We’ve all stayed in a hotel and probably even a vacation rental at some point, but there’s a new concept in hospitality that’s gaining traction. High-end residential properties are now part of the rental landscape – offering quality accommodations and amenities with designer flair.
This niche offers an opportunity for designers to shine by working with property owners and managers to create customized experiences for their guests. Those who opt for rentals instead of hotels are usually discerning guests with high standards and high expectations.
So what makes working in this space different from a residential or traditional hotel design? Chad Salenius, chief executive officer of Atlanta Luxury Rentals, says there are more similarities than differences. Along with accommodating building and city regulations and restrictions, these properties require a unique design eye. “Many Airbnb® properties, especially in Atlanta, are very traditional. Our aesthetic is more classic, modern and clean, while always working with the architectural details of each building,” he says.
Design to differentiate
Hotels can purchase in quantity to provide consistency within the property and meet both expectations and the standards required for the hospitality industry. Private rental proprietors, however, can design spaces that are more personal.
“We only use high-end furnishings such as Caracole and Mr. Brown London that won’t have to be replaced as often,” says Salenius. “Quality is hallmark; our designs are more similar to a home than even a luxury hotel.” The company’s first units opened in 2016 so some updates are ongoing with paint and accessories, but the case goods and upholstery are purchased with the expectation that they’ll be in place for at least five years. “We certainly don’t want a space to look dated after a few years.”
Each property is unique and inspires a design all its own. As example, seven of 10 units will have a neutral palette, but the others will be bolder or perhaps feature a more feminine design – 55 percent of their guests are female. “My right hand, Julia Mercurio, has an amazing eye for color and pattern which helps us design each property to be aligned with the vibe of the building and of our clients,” says Salenius.
Splurge on touch points
Once a property is secured, there’s typically a 30-day window to create, source and install the project. The company maintains a merchandise warehouse but Salenius and his team shop specifically for each unit – there’s no duplication of furniture. “It’s fantastic for us to have AmericasMart as a resource,” he says. “It would add a minimum of four weeks to our installation time if we couldn’t source like we can. Having showrooms such as Codarus and incredible lines like Resource Décor readily available means we can create extraordinary looks for our spaces.”
Since guests might stay a few nights or a few months, comfort is imperative. People should feel at home – with home including top-of-the-line appliances, toiletries and amenities. While Atlanta Luxury Rentals doesn’t offer daily housekeeping like a hotel, they do provide a Vitamix blender and a fully stocked kitchen on par with what a guest would have at home.
“We splurge on items people will touch and use daily such as linens, glassware, mattresses and sofas,” he says. “High quality towels, linens and kitchen accoutrements ensure our guests have a consistent stay that feels like home.”
Source from trusted partners
One area these properties can shine is high-impact lighting. “We work with lines such as Arteriors and Regina Andrew to ensure the lighting enhances the space,” says Salenius. “Lighting can and should be a focal point. We want to complement the architecture, the furniture and the views.”
In designing for a home, art is often a point of interest and can be a major part of the overall budget. For luxury rental properties, wall décor is critical to the overall aesthetic but can be an area where perceived value is higher than actual cost. “We shop showrooms such as Wendover Art Group and Leftbank Art Co. to find wonderful pieces for our properties with value,” says Salenius. “It’s a huge benefit to us to have relationships with these and other showrooms so we know what we have available and how to budget. For example, Cathryn Miller in Wendover really understands our business which makes my life so much easier.”
Building relationships with both permanent and temporary exhibitors has helped Salenius and his team build their business just as they’ve forged relationships with their guests. The company gained a reputation for luxury design and impeccable service that grows in concert with their design partners and suppliers.
The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market® July
ShowroomsJuly 9 - 15, 2019
TemporariesJuly 10 - 14, 2019
Directions in Design 2020
Drawing inspiration and products from showrooms across ADAC and AmericasMart, Atlanta designers Tish Mills Kirk of Tish Mills Interiors, Katelyn Rountree of Terracotta Design Build, Chris Socci of C. Socci Inc., and Justin Q. Williams of TradeMark Design Co. have each crafted a virtual room that reflects their ideas about current directions in design. With health and wellness as an overarching theme, the designers are providing valuable insights into how we can all live better through a more thoughtful use of space, a focus on simple comforts, and by incorporating healthy products that enhance overall wellness. Follow their directions in design to transform your own space into an oasis and a personal sanctuary.