Incredible Airbnb Interior Design, Staging and Design "Best of the Best"
As you’ll see from our next round of "Best of the Best" winners, Airbnb interior design is super HOT right now and working with a Vacation Rental Design Expert is a great way to make more money on your investment. This quarter's "Best of the Best" was particularly competitive!
We also did something different with these winners: we asked not only for the "design project story" but also wanted to know about their "journey into the design world."
These stories of design lovers turned super successful designers will inspire you tremendously, so enjoy...
Travelling Airbnb Interior Design Expert
“I was originally an AIRBNB super host who put our personal home up for sale and in the process remodeled an old school portable we turned into a pool house. I staged it and got tons of requests from agent if I did home staging. I decided between staging the pool house and designing my own AIRBNB properties I wanted to take it further and found Audra!! I took her course, LOVED it, and went full force with home staging.
I made friends with the former president of RESA through the Home Staging Resources FB page. She called me and told me I was crazy for not pursuing other Vacation Rentals and designing those as it's something I love. I listened to her and went for it. I have since blown up and traveling all over the country designing short term rentals from Vegas to Tennessee, to New York and more. Providing everything from E-Designs to E-Designs and install.
I absolutely LOVE it! I have since landed contracts with STR management companies and builders throughout the country.”
“The photos above are of a Disney STR in Kissimmee, FL I did for a client that lives in Texas. She contacted me and let me run with the design of this massive 7-bedroom pool home in a STR community. We did everything from a Disney princess room to a peter pan room, a maximalism room and more!! She since contacted me to come back and design and stage the pool area for photos as well and asked if I would do her holiday designing for her as well!!
All thanks to Audra and her amazing training programs!!!!”
Airbnb Interior Design Kitchen Renovation
Donna Allen, owner of Dramatix Decor Inc, serving Chicago, IL area and Naples FL (where she just started marketing and working in) did an amazing job with this complete vacation rental renovation.
“This homeowner purchased her parents’ home after they passed away and wanted a full gut and remodel. After learning about their vision - to use their home as a second home and to rent it out on Airbnb in January February and March - I went to work determining their budget, working with a general contractor and architect, and learning about the permits needed.
The challenge for this Airbnb interior design was that the homeowner wanted to rent this property out for $10,000 in the winter months to snowbirds BUT in this neighborhood, homes we’re renting for $5000 for those months. So, we needed to add a lot of value to this property to get the rental price where we needed it."
Donna's Airbnb Interior Design Journey
"Within the first year of Staging, many of my staging clients asked me to help design and decorate their new homes and I began a lot of interior decorating work. This past year alone I have completed five full kitchen remodels. I absolutely love all decorating projects, small and large and I could not have done it without Audra‘s E design training, Airbnb training, and the Staging And Design Client training.
Thank you, Audra, for all your wonderful training and for all the access that you offer such as your Facebook Stager's Connect Group (invaluable) and ongoing training that you offer us. You are the BEST!”
Attorney Turned Designer Doing Vacation Home Remote E-Design
“This design project was for a client who lives in NY and purchased a vacation home in Boca Raton, FL. We did all the design planning and furniture purchasing in NY using floor plans, photos, and FaceTime when she was down there, which was fun but challenging as well since I had never been physically in the space."
"I also Face Timed with her contractors from the home to consult on lighting placement, wallpaper installation and other details. Luckily, by ordering lots of samples and checking and re-checking our measurements (sometimes with good, old-fashioned pencil on graph paper!), everything we purchased fit perfectly in the spaces."
"Then I went down to the home with the client for a two-day shopping spree to purchase decor and artwork and put the final touches on the design. The client is thrilled with the result, as am I! Coastal, beachy design is one of my favorite types to do because blue is my favorite color!”
Jane's Design Journey
“I started my home staging and design business in the fall of 2021, after spending many years working as an attorney and an HR executive and consultant. I have always loved interior design but never considered it as a career because I didn't think of myself as a "creative/artistic" type person.
But once I took the leap into this field (thanks to the HSR certification course) I realized that the analytical skills and attention to detail that I developed in my prior careers are key to breaking down the staging and design process into the critical elements of function, style, color, texture, and proportion. Then I use all those building blocks, along with my eye for good design, to create updated spaces that are beautiful, balanced, and complete!
I absolutely love my work and can't believe that finally in my mid-50's I get to do something for a living that is so fun and rewarding -- and be my own boss! I am so grateful to Audra and the HSR certification course for helping me get my start and providing the ongoing support and resources I need to make my business successful!”
Occupied Home Staging Success
Rita Hanisch-Dunbar owner of Hanisch Designs serving the greater Sacramento area, CA, shares a great story about the winning photos from this stage and her journey into the staging business.
“What a fantastic collaboration with one of my favorite realtors. In the slower winter season, he reached out to have me help prepare this occupied listing for marketing photos. The lovely couple living there were scheduled to move to Oregon and were extremely motivated to sell their home. We had a 'Buyer's Eyes Consultation' to create a plan of action of what were their main priorities of to-do's.
Based on the realtor's and my suggestions they had the entire interior of the home painted and some carpet installed. They were entirely on board with all my recommendations to have the house prepped for my return for Staging & Styling Services. I love it when sellers put their trust in you as a Staging Professional, put in the hard work and then reap the rewards.
What a success story! Marketing photos for MLS came out gorgeous and it was not on the market for more than 6 days, they received multiple offers and accepted for 1.3% over asking price. Well, I call that a wonderful return on investment, don't you agree?”
Rita's Occupied Staging Journey and Specialty
“I had a long career in Interior Design & Visual merchandising, then stayed home for a couple of years with my daughter and ended up finding myself very interested in Home Staging as my next step. I worked with and for a local Staging company for 2.5 years and when the Covid pandemic changed the course of life slightly, I had to stay home for the schooling of my daughter. Audra's HSR Staging Certificate course came across my Facebook screen (clearly her marketing is working, ha ha) and I was intrigued to check it out.
I signed up for Audra's staging training in summer of 2020 and went live January of 2021 specializing in Owner Occupied Staging. I love it and truly could not have done it without Audra's training, the encouragement of hers and the program network of fellow trainees and peers. It is a wonderful industry, Audra and her team are working hard to continuously improve the training, the industry standards and connect a huge network of like-minded folks across the country.
So thankful to have jumped on the HSR train when I did!!! Very excited to see what the future holds for my boutique biz Hanisch Designs. Thank you Audra & the HSR team!”
Inspiration Chandelier to Perfect Vacant Staging Job
Gina Gailing of Big Style Staging, serving the Fort Lauderdale / Miami area of South Florida shares an exciting story about this stage and I am bursting with pride for her!
“I am particularly proud of this Staging job as I went out of my comfort zone when it came to the color palette. The inspiration was the graphic black and white lighting fixtures the client installed…especially the chandelier in the living area. I just knew I had to use our black and white striped rug we had in inventory. The rug was the jumping off point for the entire design and we went with the black - the pink accents were just something bold I wanted to try. We must have done something right as the Buyer ended up purchasing all our inventory! A Win Win for everybody!”
Gina's Design Journey
“Thank you Audra & HSR for this award. HSR is where I started and received my training back in 2017 and I still love being a part of “Audra’s Tribe”. I knew I had the talent for staging, and I had successfully staged a few flips my husband and I had done… but the Home Staging Resource & Audra’s (detailed) training gave me the tools I needed from a business aspect to get started. Trust me, if you have ANY questions regarding starting a home staging business or even a question if you are a seasoned stager - I guarantee Audra has answered it somewhere in her training. I just love this woman!”
Twin Sisters Staged House Makes History
I love these twin sisters who I was privileged to meet in person at the last RESACon and am always so inspired by their work! This quarter's BOB, they actually won for two different homes.
“Salt + Pine is a boutique staging company based in Rhode Island. We (Amy and Kristen) are twin sisters who fell in love with staging when we each sold our first homes. We found Audra’s training and decided to take the leap and start our company. Audra’s training was invaluable! Not only did we learn the design principles behind staging, but we gained the foundation that allowed us to start a business. We also became part of the stagers connect community which allowed us to connect with our colleagues. This has been a game changer for us. We can learn and grow with our peers, share our work, and ask questions. It is such a supportive community!”
“The first 4 pictures (the bathroom, dining room, bedroom, and kitchen) are from a historical renovation. This was our first time working with this developer. He had purchased a home that was an old ice box home in a shipping and sailing part of the town. He kept so much of the historical charm while updating the home. Our goal was to highlight his beautiful work with our staging.
We wanted to keep it warm and cozy white still being light, bright, and stylish. We choose warm caramel leather counter stools to compliment the gorgeous green cabinetry in the kitchen. We had a thread of that leather throughout the home as you can see with the leather lumbar and benches in the primary bedroom. The ceiling in the dining room is truly the star of the room. We wanted that to be the focus, so we chose a light wood table and white chairs. This helps draw your eyes to the wood floors and ceiling.”
This house made history selling for the highest price per sq foot in the area!
“The second set of pictures (primary bedroom with wallpaper, wood paneled sitting room and blue couch) were from a total throwback. We had the pleasure of staging this original 1970s mid-century modern home. The house had sweeping views, an indoor pool and a gorgeous built in custom sunken curved blue couch. We wanted to update the home with the furniture pieces while keeping the mid-century architecture in mind."
"We brought in white furniture to lighten up all the wood paneling and parquet floors, but we used furniture with curved lines to mirror the built in blue couches. In the primary bedroom we used the colors in the wallpaper to build our design around. White bedding and pattern and color in the accent pillows and the rug really made this space feel current and on trend.”
Dietician Turned Incredible Designer
Jackie Low’s career change story of how she ventured into the home staging business is inspiring and I'm so glad she made the change as she is so talented! Jackie owns Stage The Vibe, serving Waco, TX and surrounding areas.
"The master bedroom in the last photo was for a builder I’ve worked with before. He felt like the Master bedroom looked too small in this new build so staging was a MUST. As soon as the furniture was in, he felt like it looked much bigger and knew that buyers would agree and appreciate that!"
“The next pictures are from a home way out in the middle of nowhere! Every single room had a view. I was thrilled to stage it just because of that! The wall of windows and high ceilings in the main living area made the space appear even larger, lighter, and brighter. With so much nature surrounding the home, we used lots of neutral colors and natural textures, but we wanted a modern twist, so we brought that in with some of the artwork and accessories.”
Jackie's Inspirational Design Journey
“I have been a Registered Dietitian since getting a bachelor’s and master’s degree in 2002. During COVID, I was unable to go into my long-term care facilities and was doing all my work on the computer at home. I am a hands on, let’s get something done kind of girl so I quickly became bored and felt unfulfilled. I knew I had a bigger purpose and God given talents that weren’t being utilized. I had always thought in the back of my mind that staging “would be fun” but never acted on it or took any initiative to do anything more than ponder the idea.
I decided to look up Home Staging certification and found HSR with Audra Slinkey. I was amazed at the amount of information and training she offered so I jumped in headfirst! I had no idea what I was doing but felt like I had the tools to do it even if I messed up along the way! I found my first piece of furniture on the side of the road and now I am a full-time stager, I have a 1500+ sq ft warehouse, new clients every month, and most importantly the confidence to go out and do as much as my mind can come up with.
There is absolutely NO WAY I would have had what I needed or would be where I am today without HSR’s training, templates, videos, and support system. I’m still learning and always will be, but I owe so much to Audra for what she has done for the staging world not to mention what she’s done for me and my family. Unbeatable! I cannot wait to meet her in person at RESACON this year!” 💕💕
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Several Winning Design Spaces
Kelly Sharp owner of KD Designs, located in Tulsa, OK, has won for several various projects in this Best of the Best. She has worked with clients in other states and internationally and shares her story of how she got into the staging and design industry.
“I took Audra’s course in 2019 because I always loved staging my own home and was looking to get back to the work force after my kids were in school. Her course was extremely helpful not only with staging and design, but how to start a business. That’s where I needed the most help and didn’t know where to start! I’m four years in and have been so fortunate to work on some great projects. My business has leaned more into the design side, but staging a project when it’s complete is my favorite part. I’m so lucky to get to create beautiful spaces for families to love and enjoy!”
"In the above photos, my remodel client wanted to brighten up her living room space because she had a lot of dark wood throughout her house. We incorporated this pretty blue in the dining room as well the built-ins to create continuity throughout. We did all new furniture that felt updated and not so heavy. And of course, we used pops of that same blue in the art, ottomans, and pillows."
“The bedroom photos are from my personal bedroom. We remodeled our house in 2021 and didn’t do much in the master other than wood flooring. I love moody colors and was lucky to come across “Brushed Blue” at the Benjamin Moore store. My husband and I added the wainscot, painted it, and changed out the light fixture. We have a lot of windows in that space, so it doesn’t feel too dark at all. We love it!”
"I worked with a remodel client last year that wanted to update their game room, but also showcase the different towns their family had lived in. This was a very cost-effective way to include that, but also add fun interest the space. The desktop is just butcher block from Home Depot sitting on top of two IKEA cabinets. To eliminate extra wiring, we used LED art sconces to highlight the poster frames."
Design Business is Booming
Valerie Cabrera, owner of Pink Dot Staging + Redesign, LLC, which serves the greater Boston, MA area has been in business for almost 4 years! HSR gave me the base to be able to grow my business successfully and I even hired 2 employees in the last few months! How cool is that?
“This contemporary home in Concord, Ma had previously been listed in the Spring and didn’t sell. Realtor hired me in the Fall to stage this tricky multi-level home. I gave purpose to the spaces, including this large room off the foyer and this office space. Working with the built-ins in the office was a lot of fun!
Home got an amazing offer right away and sold almost $200k over asking.”
The Magic of Staging Marketing
I always say that it's much easier to enter the design industry through the "staging back-door" because the business model of staging from a marketing perspective is fantastic! Staging allows you to showcase your design work and leave your calling card to the many prospects who walk through the space.
Dawn Russell who owns Shine Design and Staging in Sacramento, CA, has a fantastic story about this simple marketing strategy that has brought her over 8 jobs from one staged home...
“I'd been in business for about a year and this stage was my third ever stage. I've thought of this stage as the stage that keeps giving because I placed a small vignette in the kitchen with my business cards in it and received my next four staging jobs from realtors who picked up my card there! But it doesn't stop there, one of the realtors is a local investor who I have now staged five properties with 3 more coming down the pipeline; and just last month he referred me to another investor who I've already staged two homes for! (And now this award too!) That one small, vacant stage has turned into my best marketing tool so far! =)
I'm so honored to receive this award! Thank you so much for all you do!!!”
Setting the Tone for 2023
Co-owners, Kristin and Meagan of Upstate Roots Design which serves the Rochester, NY area, “are so honored to be selected for the “Best of the Best” award! We know first-hand how high the bar is set from seeing all the tremendous staging work from our HSR certified peers. We appreciate all the knowledge HSR has provided us & the opportunity to share our passion of staging & design with audiences outside of Rochester NY.”
“This particular property set the tone for how Upstate Roots Design wanted to kick off 2023. Co-owners, Kristin and Meagan shared that “we put our heart into every project but this one elevated where we wanted to take our brand and our business moving forward. We are always working to set the bar higher for the design concepts of our projects. If we don't leave each time saying, oh this might be our new favorite...we have not done our job well.”
"This property was our first with this investor and it was upgraded exceptionally well. No small detail was overlooked, the color schemes were not your generic tones but bold, and the fixtures were modern but with the perfect number of warm touches. We walked through this consultation with our ideas racing and an overwhelming excitement to be a part of this listing, in addition to being a gorgeous investment home, it was a very large property, so it pushed us to do more, and to go bigger. We stage a space to create a feeling, an emotional connection for buyers when they walk through the door. Our goal is to create a brand where repeatable clients/realtors recognize our work and are left with that same feeling. It starts with curating the design based on all the elements of the property and the target audience. We were craving it to be high end, crisp, clean but to still feel warm and inviting. We were challenged with calming the bolder paint selection down with the overall aesthetic and filling each room to its greatest potential. Not only did it sell right away, but it also sold for over list price.”
Deyunni Carter of Carter Home Studio, serving the Nashville, Tn area, created a nursery for her son and it’s stunning!“This project was designed for my 6-month-old. We had to turn our guest room into a nursery since we were having our first son. It was a total surprise to find out we were expecting again! We knew we didn't want to do the traditional themed room for him and wanted to create a space that was playful but would also grow with him. I wanted it to feel like it was a room for a "little man". So, I tried something different/ bold for me and went semi moody but bright and airy. I'm so happy with how evening turned out being as we did this in a very small budget. It was so much fun creating this mature room for our precious son. We love it.”
I love how creative Victoria Fontaine, owner of House of Moxie, serving the NH area, was with this E-Design project for this den; and the double coffee tables are gorgeous!