related:

    Catherine Sherman, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers real estate news, industry trends and home design. Read more of her work here.

     

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    By Catherine Sherman

    If you love mixing old and new, rustic and modern, a loft conversion may be the place for you. This week on NBC reality show American Dream Builders, the top-five designers worked on lofts in the Nate Starkman Building, a 1908-built factory in downtown Los Angeles.

    Converted factories or warehouses typically feature high ceilings, exposed brick or pipes and open floor plans. These features offer a bare-boned canvas ideal for a contemporary or minimalist living space, though space planning and lighting can be a challenge.

    To see some standout lofts in terms of style and functionality, we've gathered a few contenders currently on the market across the country. Click on the links below to see photos, square footage and more.

    Atlanta, GA

    500 Means St NW Apt H, Atlanta, GA
    For sale: $169,900

    Atlanta, GA
    A true artist loft, this 1-bedroom was previously owned by resident artist Steve Penley. The building has been renovated while preserving the architectural integrity of Atlanta's historic Allied Factory that dates back to 1900. Notable features include soaring ceilings, wood beams and contemporary finishes throughout.

    Chelsea, MA

    960 Broadway Apt 10, Chelsea, MA
    For sale: $249,000

    Chelsea, MA
    "These lofts were converted in 2004 with every modern convenience," the listing states. A 2-bedroom unit on the top floor is available for just under $250,000 with 872 square feet of living space, 11-foot ceilings and hardwood floors.

    Chicago, IL

    1231 N Honore St Apt 3, Chicago, IL
    For sale: $525,000

    Chicago, IL
    In 1992, this old paint factory was converted into four lofts by internationally-recognized architect Mark Sexton. His work is known for being beautiful, environmentally efficient, and both visually and functionally enduring over time. This 1,850-square-foot loft is no exception with a high-end, modern kitchen and a statement fireplace complemented by exposed brick and overhead beams.

    Santa Clara, CA

    1777 Lafayette St STE 124, Santa Clara, CA
    For sale: $529,800

    Santa Clara, CA
    Described as a New York-style warehouse-to-loft conversion, this historic building used to be a factory that produced Blue Diamond walnuts. In 2005, it was converted into 43 live/work lofts with beamed ceilings, wood-plank floors, galvanized metal siding and spiral staircases.

    Brooklyn, NY

    110 Clifton Pl Apt 2H, Brooklyn, NY
    For sale: $900,000

    Brooklyn, NY
    A former Ping-Pong ball factory, this open floor plan loft is "a clever combination of industrial chic and old-school tradition," according to the listing description. The main entertaining space has original columns and historic casement windows. Each of the 2 bedrooms has a wall of windows and large closets; the bathrooms have been renovated to include a deep soaking tub, walk-in shower and custom vanities.

    Related: Catherine Sherman, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers real estate news, industry trends and home design. Read more of her work here.

     

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