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Raise your hand if you want to live in a luxurious apartment in Trump International Hotel & Tower with fabulous views of the Chicago skyline, the Magnificent Mile and the Chicago River. Did everyone raise their hands? I certainly did. Well, I’m happy to report that the agonizing wait is officially over. As of today, August 18, you can enter twice daily (once on and once on for your chance to win HGTV Urban Oasis 2011, a grand-prize package valued at more than $750,000. And just in case you didn’t know, the grand-prize package includes stunning interior design by HGTV’s Vern Yip. I’m envious of the future winner already.


When I first took the Urban Oasis 2011 virtual tour, I figured it would be a cinch to pick my favorite room since the square footage of this apartment is smaller than, say, HGTV Dream Home or HGTV Green Home. I was completely wrong. Don’t let the size fool you. This one-bedroom and one-and-a-half-bath apartment boasts such a gorgeous detailed interior that it’s impossible to take your eyes off the incredible design work in every room, from the contemporary light fixtures to the powder room’s sleek black-and-white tilework. Check out my two favorite rooms in this top-notch urban apartment and then tell me what you think.

HGTV-Urban-Oasis-2011-Living-Room-Dining-Room-HGTV-DesignHappensLiving Room With a Small Dining Area

In addition to the contemporary decor and interior elements of the living area, I’m head-over-heels for the city views. When you’re at street level in a city like Chicago, the constant traffic, roar of the “L” trains and throngs of pedestrians feel so hectic. But from the 35th floor of the Urban Oasis 2011 apartment, the city will always appear calm, friendly and anything but chaotic. And this stunning view can be seen from almost every room (the foyer, kitchen, dining area, living area and master bedroom). The living room not only serves as a living room but as a miniature home office, dining area and conversational seating/bar area, too. Even though it’s a true multifunctional space, it never once feels cluttered, busy or “too much.” Excellent work, Vern.

Urban-Oasis-2011-Master-Bedroom-HGTV-DesignHappensMaster Bedroom With Guest-Ready Sleeper Sofa

I love the serenity and tranquility present in the master bedroom. A calming color palette and soothing textures serve as an escape from all the hustle and bustle of city life. I think nap time would easily become a daily event if I could snuggle up in that cozy canopy bed. And with all your friends fighting to visit your new digs, within the master bedroom there’s a sleeper sofa that gets an even better look at the skyline than the master bed itself.

Amazing, huh? I shared my favorite aspects of Urban Oasis 2011, so what are yours? Do you love the kitchen appliances? The dining room chairs? The hand-painted walls in the master bedroom?

Tell us in the comments below. (We can’t wait to hear what you have to say.)

But first, go enter the sweepstakes, and remember to do enter every day – once on and once on

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Classic American style and the cities that embody it defined our August 12th giveaway. After reading all of the thoughtful (and patriotic) comments, I can’t get Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” out of my head. Y’all are finding plenty of design inspiration in the Northeast (Philly and Boston), the South (Charleston, New Orleans, Savannah and Key West), the Southwest (Santa Fe and Tucson) and in California (Los Angeles, San Francisco and Carmel-by-the-Sea). Apparently, there is inspiring design to be found in Lincoln, Neb.; Barbaboo, Wis. and Wheeling, W.Va. as well. Our winner, Mary, is all about organic, seaside style, so she chose Outer Banks, NC, as her American design muse. Well, Mary, I think your new Somerset Bay painted chest will look marvelous in a house full of seashells and driftwood.

Somerset Bay

Mary, like all of our Freebie Friday winners, has two weeks to reply to our messages. If she doesn’t come through, we’ll move on to another lucky random winner.

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Trends come and go, but furniture designs with good bones and quality craftsmanship never go out of style. This week’s Freebie Friday celebrates classic American style with nautical flair. We partnered with luxury furniture company Somerset Bay to bring you a shabby chic chest — perfect for your entryway, bedroom or living room. This purveyor of fine home goods specializes in artful painted furniture — distressed solids in coastal shades like “Key Lime” and “Blueberry Crisp”, as well as hand-painted chinoiserie designs.

Shabby Chic Furniture

One Design Happens reader will take home this magnificent chest to adorn their home. To enter for a chance to win, simply leave us a comment in the field below before 12/11c Monday, August 15.

This week’s question: American style is hard to define — so many influences! What’s your favorite American design mecca? Modern Los Angeles? Historic Boston? Laid-back New Orleans?

Click for official rules.

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In our August 5th giveaway, we wanted to know your go-to tips for giving your rooms a fabulous mini-makeover. Based on the responses, there are serious design masters among our readers! From switching up bold accessories in an otherwise neutral backdrop to bringing in reflective materials for a touch of glam, the comments section from last week’s giveaway is chocked full of inspiration. I suggest you go read them!


Our three lucky winners this week are Meg, Callie and pixie394041. They’re each taking home a gorgeous chandelier from Crystorama Lighting to jump start their own mini-makeovers. Our winners have two weeks to reply to our messages before we select three more random winners.

  • Tell Your Friends

Nothing brings a room together like a chandelier. The most sleepy of spaces instantly goes from lackluster to luxe with the addition of one of these quintessential light fixtures. The HGTV Design Happens crew wants to give your living room or dining room (heck – any room) a mini-makeover with designer chandeliers from Brooklyn-based lighting company Crystorama. Their classic designs hang from the ceilings of the US Supreme Court building and Constitution Hall.


Three winners will get to choose a design from the feminine Fiore Collection, modern Solaris Collection or transitional Hampton Collection, pictured above. To enter for a chance to win, just leave us a comment before 12/11c Monday, August 8.

This week’s question: What’s your best tip for giving a room a quick pick-me-up? A vase filled with fresh flowers? An accent wall in an “it” color? A bold piece of art? Or is it all about the lighting?

Click for official rules.

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Our July 29th giveaway was all about the world’s most well-designed flags. While there were many intricate designs mentioned as favorites — like Maryland’s history-heavy coat of arms and Brazil’s colorful, geometry-loving flag — it’s no surprise that the Stars and Stripes of the good ol’ U.S.A took the top spot as most-loved flag design.

Union Jack Pillows

Congrats to our four winners: Marcia, Kyra, Peg and Geri! These ladies are taking home Union Jack pillows from Henry Road to adorn their homes in iconic flag style. All four have replied to our congratulatory messages, but normally we give our winners two weeks to reply before we choose a new random winner.

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Do you love a fast-paced life? Do you equate the constant sound of a city to a flowing river? Do you simply consider yourself a city person? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll love this year’s HGTV Urban Oasis apartment in the heart of downtown Chicago. To top it off, HGTV star Vern Yipp designed and decorated the entire flat with jaw-dropping, Arts and Crafts meets mid-century modern flair.

Urban Oasis in the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago

If you win the Urban Oasis Giveaway, you’ll be calling the 35th floor of the Trump International Hotel and Tower “home.” Can you even imagine? With a lobby like that, everyday will feel like a luxurious holiday.

HGTV Urban Oasis 2011

Then when you get home after, say, a long day at work, you step into this? It would feel like a dream every single day. I absolutely love the soothing green Vern used for this sophisticated high-rise pad.

Starting August 18 at 9 am ET, you can enter twice per day— once on and once on— for a chance to win this beauty. But first, don’t forget to check out what Vern has to say about decorating the Urban Oasis 2011 apartment And tour every room for details on his stellar design.

After clicking through the pictures and taking a guided video tour with our feature blogger Brian Patrick Flynn, I’ve decided the living room (with that spectacular view) is my favorite room. What’s your favorite room in the apartment?

Take the tour and tell us in the comment area below.

  • Tell Your Friends

The royal wedding, Kate and Will’s tour of North America, The King’s Speech and Harry Potter mania have created a new British invasion. What better way to get your Anglophile on than with these charming Union Jack pillows from Henry Road? The vibrant red, white and blue palette provides a pop of color that’s perfect in traditional and contemporary homes alike. Add a couple of these to your living room, and you’ll be singing “God Save the Queen” in no time.

Union Jack Pillows

To be entered for a chance to win one of four pillows, simply leave us a comment in the field below before 12/11c Monday, August 1. (That’s right, there will be four winners!)

This week’s question: When it comes to design, what’s your favorite national or state flag? Wales’ big red dragon? The colorful design of South Africa? How about the symbolic red sun on New Mexico’s state flag?

Click for official rules.

  • Tell Your Friends

In our July 22nd giveaway, we asked you to detail your favorite ways to spend the dog days of summer. Everyone was in agreement—it’s just too dang hot to do more than lay by the pool or in the air conditioning! Our winner, Melissa, hails from one of the hottest, stickiest states in the Union… Louisiana.

Fatboy Hammock

Hopefully, she has a shady spot for her new Headdemock Hammock by Fatboy from Burke Decor. If not, I’m sure this hammock will hit the spot come fall.

Melissa has two weeks to respond to our messages. If we don’t hear from her, we pick another random winner.

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I’ve spent many a summer day lounging in a handmade hammock my dad brought me from Colombia. While I love the colors and pattern of my hammock, I’m not a fan of having it fold in on me, encasing me in a cocoon and making reading impossible! Somebody out there in design land shared my frustration when they created the Headdemock Hammock by Fatboy. Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. That’s a full-grown woman and two kids hanging out (and reading!). Plus, there’s plenty of room to add a husband and a Great Dane.

Fatboy Hammock

While this super-massive, super-sturdy hammock is available through one-stop home decor retailer Burke Decor, we want to make somebody’s summertime so much sweeter by giving one away. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is leave us a comment before 12/11c Monday, July 25.

This week’s question: What’s your favorite way to spend the dog days of summer? Napping on a hammock? Working in your summer veggie garden? Running through the sprinklers?

Click for official rules.

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