Liza Greis

Do-it-yourself projects and Home Decor

More Or Less {American Dream Builders} Episode #2

I loved this week’s episode! I have a not so secret obsession with mid century modern furniture. If my home were not a 1930’s cottage style home I would have more of it. But I strongly feel your furnishings should reflect the style of architecture.

I have had just about enough of Elaine. There, I said it. Her lack of respect for other people astounds me. And I was sad about who went home. I understood to a point but it made me sad anyway. What did you think?

I had a really tough time choosing which living room to recreate this week. While I LOVED the light and bright modern room from the other house (that gold light fixture!!!), this room had more texture. Plus I fell madly in love with the white leather chaise. I did not know who the designer was when I got the photos at the end of last week to write this post. And while Elaine gets on my nerve (and then proceeds to stomp in it), I think for the most part she did a good job of bringing the room together.

American Dream Builders episode 2

This is my favorite picture of the room.

Living Room: Episode 2 of American Dream Builders

And here are the items I found to recreate the room for less!

More or Less: Recreating the living room from episode 2 of American Dream Builders

The Sofa


I think gray sofas are sexy. Especially when they have clean lines. To me it is like a man in a finely tailored suit. The first sofa is the most expensive at $869 but it also is a sofa bed. And you all know how I feel about double duty furniture! The second one pictured is the least expensive at $349 and is from IKEA. This would be a good option if you have kids. It has a slipcover you can take off and wash. I have never owned an IKEA couch but I have many friends who do have them and they all love them. The last option is in the middle priced at $649. I know the couch in the room doesn’t have tufting, but this still has the same clean lines. Plus I adore a tufted couch!

gray sofa

(Top Left: EZ Mod        Top Right: IKEA         Bottom: LexMod )

Platner Chair


This chair is called a Platner chair and is named after the man who designed it back in the 60s. They usually sell for thousands of dollars. I was able to find some in the $175-$350 range. I loved that the one in the ADB room was gold, as gold furniture is my latest obsession. A little spray paint and POOF! you have a dead ringer for the one in the room. You could take it one step further by adding faux fur to the seat cushion.

platner chair

(Source: HomeClick)

gold platner chair

High Back Chair


Finding a chair similar to the one in the room that fit within a reasonable budget was RIDICULOUS. Mid century modern furniture is crazy expensive. CRAZY! Even a beat up old chair on craigslist or ebay can be thousands of dollars. So bear with me as I talk about several options.

I had to get creative because not many come in green. But I found this modern high back chair with similar lines for $549 and even though its legs are completely different than the one in the room, I figured with a little DIY makeover, it could be a pretty close match. There is a company that sell mid century modern furniture leg kits. These legs are less than $10.

change chair legs

(Source for Chair: Smart Furniture     Source for Legs: )

Here are a couple of less expensive options. The first one is modern with clean lines and the gray would match the couch. I am not a huge fan of all matchy matchy furniture, but if you didn’t want to reupholster, it would fit within the space well. It sells for $349.

I realize that this next one is a stretch as it is not mid century modern. But it has a tall back, a neutral color, and nice lines. And it has the best price at $299.

chair options

(Left: World Market      Right: Home Decorator Collection)

Another option is to hunt for a good deal. This is probably what I would do. It takes patience and some DIY, but in the end you may end up with a piece to die for.

Like I said before, if you are going to buy mid century modern, it can cost a ton. Even when thrifting. The first one pictured was priced at $295 (it has sold) while the last one pictured is currently selling for $575. The one in the center is no longer for sale and did not state a price. I have faith that with time, I could find some for a better price.

thrift store chairs

(Left: Krrb       Middle: No longer available    Right: Ebay)



I have to say that the pillow choices in this room kind of threw me for a loop. I am not sure how I feel about them. I like them individually, but together they don’t make sense to me. If you look at the picture where you see the couch, the pillows all match with gold/yellow and gray colors. And then the pillow on the lounge chair is a multicolored chevron. Not only does it not match (which I get is kind of the point) but it is right next to another chevron patterned pillow. I felt like the two pillows were competing.

I found the fabric used to make the middle pillow on the couch and it is priced at $67 per yard.

gold fabric

(Source: Calico Corner)

And I also found the fabric made for the first pillow shown (the gold and gray chevron) as well. It is a Nate Berkus print sold at Calico Corner for $29 per yard. But I also found a ready made pillow on etsy for $30 that was made using the Nake Berkus material. I also found a ready made pillow that is very similar to the geometric pillow from the couch for $25. The other pillow on the top row is just another option that would fit in the same color scheme. It is priced at $23. All these were on etsy. It is a great place to look for pillows!

Now moving on to the pillow on the white leather lounge chair that I now covet….. My love for this pillow knows no bounds. It is perfect for this space because it ties it all together. It ties the red from the dining room chair cushions, it ties in the purple from the art work, it ties in the green from the chair, and it ties in the gold from the Platner chair and other gold accents in the room.

Dear NBC, I would like the lounge and the pillow sent to my house ASAP :)

Finding a pillow to match the awesomeness of the original was hard. And while I do not love them as much as the original, they do have the same pattern and colors.

The first one is an etsy find and is priced at $18 while the one in the middle (my favorite) is sold at Target for $29 for a 2 pack. The one on the end is from Wayfair and is priced at $65.

pillow options

(Top Left: Etsy, PopOColor  Top Middle: Etsy, Pillow Stars  Top Right: Etsy, Say it with Pillows

Bottom Left: Etsy, Bright and Bold Designs   Bottom Middle: Target (2 pack)   Bottom Right: Wayfair)



The smokey gray vase was one of the first accessories that caught my eye. And I was able to find a couple of inexpensive options. The first one is $60 and is a little bigger while the second one (Originally sold at IKEA) is an Ebay find for only $29. I bet if you kept your eye out you would be able to find one at an estate sale, thrift store, or yard sale.

smokey vase_edited-1

(Left: Smart Furniture       Right: Ebay)

The art work in this week’s living room was beautiful and I found an etsy shop that sells stunning photography prints. This one was so similar to the one in the room but they also have other purple (radiant orchid anyone?) flowers as well. The print is priced at only $34.

The most cost effect way to have art for your space it to create it yourself. If you have a decent camera you could always take a photo yourself and print it as large as you would like.

The other thing I noticed was the orchid. I am not sure if it was real or a silk arrangement. I think I would add a real one to my space if possible, but for those of you who want one you can’t murder, this one is from Target and is $30.

orchid art

(Left: Etsy,  LoVedo Art   Right: Target)

Console Table


The table in the ADB room had fabulous gold accents. These options don’t BUT switching out the knob on the drawer for a gold drawer pull would be an inexpensive way to mimic the look. The table on the left is from Target and is only $119. The other is also from Target and while it is a little more at $149, it has two drawers and is closer to the shape of the one in the room. This is the DIYer in me, but you could build a table for less if you are up to the challenge :)

black console table_edited-1

(Left: Target       Right:  Target)



The rug in the room was so unique! It almost looks like a bunch of fish scales cut out of fabric. I did not find one that was exactly the same but I think the important thing here is that it brought texture to the space. The off white also helps lighten up the room that could have been weighed down by all the wall paper. So I think as long as you can find a rug with texture in a light color it would be fine.

A flat weave rug would work like this one from Wayfair.  A 7’9″x10’6″ rug is $295. I have a white shag rug in my family room and I love it! It is so soft. I got mine from Home Depot. I don’t have a link because it is one that you order directly in the store. The brand was Lambart and the color was Linen. It was also around $300.

The one pictured below is found at Overstock and also Rugs USA for $320. If you have ever shopped for area rug then you know they can be super pricey. These are great deals!

white textured rugs

(Left: Wayfair           Right: Overstock)

Lounge Chair


Ahhhh! The white leather lounge chair with curved chrome legs….. *sigh*. I found the exact one on several different sites all for $1,000.  I was able to find a copy cat chair for about half the price at $579. Then I found another one selling for $328. It is obviously the better deal but you do sacrifice the details as the price goes down. But they would all work :)

white leather chaise lounge

(Top Left: Google Shopping (all the stores listed)       Top Right: Wayfair        Bottom: HomeClick )

Coffee Table


The table in the room appears to be glass. You can tell because of the greenish hue along the edge. A Lucite (plastic) table would also work as they have the same shape and are both transparent. Unfortunately they both run anywhere from $300-$800. These two pictured are priced at $279. If you want the same look for less, you can buy Lucite nesting tables for only $89 and spread them out in front of the couch to act as a coffee table.

lucite and glass tables

(Top Left: Beyond Stores        Top Right: CB2         Bottom: Rakuten)

So what did you think of this week’s episode? Dish it! I want to know what you thoughts about the rooms, the outdoors spaces, and the contestants. Did the right person go home?

More posts:

Episode #1

Episode #3

Episode #5

Episode #6

Episode #7

Episode #8

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  1. Laura Ingalls Gunn says

    Here in Phoenix there is an abundance of Mid Century architecture and second hand shops are filled with vintage gems for incredible prices. The Phoenix Craigslist also offers fantastic finds.

    I thought the sculpture Nancy created was amazing but I agreed with the judges assessment of her bedroom. There are others that I would have preferred to see leave, but that just boils down to having a bad personality ~yet they still created good design. Ultimately that is what this competition is based on.

  2. Holly @ Coconutheadsurvivalguide says

    Hi Liza – I taped the show but haven’t watched it yet, can’t wait to check it out! I’ve purchased quite a few pillows from Etsy. I wish I knew how to sew to make them myself but since I can’t, I love being able to support the Etsy shop owners. We have my parent’s bed circa 1967 in our guest room. Very MCM! Hugs, Holly

    • Liza says

      Yes! I try to support handmade when ever possible. Not only that, but they really do have some of the best pillows anywhere :)

  3. Susan M. says

    It was all I could do not to punch Elaine through the screen! Can you imagine being her client? If I’m paying a designer I don’t want to be railroaded and abused into a room that is all about her ego. Can’t wait to see someone take her down a peg or two.

    I loved the chicken wire light fixture though I thought it really bad manners that while he was responsible for the execution he didn’t mention that it wasn’t his original concept. Nancy’s sculpture was spectacular and like you, I was sorry to see her go. The fact is, her room was a mess with zero cohesiveness to the style of the house and the other rooms.

    Til next week!!

    • Liza says

      I know. I felt for her though. I have bitten off more than I could chew so man times. She got caught up in the sculpture and didn’t have time. When she was crying I wanted to cry to. I know that feeling!

  4. Lori Allred says

    What a fun idea…thanks so much for sharing where to find pieces like this and I’m with you the leather chaise is amazing!!! I haven’t heard of the show, but love all the new sites you listed. Thanks for posting.

  5. Kim (TheKimSixFix) says

    I’ve been really trying to hold my tongue about Elaine since I don’t think it is good form to belittle “real” people who are on tv ‘being themselves’ but i couldn’t agree with you MORE. She is so egotistical and condescending that I can’t stand it.. She deserves the criticism if she is going to put herself out there. I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt since I know TV can portray people in a light that isn’t flattering, but some of the stuff she said is just so nasty.. it didn’t require any tv ‘spin’!

    On a happier note.. I love your cheaper choices for the room. It is so nice to see how you can get that style on a smaller budget!

    • Liza says

      I really wasn’t going to say anything but I couldn’t handle it. I was hoping after the first week that she would mellow and grow on me. But nope! The things that come out of her mouth…..!!!

  6. Dot says

    I agree on what everyone is saying about Elaine. What a Witch with a B! While I’m not so much if a fan of kid-century, I did love the chicken wire chandelier, and would love A DIY on it! Can’t wait to see what you do next week.

  7. Jacque says

    I have to admit that I am very skeptical of design shows because I know they spend amounts that most of us will never afford but you did an incredible job breaking this down! I want one of everything!

  8. Colleen says

    Ok I dvr ed it and only watched 1/2 of the show. I am not a huge fan of mid century modern just not my thing. I will say. The designers are not always practical, these are suppose to be designs for real people. I DO NOT care for Elaine what a pompous a$$. Sorry best I can do there. Love the show tho Nate is awesome and bonus easy on the eyes ;). I like your recreations and I prefer your window fabric.

  9. Carrie says

    I just looked up American Dream builders on google because ive been OBSESSED with the show since the premiere and that’s how I stumbled upon your blog. I LOVE YOUR blog thanks for mimicking the look for so much less! Looking forward to more of these!

    I am SO getting that console table (when it becomes available– its not available on the website :( )