HGTV Star Meg Caswell's Favorite Cool Houses for Sale
Since her season-six win of HGTV Design Star, Chicago-based interior designer Meg Caswell has been transforming some of the most outdated rooms in the Windy City into truly gorgeous spaces on Meg's Great Rooms. The HGTV star and her husband currently reside in a one-bedroom rental apartment in Chicago, but the couple dreams of calling a warmer climate home. Read on to find out what the designer looks for in a house, and see some listings she loves across the country.
What's your favorite home style and why?
I have always been drawn to Greek revival architecture. I think it's because it's the type of home I grew up in. The beautiful details and columns used in the architecture add so much beauty, and I love how symmetrical the layout is. The formal entertaining rooms are larger in these types of homes, and I love entertaining friends and family. With older, more traditional Greek revival homes, you don't always have the family gathering area in the layout. But with an addition of a "Great Room," you get the best of both worlds: large dining room and living rooms and a good size family room.
When you're shopping for a home, what are the features you absolutely have to have, and what are your deal breakers?
The most important feature in a home for me and my husband is outdoor space. Usually a porch or terrace is sufficient, but the more the better. A front porch creates such a nice welcome for your visitors and a great place to have a cocktail after a long day. I also have to have lots of land, and water is a huge selling feature as well. If I could buy a home with a pool on the Intracoastal Waterway, I would be in heaven!
When it comes to the interiors of a home, there has to be some architectural significance. If the decoration added to the home is the only thing that makes it special, then the home is just a shell. I want our home to have details that actually add to the overall space. I believe it's a like a dance: Both elements -- the interior design and the structural details -- have to play a part.
Which room in a home is the most important to you and why?
I know I should say the "Great Room," but really, I look for a nice living room. I love to entertain, and I grew up loving our living room. It was such a beautiful, special room in our home, and I want that same special feeling with my home. Ideally, it would have a gorgeous fireplace, large windows and an adjacent exterior room for accessibility to the outside.
If you could own a home anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Greece would be my first choice! I have traveled there a lot, and very close friends of ours live there. We love the lifestyle, boating on the sea and all the outdoor entertaining that is customary to their culture.
However, a more realistic choice would be Wild Dunes on Isles of Palms in South Carolina. My husband is from the South, and we love being on the water. This area is perfect for a family because it offers so many things to do. Not only is the water amazing for boating and fishing -- my husband loves to fish -- but the beaches are wide and beautiful. There are great golf courses and just a wonderful sense of community there. It's also really close to Charleston, which is where my husband and I had our first date. We love Charleston and everything it has to offer!
Describe your dream home – if money were no object whatsoever, what features would you include in your fantasy house?
My dream home would be large enough for my family on a beautiful piece of property overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway in North Carolina or somewhere warm. It would be a white Greek revival-style home with lots of outdoor living space. There would be a beautiful infinity pool in the back overlooking the water and gorgeous landscaping around the property. We would also have a poolhouse, which would double as a guest cottage with an outdoor dining room underneath a pergola covered in ivy, and a boat house closer to the dock where we would keep our boats.
The back of the home would have tons of windows and doors opening onto a large terrace that spills out towards the pool. The terrace would have a gorgeous outdoor kitchen, covered by a pergola with lots of comfortable furniture.
The interior of the house would have gorgeous finishes and beautiful architectural details. Each room in the home would make its own statement: A dark, rich wood library, a light, airy sun room, a large stone-and-carved-wood kitchen, a grand living room, and a bright and airy master bedroom with a large fireplace. I can't leave out the staircase -- that too would be grand and would make a beautiful statement in the foyer. I would fill my home with a combination of vintage and new furniture with beautiful, bright colors in each room that follow seamlessly throughout the space. It would have large windows opening out onto spacious outdoor living rooms.