I’ve been a design writer for the better part of a decade. Which means that I have toured countless breathtaking spaces appointed with furnishings (vintage Knoll credenzas, Missoni-covered antique settees) and finishes (live-edge walnut bathroom vanities, goatskin-covered walls) that I could only dream of, and interviewed countless interior designers and their big-budget clients, wondering every single time what it would be like to just be rolling in money. Because clearly they are, right? The designers are charging at least a 30% commission on acquired objects, which means that to outfit an entire mansion the size of, say, a rumored 18,000-square-foot Taylor Swift abode in Presidio Heights, that’s a bank-vault full of cash that the designer is pocketing for their insider knowledge on where to buy the coolest shit, sticker price be damned.
But what if that kind of professional intel and expert advice wasn’t sold for a retirement account-draining premium? That’s the quandary that interior design Noa Santos and former Buzzfeed coder Will Nathan set out to solve when they hatched their NYC based home-decor start up, Homepolish, which has recently launched in San Francisco. Their service is simple: Residents seeking design advice, pay an $80 initial consultation fee with a senior designer ($50 for junior designer). Beyond that, their services are billed at just $130 and $100, respectively. Chump change compared to the rates of celebrity million-dollar decorators, and a great deal for start-ups, VC funding notwithstanding. The bulk of Homepolish’s success has come from these baby tech companies; in their first year of business, they designed more than 80 HQs, giving them such trademark comforts of home as fully stocked bars and snack walls, languorous behavior-inducing lounges, and even nap rooms hidden behind bookcases (gawd know what tawdry secret rendezvous happen behind those stacks), like the ones at CodeAcademy. In SF, Homepolish has recently put the finishing touches on the Ripple command post, slathering it in bright blue paint presumably to keep the coders from falling asleep at their desks. Sure, unlimited caffeine access to also works, but a burst of color seems so much better for your health. We’re betting that a well-preserved bank account, even in the wake of a design overhaul, adds years onto your life, too.