HGTV Urban Oasis Dream Home in West Asheville

A West Asheville bungalow is all-but-unrecognizable after a HGTV makeover.
A West Asheville bungalow is all-but-unrecognizable after a HGTV makeover.

And we thought there was no way West Asheville could get any hotter. Then HGTV rolled in and picked the trendy, walkable, funk-infused community for its latest Dream Home Giveaway Contest.

The house, dubbed “HGTV Urban Oasis,” is a classic 1920s bungalow that received a total do-over to meet the needs of a modern family. It’s located in the heart of the Haywood Road corridor at 17 Russell Street.

“HGTV contacted me to help them find a house that they could remodel and give away in a sweepstakes,” reveals Mike Figura, broker and owner of Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty.

And it took some doing.

“We looked at several homes, all in urban parts of Asheville. After narrowing in on West Asheville but not finding the perfect house, I wrote letters to owners of 1920s bungalows whose homes were not on the market, and fortunately, we had a response from someone who wanted to sell their house,” explains Figura. “The owner did not know it was for HGTV, and she got lucky because there were some issues with the house that she did not have to fix as part of the sale … HGTV was doing a major remodel anyway!

“It was a lot of fun meeting Scott McGillivray, host of [the HGTV show] Income Property, helping him search for houses and working with him as he made the final selection of the home,” Figura adds.

Upping their chances of winning, those viewers who have decided the HGTV Urban Oasis is their dream home were allowed to enter the online contest as many times as they wished between August 6 and September 24. (HGTV also aired a special about the project during this period.)

The price package is worth a cool half mil, and includes the house, its contents, a freshly landscaped yard with outdoor living space, and a new Acura.

Local builder Jody Guokas, who owns JAG Construction, a leading local green builder, teamed up with project architect David Wilson of Asheville (Wilson Architects, Inc.) and HGTV interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn. Together they executed a vision that’s beautiful, fun, up-to-the-minute, inclusive of Asheville’s outdoorsy and homegrown sensibility, and mindful of sustainability.

Begun this spring, the project, finished in three months, was logistically challenging. “We had, as is typical with these television projects, a short timeline and zero flexibility with the deadlines,” says Guokas. “I called in lots of favors from my colleagues in the business. But Brian Patrick and I really collaborated well, the brainstorming went great, and I learned I’m comfortable in front of the camera.”

Though technically a remodel, it was as close to new construction as it gets. “We took it down to the barest bones and created an open floor plan, but I reused most of the original trim by incorporating it into other pieces in the house,” explains Guokas. For example, he wrapped the pine around the kitchen island and also used it to make a built-in seat for the mudroom. And 17 Russell now boasts an enviable home energy rating.

Designer Flynn filled the space with vibrant primary colors and creatively reused furniture pieces. The kitchen is accessorized with white subway tile, a butcher-block-topped island, and crisp black-and white-Roman shades.

The soothing blue living room invites lounging and is punctuated by a dramatic fireplace wall made of wood laid in a herringbone pattern, while the outdoor deck is accessorized with bold red-striped curtains, a streamlined gray wicker couch, ceramic garden stools, and plentiful potted plants. The bedrooms brim with fluffy duvets, and the master bath is outfitted like a spa. An ample and creatively executed garage and loft space with mod touches round out the residence. The house is also sprinkled liberally with locally sourced pieces — art from the River Arts District and estate-sale finds.

There’s hardly a local who wouldn’t flip over winning this quirky, sophisticated crib. The contest was closing as CH+G went to press, and the winner will be announced later this month.

For updates on the HGTV Urban Oasis Dream Home, go to