Nate and Oprah

For years, Nate Berkus could be found giving tours to homeowners of the fabulous redecorations he's done to their homes and teaching design lessons to America. Now Nate's the one getting the tour from you—and seeing if you've been taking his advice.

Nate teamed up with O at Home magazine for the first "Knock, Knock, It's Nate" contest. They were in search of the best do-it-yourself home designers in America—and the winners do not disappoint!
Nate visits contest winner Jenn.

Nate's first stop is at the home of Jenn Feldman in Beverly Hills, California. He loves her seemingly effortless combination of high and low design—with items ranging from very expensive to handmade crafts and flea market finds.

"I consider myself an artist and I've always dabbled in different things," Jenn says. "I think my home just became a great canvas to play with my creativity and finding collectibles and things that I just love."

Take a tour of Jenn's Beverly Hills home.

Nate says he loves Jenn's home because even though she lives in the famous zip code of 90210, she still shops at Lowe's and JCPenny. "That was a major connection because I'll shop anywhere," he says. "But, you know: snobby zip code, completely not a snob. And her house is beautiful as a result."
Nate visits Kimberly's spa-inspired home.

Nate's second stop is the San Mateo, California, home of Kimberly Dellamonica, which she's decorated with a tropical resort theme. "We just traveled to resorts and we saw things we liked," Kimberly says. "We just tried to bring them home and incorporate it into our home."

Normally Nate says he doesn't like when people decorate their homes around a theme—but he loves Kimberly's home.

Take a tour with Nate of Kimberly's resort-themed home.

"The reason I usually don't like themed decorating is that people think you buy like the little soap dish that looks like Bali and then you've got like this Balinese room," Nate says. "But what they did in their home—which I thought was so amazing—was they decided what their theme was and they took every detail into account, even the architecture. They even replaced the doors and distressed the wood on the cabinets and put those stones in the threshold."
Nate visits Kirsten's European-designed home.

When he saw the contest submission from Kirsten Hollister, Nate says he immediately knew she would be a winner. Her Minneapolis, Minnesota, home is inspired by the two years she and her husband lived in Switzerland.

While living in Europe, Kirsten says she learned some important design concepts. First, they are adept at mixing old and new items. Second, they aren't afraid of wear and tear. "Don't worry about nicking it or chipping it," she says. "It's called patina." Third, they know how to boldly decorate a small room—what's considered small in America is actually quite large "across the pond."

Take a tour of Kirsten's European-influenced home.

"What I thought was so great about it was Kirsten decided what her style was, and knew it very well, and continued that through the entire home. It's very, very consistent," Nate says. "I thought she had a beautiful mix of old and new things as well, which is one of my favorite things to do. I wouldn't change anything about her house. I thought it was just beautiful."
David painted his daughter's room dramatic black and pink.

Dave's imaginative, playful designs for his children's bedrooms earned him an honorable mention in the O at Home contest. The Salt Lake City father of four created fantasy suites to inspire the imaginations of his kids.

In his son Charlie's room, David made two closets on either side of the bed into towers supporting a toy train track . "The joke is that my son sleeps underneath a bridge," David says. "We kind of laugh about that. I hope he doesn't sleep under a bridge for the rest of his life!"

David paid great attention to detail in the bedroom of his daughter, Lily, contrasting the black trim with a delicate pink paint. To soften the effect, he made panels using light fabric, black ribbons and pink rosettes. For a finishing touch, David added sparkling beads to a chandelier suspended from the ceiling. "I wanted something that she could grow into," he says.

The classic children's book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe provided David with the inspiration behind the bedroom shared by his two oldest sons. When they open the closet, they see a false backing that pulls aside to reveal a full-sized, walk-in closet for extra storage. "This is the most creative time in a person's life and things are just so fresh to them, so I want to create rooms and environments that kind of keep that alive," David says.
Sally uses salvaged items and goods from garage sales in her home.

A self-proclaimed "master Dumpster diver," Sally furnishes her Nevada City, California, home with items from unexpected places. "I love going to salvage yards and finding things that people have cast off," she says.

From major furniture pieces to small decorative touches, Sally's home is a testament to her philosophy that, "One person's trash is another person's treasure." In her kitchen, she created an island for food preparation using a garage sale-bought antique bottle washer with a butcher block on top. To modify the look of her once-white refrigerator, Sally covered the doors with two sheets of metal, giving them the look of stainless steel.

Salvage yards provided some of the most unique items in Sally's home, including a church pew and a piece she turned into a sliding door. To decorate the banister along her stairway, she ordered panels from an agricultural catalogue that were meant to cage livestock.

Sally's reuse-it attitude spreads to the master bedroom, which holds a $2 garage sale side table and an armoire found at a consignment store for $300. In the master bathroom, she made the garage sale bathtub her own by sandblasting it and painting it red.
Tonya's home looks like a million bucks.

Nate says Tonya's Fallbrook, California, house looks like a million bucks, but she paid far less than full price for many of the furnishings. How does she get such great deals? Just ask.

Using this strategy, Tonya scored a major deal on a zebrawood handmade dining room table. "I said, 'Could I get a better price on this?' And because I asked, I got a better price," she says.

Tonya used her eye for a bargain to land more items—from her floor sample front door to hand-painted silk lights. "I went into a boutique and the woman said, 'I want this price for them,'" she says. "I went online. I found them for less. She matched the price, so I saved thousands." To avoid paying too much on furniture for her poolside, Tonya didn't mess with retail stores—she drove straight to the manufacturer. "We saved thousands of dollars."

Another source of Tonya's bargain-hunting success—shopping for already-reduced merchandise. A large African basket hanging on her wall was a $100 consignment store find. Tonya discovered two matching chairs from the 1950s for just $5 apiece at a garage sale. And $5 towels from discount store T.J. Maxx adorn her bathroom.

"I love the way my house looks, and I didn't have to break the bank to do it," Tonya says.
Giada De Laurentiis teaches Nate to cook an appetizer.

Nate can design a beautiful kitchen, but when it comes to actually cooking , he needs a little help. "Nate doesn't know how to boil water," Oprah says.

Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis to the rescue! The host of the TV show Everyday Italian , Giada is the author of three best-selling cookbooks, including Everyday Pasta .

To prepare Nate for holiday get-togethers, Giada teaches him to make three of her delicious recipes. Now Nate can create crostini with gorgonzola, honey and walnuts, panini with chocolate and brie, and fried ravioli served with marinara sauce. "I serve it on a plate, and [you] dip and pop it into your mouth. Should I show you how to do that part?" Giada says.

"I've got that part. That part's easy!" Nate says.

Get the recipes for these appetizers and more!

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See more of the contest winners' and runner-ups' homes.