HGTV Loves This University Park Contemporary by Robert Elliott

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University Park Contemporary

Have you ever wondered just what it takes to have an HGTV-worthy home? Our Monday Morning Millionaire is a University Park contemporary at 3528 Marquette Street that captivated not only HGTV but also D Magazine. And now it can be yours!

I can say from my 20-plus years as a photography stylist and location scout many moons ago, HGTV  (and indeed any commercial photography client looking for a luxury home) has requirements that are set in stone. The perfect home for a photo shoot must be stylish, of course. It also needs to have light (photographers love natural light), and it has to be easy to move around in to capture different angles as well as to sustain a production crew, make-up artists, and stylists for the duration of the shoot.

This University Park contemporary has all that and more. With 6,833 square feet, six bedrooms, six bathrooms, and two powder baths there is plenty of room to create the perfect shot whether it’s for HGTV or Neiman Marcus.

University Park ContemporaryThe story of making this University Park contemporary camera-ready begins with the creative owners Nikki and Matt Stinson. Nikki has been in the advertising industry for many years as a creative director and now runs her custom paper goods company Tickled Designs. Matt is involved in the car industry. They have four kiddos: Noah (11), Stella (9), Opal (7), and Hildie (5).  Oh, and two sweet pooches, Baxter and Rebel.

“We knew we’d outgrown our home on Amherst when the only place we could put our youngest child’s crib was in the master closet,” Nikki said. I mean, yes it was a big master closet, but eventually, you know, Hildie would snap to the fact her siblings had rooms of their own!

The Stinsons found the perfect location. It happened to be owned by one of our favorite Approved Builders, Robert Elliott Custom Homes.

The collaboration with Elliott was seamless, because this was not the Stinsons’ first rodeo. They came into the project with tried-and-true materials, as well as ideas for some non-traditional elements, like locating the main staircase in the back of the house and forgoing a formal living room for an inviting library.

“There are four cozy chairs in the library, and everyone gravitates there,” Nikki said. “We play games and read and my husband and I sit and chat in there. We never thought we would use it so much.”University Park Contemporary

University Park Contemporary

“The open-plan family room is where we spend 95 percent of our time,” Nikki said. “I love our big kitchen island. We did two levels on purpose, one for cooking and a table level for the kids to do their homework.”

The Stinsons designed drawers in the island for each child. This is an idea I think everyone should steal! And FYI: permanent marker wipes right off that Caesarstone! The cabinets are also family-friendly.

“We installed Downsview cabinetry,” Nikki said. “It’s like melamine, easy to wipe down!”

The pantry ladder makes storage easy and accessible.

“Everyone got a vote in the process,” Nikki said. “The kids picked all their own paint colors. I take creative control, but they are like little mini clients that don’t pay and complain a lot!”

Nikki made sure every square inch of the home was used. “We took a bit of ribbing that we were building it like a ship. We looked at every bit of dead space and used it. For instance, underneath the staircase, the Stinsons created a home office nook.

An entire home office is cleverly tucked back here.

This is a home that lives easy and is not at all fussy. But there is a bit of glamour hidden away, and it’s in the master bathroom. “I often find my husband hanging out on the couch in the bathroom. (Yes,the bathroom has a couch, Virginia!) It’s a complete sanctuary in there,” Nikki said. “It’s the Calgon-take-me-away spot.”

The family moved into their University Park contemporary in 2015 and have thoroughly enjoyed living here. The house is equidistant to Coffee Park and Caruth Park and minutes from NorthPark Center.

When the home was completed, Robert Elliott had photographer Nathan Schroder document the results for their website.

“During the process, Nathan asked us if we had ever considered having our house published,” Nikki said. “He talked to stylist Jenny O’Conn0r, and they presented it to D Magazine, who ran the house recently. Jenny knew the folks at HGTV and submitted it for their consideration. They liked it, and it’s on their website right now!”

So, we know you are scratching your heads, thinking “Why do you sell a home that’s been featured in D Magazine, on HGTV’s site, and has plenty of room for an active family of six plus two hounds?”

“We love this home, we truly love it, but there is this design itch you get,”Nikki said. “We have that bug, so it’s time for the next challenge.”

There is also a great patio area so be sure to have Compass listing agent Amy Detwiler show it off when you call her to see this $3.495 million University Park contemporary! And bear in mind, you can reduce those mortgage payments by offering this beauty up to area location scouts for photo shoots. It’s already passed that test!

Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager and writer for over 25 years. Karen teaches the popular Staging to Sell class and is the creator of the online course, The Beginners Guide to Buying Wholesale. Her love of dogs, international travel, history, white paint, champagne, artificial turf, and Tudor and Midcentury Modern homes knows no bounds. Her father was a spy, so she keeps secrets very well! Find Karen at


Karen Eubank

Karen is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager for more than 25 years and a professional writer for over 20 years. Karen is the mother of a son who’s studying for his masters at The New England Conservatory of Music. An ardent animal lover, she doesn’t mind one bit if your fur baby jumps right into her lap.

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