Autumn Hachey has built a unique business in the interior design field. A self-trained designer, Hachey is the founder of Stay Here, a business that designs, brands, and markets AirBnB properties for homeowners. Hachey fell into her niche accidentally. After working for several years in digital marketing, Hachey decided to make a career pivot to interior design. She’d helped friends design their homes and the process appealed to her more creative side. A year into her new business, a client asked her to design an AirBnB property and Hachey immediately realized that she could put her marketing skills to use on the assignment. Hachey pitched the client on something more than just traditional design: She would create a brand identity for the property and get the homeowner set up to market it to prospective renters. The client bit, and Stay Here was born. Because of her unique niche, Hachey’s approach to design is a little different than other decorators. Here are Hachey’s House Rules for creating a memorable home:
Establish your North Star.
For Hachey’s AirBnB projects, she imagines the property’s ideal customer on their ideal vacation. “What do they look like? What do they enjoy? What do they spend their time doing?,” she says. “We build the design to speak to that.” Hachey says the quest for the ideal applies to your own home as well. Make a list of all the things you want to be able to do in your home and how you want it to feel: These are the north stars for your design.
Define your personal brand.
Whether you realize it or not: “You have a life aesthetic,” says Hachey—and once you know what it is, it’s easier to make design decisions. If you’re unsure of your interior style, look to the other visual elements of your life–the way you dress, the photos you take, the things you bookmark–all of these are part of your personal aesthetic.
Don’t underestimate the power of repetition.
“Something really simple that people can do to make your space feel intentional is to use repeating elements,” says Hachey. Think: recurring patterns, textures, and materials. “In my current project, we’ve got plaster, velvet, and jute rugs in all the rooms. It just kind of makes it feel like a branded experience,” she says.
Custom elements create a memorable design.
Hachey likes to include a few custom elements in each of her designs. “I want a home to feel like a boutique experience. So in all of our projects, we try to do some custom pieces that feel really out of the ordinary. For example, at The Summer House, instead of doing a traditional dining table, we did three bistro tables to make it feel like a coffee shop.”
Add seasonal texture with pillows and throws.
“A change of season is the best excuse to get more pillows,” jokes Hachey, who says changing your decor helps you celebrate the seasons. “Whenever the fall comes around I whip out all my throw blankets and my cozy pillows. For winter, sheepskin is a great texture to bring in: It just makes a place feel so cozy.”
Use materials to conjure the spirit of a place.
Don’t be afraid to invest in a rental.
While Hachey’s professional work is focussed on vacation properties, her own home base is a rental. “It’s always worthwhile to invest in your home,” says Hachey. “You shouldn’t wait to love your space. If there’s small changes that you can make to make it your own, you should absolutely do it.” She cites painting your cabinets, changing hardware, swapping bathroom mirrors and lighting as “relatively renter-friendly upgrades that can have a dramatic impact on your space.”
Accessories will transform a bathroom.
When confronted with a bathroom she couldn’t renovate, Hachey made over the space with things she could take with her, like a new shower curtain. “A spa-like palette is a good start–think lots of whites in different textures,” says Hachey. “I love all white towels, like the Signature Ivory Towels from Annie Selke. They just feel so much like a spa. I also have a little white side table in my washroom that I use for candles, bath salts, and soaps.”
Create “rooms” in your outdoor space.
“Having different zones is important in your outdoor area. For example, I have a dining zone, a lounging zone and a sunbathing zone,” says Hachey. “It’s pretty small, but by carving out unique spaces, I’ve managed to make it feel spacious.” Hachey demarcated the dining area by painting a stencil on the deck, while the living room is defined by our Pebble Natural Indoor/Outdoor Rug.
There is a science to outdoor accessorizing.
Hachey transformed her apartment’s humble deck by nailing up panels of lattice, which she can take down when she moves. Then she added a layer of styling with accessories. ”I hung string lights from the top, added outdoor pillows to the furniture, and of course, lots of flowers,” she says. “It’s so bright and happy now.”
Think ahead to maintenance—you’ll thank yourself later.
When Hachey decided on a shag rug for her living room, she opted for the microfiber Kodiak rug instead of higher-maintenance wool (she also invested in a high-power vacuum to keep it looking pristine). For her outdoor furniture, Hachey had no space to store the pieces in Canada’s cold winter, so she opted for durable designs that could stay outside all year.
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