Who among us would turn down a free house—no less one that has breathtaking views, was designed and decorated by the best in the biz, and is worth millions?
Nobody, that’s who! That is the dream—and the whole point of the 2019 HGTV Dream Home, a modern mountain retreat valued at $2.3 million. It’s part of the largest grand prize package since the network began the giveaway in 1997.
And if you’re an HGTV fan, you’ve likely been waiting for the big reveal of this year’s home. It’s an excuse to ogle lavish design touches and fantasize about living, well, the dream.
But this year’s house made us ask: Is it really everyone’s fantasy?
The 3,650-square-foot house in Whitefish, MT, is a departure from the beachy modern themes of recent years. Perched on the edge of Glacier National Park with views of the Rocky Mountains and Whitefish Lake in the valley below, the three-bedroom, 3.5-bath home is all about that Montana lodge vibe—with a twist.
The design keeps you on your toes at every turn: It’s rustic, but modern. Elements of Scandinavian simplicity collide with farmhouse flair (there’s plenty of buffalo check print). And midcentury furniture shares space with Wild West accoutrements such as cowboy hats and cowhide stools.
“It’s important for me for the house to actually have the personality of its surroundings, and a lot of those things are made custom,” designer Brian Patrick Flynn told NBC Montana.
But as impressive as this showplace is, there are a few design choices that we can’t fully get behind.
We’ve highlighted some of the ones that are making us swoon—along with a few that have us a bit perplexed. Like what you see? Go ahead, and enter for a chance to win the whole shebang (along with some cash) on the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway website. (The entry period runs from Dec. 28 to Feb. 18.)
4 dreamy design elements
1. Those magnificent views
We’ll hand it to the HGTV team—it knows how to pick a location. This room could be filled with piles of smoldering garbage and we’d still long to lounge in it. The floor-to-ceiling accordion windows make the great outdoors the main design theme here.
2. The dining room ceiling
What mountain retreat is complete without rustic touches? This house is full of them—from the equestrian-inspired chandelier to the wood and iron bunk beds. But what we’re really lusting after is the reclaimed wood ceiling in the dining room, made from lumber from a local historic building.
3. The fearless color choices
It would be so easy to fall back on neutrals when designing a house for the masses. But no! The folks at HGTV didn’t pull any punches when it came to paint colors. We are fully on board with this bold, “barn” red—and the color-coded books to boot (those are trending in a big way, btw).
4. The outdoor breakfast bar
It’s hard to choose which outdoor feature we like best. The Scandinavian hot tub situated underneath towering evergreens? Don’t mind if we do. The cozy lounge space nestled around a brick fireplace? Yes, please.
But in the tightest of races, the al fresco breakfast bar takes the (pan)cake for us. And because the bar is underneath a covered area of deck, you can use it when it’s raining—or snowing. Fashionable and practical!
1. Overflowing ‘spice cider’
We’re all for a cup of spiced (or spiked) cider every now and then, but moderation is key. That’s how we feel about this master bedroom, which Flynn calls a “spice cider retreat”—full of autumnal tones meant to remind you that you’re in a rustic, wooded setting.
But all we’re getting is terra-cotta vibes, more fitting for an adobe in New Mexico. Or worse, flashes of the Tuscan-taupe onslaught of the early 2000s. We applaud the effort to go bold (see above), but this particular shade feels out of place to us, especially slathered on all four walls.
Expect to see more of this color in the future, though—Sherwin-Williams recently named a similar shade as its Color of the Year.
2. Textile taxidermy
Faux taxidermy (fauxidermy!) is nothing new. With the influx of Scandinavian design, we’ve been seeing fake antlers and mooseheads above fireplaces for some time now. But in an effort to jazz them up (because they needed jazzing up?), there’s a whole new category emerging: textile taxidermy.
Instead of ceramic or resin, you can now take your pick of weird patterns to embellish your animal heads with. We get it—sort of. But we don’t have to like it.
3. The vanilla kitchen
In a house with so much personality, why stop at the kitchen? Let’s be clear: We don’t dislike this look, but it feels bland and sterile—especially compared with the rest of the home. We’d love to see a few more splashes of color here, perhaps a fun backsplash or a painted island. But if the rest of the house has left you craving a neutral space, this is your retreat.
4. Eclectic overload
The HGTV Dream Home no doubt combines more than a few decor schemes. (And we love that!) But eclectic decor can be tricky, sliding easily from coordinated to chaotic. Some rooms in this house have a beautiful balance, while others feel a bit overwhelming. We appreciate the intent, but would like to see it scaled back a notch.