Everything You Need to Know About the Winner of American Dream Builders

Artist and designer Lukas Machnik sits down with us to talk inspiration, breaking the mold, and how he plans to change the design world.

Lukas Machnik, the newly crowned winner of Nate Berkus's design-competition show American Dream Builders, is certainly not your run-of-the-mill television designer. All season, Machnik has pushed the boundaries of mainstream décor to introduce his fellow contestants, judges, and viewers to a modern-contemporary style full of neutral hues and lush textures. We sat down with the Chicago-based designer to get the inside scoop on his controversial (but winning!) beach house design, his design philosophy, and how he plans to following in Berkus's footsteps.

_1 - "A lot of people thought it was dangerous and bold, very much avant-garde, but I have a different comfort zone than others." - "The design is about travel. It's not gender-specific and it has a collected, worldly feel. It could easily be at home in South America, the Hamptons, or the South of France -- it appeals to a lot of different tastes." - "For me, this final project was a perfect fit. It reflects my personality and design essence. I took all of the knowledge I had gained through the experience of being on the show -- pushing my boundaries. I never thought I would design a Tudor, a cabin, or work on a Spanish-style home."

_2 - "I believe in quality over quantity. I encourage my clients to collect important pieces and artwork -- don't junk up a space just to have more. More is not more." - "For me, post-war European design is my greatest influencer. I love Italian 1970s design and the work that came out of France in the '50s and '60s."

_3 - "I like to appropriate certain funds to certain places. Even when working within constraints, I like to spend money on really fantastic pieces and then fill in the rest with furniture from inexpensive sources or think outside the box and get creative." - "I don't like the term 'DIY.' I think of it as how to be creative with what you have available and bring something ordinary to another level." - "The major piece in the beach house's living room was the 10-foot-tall light fixture. It cost $30 and took 30 minutes to build. I think the lightbulbs were more expensive than the materials for the fixture, but it became a focal point."

_4 - "I want to use the popularity of American Dream Builders to showcase another, more thought-provoking side of design -- a modern way of living." - "As Nate says, my vision used to only appeal to about one percent of the population, but I never compromised my personal aesthetic and still created a winning home." - "I want to expose the world to a new style of design -- contemporary modern design -- and make it more accessible. Similarly to how Nate showed the world his point of view and his design style, it's time for me to share mine."

Take a look back at more of Machnik's winning before and after designs here and here.

Photographs: Courtesy of Lukas Machnik

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