HGTV just unveiled their Dream Home of 2011 in Stowe, Vermont on Jan 1st. Two years ago, HGTV brought the Bay Area to the national spotlight, building the Dream Home in Sonoma, CA. Caught in the frenzy at the time, I faithfully submitted my entries every night. Now I don’t feel so bad about not winning it. I just visited the “Dream” Home over the holidays during my vacation in Sonoma. The Dream Home is located at 620 5th Street East, Sonoma, CA. The house is about 3200 square feet and the lot is about 15,000 ft. While the package was $2M including the house, all the furniture, appliances and a SUV at the time, a similar house in the same neighborhood only costs about $1.2M now. So, maybe the gift’s value shrank by almost 40% over 2 years or something else. The neighborhood is near downtown Sonoma and there are many impressive estate homes in the vicinity. And when compared to the other houses close by, the Dream Home was not even close to being the best house on the block and didn’t stand out at all. Compare the promo picture from HGTV and the picture I took.
The house looks very plain and graceless in person. I am again awed by the power of TV magic to make everything look better. If you want your dream home in Sonoma, a starter house with a good lot in downtown Sonoma costs you only about $600K right now, less than the taxes owed by the “winner”. You can bring your own magic touch, create your dream home just the way you want it and won’t have IRS coming after you.