We are proud that our very own, Nava Cooper, has transformed yet another under performing long term rental into a fabulous, highly successful vacation rental. This gem in the heart of Venice Beach, just steps away from Abbot Kinney Blvd, has been re-imagined from a 70’s wood shack to a rustic hipster cabin. Let’s discuss!
What was the design concept behind this recent project? The house is a cozy, wood cabin but was stuck in a not-so-groovy 70’s rut. Vacation rentals can be rustic and even thematic but they also need to have the comfort and luxury of a high-end hotel. I wanted to keep the integrity of the cabin vibe in place while adding some lavish comfort and amenities. Since all of the systems in the home were in good working order, we really only made cosmetic changes, keeping the budget bare bones while staying true to the original funky vibe. The concept was always ‘make it profitable!’ My clients have more than doubled their income on this property.
What were some of the main design challenges you faced, given your limited time and budget? There are certain fundamental ways that designing for a vacation rental is different from, say, staging or editorial interior design. These spaces are meant to be lived in, not just look appealing in a picture. The functional details become very important, like making sure there are no visible cable boxes or wiring, which in an all-wooden cabin posed quite a challenge. Every piece of furniture needs to look good yet be easily replaced or indestructible. When on a limited budget you have to pick and choose where to spend the money that will have the most impact. For instance, this fireplace tile created a whole new look and was very affordable. We chose a matte white hexagon tile to lighten and add contrast. Also, a pillow with Bill Murray’s face on it completes everything.
When doing a cosmetic makeover, how do you know what to keep and what to discard or upgrade? In the living room I tinkered with painting out the wood because the space was so dark. In the end, I decided to embrace the wooded cabin aesthetic but chose to drywall the middle accent wall and add eclectic light fixtures everywhere I could. We did white wash the dining room ceiling to emphasize the chandelier. The key is to listen to what the place wants to be and enhance the aliveness of the existing space. Basically, ride the horse in the direction it’s going.In the past you’ve mentioned how much simply changing the paint or adding textures and basic furniture can transform a space. Can you give us some examples from this recent project? Definitely. A great many of the pieces in this house were found either during epic Craigslist scouring sessions or picked up in local vintage shops like Venice Vintage Paradise. I try to capitalize on any opportunity that presents itself. For instance, there was a huge wind storm in Venice during the remodel and it blew over trees in the neighborhood. I sent my husband out with a hand saw to cut branches from the downed trees to make a wall mount to hang Edison bulbs. I found a vintage American flag that made a super affordable and colorful headboard. Master Bedroom – before and after
Any final thoughts? Even seemingly unimportant spaces can be elevated by some small touches. There was a throw away powder/laundry room that we addressed, along with a small patio area that was refreshed by simply trimming trees. Also, in Venice Beach, never forget the bikes!
Nava’s services are available as a stager, design consultant, interior designer and to anyone interested in owning and operating a vacation rental. She can be reached at email@example.com.