Ireland’s most popular TV architect Dermot Bannon visits some stunning and unusual homes in two very different American cities – New York and L.A. – for this two-part special. On his busman’s holiday, Dermot meets homeowners, architects and realtors who show him award-winning homes and introduce him to some incredible living spaces and experiences.

Sometimes it is the homes themselves and sometimes it is the people behind the homes that are the star of these two stand alone shows.

Dermot Bannon’s New York Homes, Episode 1 of 2, Sunday, December 10th, RTÉ One at 9.30pm

Dermot checks into his uptown apartment and begins his New York odyssey that includes a penthouse in a TriBeCa skyscraper with a million dollar view, a Hamptons super home complete with basketball court and driving range, and the architectural wonder that is the ‘Farmhouse in a Hangar’ in New Jersey.

Along the way Dermot soaks up the colour of New York and visits some of his favourite sights including the famous Flatiron building and the High Line

Homes featured include:

Penthouse in Skyscraper: Leonard Street, TriBeCa, Manhattan, New York A cutting edge apartment by renowned Swiss architectural firm Herzog & deMeuron whose aim is to revolutionise skyscraper living. ‘It’s worth every cent of the 17,750,000 dollar sale price,’ says realtor Elizabeth Unger as she wows Dermot with this 4000 square foot, 4 bedroomed and 4.5 bathroomed home with 14 feet windows that give a 360 degree panorama of the city and sky. The building is one of a growing number of ‘super-slender’ towers in New York, which have extreme ratios of height to base width. 145 apartments are stacked upon one another to create a cascading structure, like a tower of Jenga blocks. Inside it’s all natural pale solid woods, marble, polished metals and black granite – along with a free-standing bath with a view stunning view.

Farmhouse in a Hanger, New Jersey: Why live in one house when you can live in a house within a house? Dermot visits an alternative farmhouse in New Jersey where architect Adam Kalkin has built a hangar around a 19th century farmhouse. Why? Aside from the additional space he created, Adam wanted to preserve the original clapboard farmhouse while re-imagining the idea of a family home. Dubious at first, by the end of his visit Dermot is completely won over by this home inside a home which is made of three parts – an airplane hangar, a newly built concrete-glass structure with several rooms and, of course, the old farmhouse itself. It has to be seen to be believed.

Hamptons Super Home, Southhampton, New York: It’s hard to believe that this 16,000 square foot brand new build in the salubrious Hamptons is being sold as a ‘second’ home. With its 9 bedrooms and 14.5 bathrooms, features include an indoor basketball court, gym, spa area with juice bar, sauna, steam and massage rooms, and a library as well as an entertainment lounge with full bar, a wine cellar and a rooftop putting green – oh, and an elevator in case you don’t want to use any of the three staircases – along with tennis court, swimming pool and a pool house the size of your average home. Realtor Gary DePersia, whose job it is to sell this $35 million home, explains that these traditional clapper board Hamptons style new builds are designed to look old.

Oscar Wilde Bar, Manhattan, New York: Dermot gets behind the counter of Manhattan’s recently opened Oscar Wilde bar – with a 4 million dollar ‘Victoriana’ interior – to mix a cocktail or two. Owners Frank McCole, from Monaghan, and Tommy Burke, from Mayo, are hugely successful in the bar and food business – both moved to New York in the 80’s and have worked together for twenty years.

Dermot Bannon’s New York Homes is the first of a two parts series. Dermot Bannon’s LA Homes airs on Sunday, December 17th on RTÉ One at 9.30pm

Dermot Bannon’s LA Homes, RTÉ One, Sunday, December 17th at 9.30pm

Dermot fulfills a long term dream of gliding along the freeway in a Mustang to begin his LA adventure which includes a visit to a floating glass house with spectacular seascape views on Laguna Beach; meeting renowned Irish American architect Lorcan O’Herlihy who takes him to the iconic Jai House he built for his best-selling author clients; setting foot inside a gold house deep in the Joshua Tree Desert – no mean feat as the owner turns down most requests, even Rihanna’s – and getting a glimpse inside a house shaped like a wave.

Along the way Dermot meets Kilkenny natives brothers James and John Corr who now build multi-million dollar housing developments and takes in some L.A sights, from glitzy Hollywood Boulevard to vibrant Venice Beach.

Lorcan O’Herlihy, LA starchitect: Renowned Irish-American architect  Lorcan O’Herlihy takes Dermot to the iconic Jai House he built for bestselling health food authors Julie Piatt and her husband Rich Roll. Lorcan’s father was Dan O’Herlihy, an Irish architect turned actor known for ‘RoboCop’ and ‘Twin Peaks’ and nominated for a 1954 Oscar for his lead role in ‘Adventures of Robinson Crusoe’. Jai House bears all Lorcan’s hallmarks of clean geometry, sensitivity to landscape, glass walls to let in floods of light and views of the nature that surrounds – and a pool that slices into the house from the back garden. Owner Julie Piatt – a yoga and meditation teacher who travels the world giving workshops and has worked with The Happy Pear twins Dave and Steve Flynn – shows Dermot around, cooks one of her best-selling plant based recipes, and sings him one of her devotional chants. Her husband Rich Roll was voted one of the ’25 Fittest Men in the World’ by Men’s Fitness Magazine – impressive as prior to becoming a full-time wellness guru Rich, a former entertainment attorney and champion swimmer, struggled with drugs and alcohol and was in rehab by age 31.

Beach House, Laguna Beach, California: Dermot visits a dream, floating glass house with spectacular seascape views perched on the most awe-inspiring setting on Laguna Beach, with a private walkway leading down to the surf. The rooms have disappearing glass walls, so they seem to hover above the sea. The 3-story, 4-bedroom home was designed by Irish architect Paul McClean who is well-known for creating trophy homes in L.A. often with unique features such as the garage here where a hydraulic lift lowers a $2 million yellow McLaren down into an underground art gallery space. From there Dermot begins his tour of thehouse, from the media room all the way up to the top floor master suite, where the free-standing bath has breathtaking ocean views.

Gold House, (Acido Dorado), Joshua Tree Desert, California: Dermot was lucky to get inside the door of the Gold House as architect and owner Robert Stone turns down most requests – even Rihanna’s multiple asks to shoot a video there. Uncertain at first, Dermot falls in love with this shimmering golden mirage in the desert which forces us to reconsider what architecture is. The long, low building has huge mirrored overhangs, ornate wrought iron gates with thousands of metallic gold hearts and flowers. Inside, it’s all gold-mirrored ceiling and walls, with a mosaic tiled pool in the living room and a sunken back patio with a fire pit and barbecue. There’s no landscaping around the house – it’s just set amongst dirt and rock. Robert also worked as an artist in L.A for many years and is sceptical about traditional architectural education. He says his work looks different because he thinks differently about architecture – of course he cares about composition, scale, and materials – but he is also interested in the cultural meaning that we attach to things. The flowers and hearts get us to focuson the relationship between nature and culture: very little grows in this arid desert and even though his wrought iron flowers are fake, they are more alive than the landscape outside. His use of gold forces us to redefine what gold means to us – a few years ago it could have meant ‘bling’ – but in this Trump era maybe it elicits an angrier response.

Wave House, Venice Beach, LA: The Wave House, with its facade in the shape of a wave, certainly stands out amongst it’s neighbouring traditional bungalows. Owner Mario Romano built the house himself, using computer technology to make over 300 white aluminium pieces fixed to a metal substructure, arranged to create the feeling of an ocean swell and crashing waves. The 5 -bedroomed, 4-bathroomed house is home to Mario, his wife Anya, a screenwriter whose work includes ‘Mother’s Day’ and ‘Monster-in-Law’, and their three kids. It is laid out in an angular U shape around a rectangular pool, and all rooms haveglass walls that open onto the pool. Inside, the patterns on the walls and floors are taken directly from nature: tortoiseshell geometrics and stripes on windswept sand.

James and John Corr, Building Contractors, Bel Air, LA:Brothers, contractor James and project manager John Corr, originally from Kilkenny, show Dermot around a 16,000 square foot megamansion on Billionaire’s Row inBel Air. Contractor James builds these multi-million dollar homes – a small house for him is 4,000 square foot – which can include everything from igloos to botox rooms – bars, gyms and media rooms ‘as big as a small cinema in rural Ireland’ are run-of-the-mill here.