On the latest season of Renovation Inspiration we took our experience designing vacation rental properties and put our own money into it. We recently bought the ‘Green Monster,’ a major fixer upper in Marina Del Rey. The property needed a ton of work which you can watch unfold on youtube. In the episode below, we renovate the outdoor spaces and the powder room, which we ended up completely gutting and starting from scratch:

What’s Trending in Vacation Rental Design: 

We’re embracing light, color, and modern design, everywhere, especially in vacation rental properties. A good guiding light for trends like this is to look towards hospitality and hotel design – there are certain, classical aspects of the spaces you expect to see, a sense of familiarity, like your home, but you also expect to be ‘surprised’ by trendy elements. (This is why so many hotels embrace contemporary or eclectic elements to combine stylings.) This serves two functions: it makes the space like-but-distinctly-not your home, and it’s also a lot of fun. What makes someone choose to stay at one hotel over the hotel next door (if not competing on price)? 

Vacation Rental Renovations: Should They Be Trendy or Timeless?

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What’s in a Trend?

A Note on Designing According to “Trends”… It’s a topic we always go back and forth on… It’s more difficult to decide on a definition of ‘trends’ than you may think. Are trends something to be projected and predicted or to be studied retrospectively? Truthfully, there is a disproportionate amount of the conversation of design trends focused on the prediction aspect because it is easy and there is no accountability – no one is looking back at your trend predictions to determine whether you were right! And even if you are, it can be incredibly hard to prove because large, sweeping generalizations are being made about individuals’ homes and tastes. That doesn’t mean it’s all bad, though… 

Villa Lagoon tile in small sized powder room

When to Listen to Trend Predictions

Trend prediction certainly has its place: It is interesting when it comes from interior designers and architects, specifically relaying what their clients are asking for over and over again. That’s when you know something is in the zeitgeist. But the important thing is what you do once you notice a trend. Dig a little deeper. We implore you to ponder the ‘why’ behind a trend. Here’s an example…

dining room in los angeles with ghost dining chairs

Even ‘Timelessness’ is a Trend…

In design, even the idea of designing a room with a ‘timeless’ style is, in and of itself, a trend that comes and goes. (It is important to note here that what a lot of people mean when they say timeless may, in fact, be neutral, or, conversely; it may, in fact, be vintage because the term ‘timeless’ is really a relative approximation that differs from culture to culture and not a technical term or a design movement. That’s why it’s so popular and why design ‘predictions’ love it.) Are lots of people asking for ‘timeless’ style? What’s the trend here and why does it matter – perhaps it is telling us that renovations are being done with selling the house in mind, or are being reimagined as vacation rentals. We’re seeing a lot of both.

Vacation Rental Renovations: Should They Be Trendy or Timeless? all white modern bathroom in a vacation rental in Los Angeles

Depersonalization and Timelessness

In both cases, a depersonalization is happening. We wonder, what motivates trends like this? (Perhaps an oversaturation of design and real estate television shows.) So, when do you design according to trends and when do you stick to something more neutral? And – to make things really complicated- are trendy and neutral always mutually exclusive? Food for thought. But I think our last few vacation rental renovations prove that there is ample cross over between them. Conclusively, hospitality spaces like hotels, restaurants, AirBnb’s, and other vacation rental properties have to have a mixture of both. They must appeal both to the familiar, across cultural lines, and invoke a sense of surprise because you’re on vacation!