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

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