When Beatrice Fischel-Bock moved into a 1930s West Hollywood Spanish-style bungalow with friend and fellow entrepreneur Lizzie Grover they commingled their collections of hot pink and white home decor and got straight to the business of fundraising for their first start-up.
The two were co-founders of Hutch, a digital design app that helps take some of the guess work (and potential for buyers' remorse) out of decorating your home. Users upload a picture of the room they'd like to make over, and 3-D technology removes all the furnishings, but retains the room's dimensions and appearance.
Then, the fun begins.
Users can click to add thousands of furnishings and accessories from the likes of Anthropologie, All Modern and Kate Spade New York — which can be purchased through the app, of course, for an online shopping experience enhanced with a high-tech injection of augmented reality. (Hutch makes money by partnering with vendors on the site, and a cut of sales.)
And yes, it's as addictive as you might imagine.
Two years later, Hutch has acquired foundation capital from venture capitalists like Tinder co-founder Sean Rad, and attracted additional co-founders even as Hutch's functionality continues to evolve.
What hadn't changed was the hot pink and white decor in the home that Fischel-Bock, 26, and Grover, 27, still share.
It was time to adult-ify the bungalow.
It was also the perfect opportunity for the bicoastal entrepreneur who was recently named to Forbes' list of 30 Under 30 retail and e-commerce professionals to put her app to the test.
The transformation from girly and glam to grown-up and cleverly curated took the tech maven just over a week, which is not surprising considering this high-octane personality made her first million before college graduation. "I travel a lot," said Fischel-Bock, who racks up frequent-flyer miles for work and also to see her husband, who is completing a medical residency on the East Coast, so when the opportunity to spend an uninterrupted week in West Hollywood presented itself, she got to work.
Here, she tells us how she took the formerly Barbie-inspired bungalow from hot pink and dated to contemporary California cool with an earthy palette and eclectic styling that is sophisticated without being stuffy.
"Going neutral doesn't mean boring," Fischel-Bock said, referring to a common misconception that equates serious style with an absence of color or whimsy. "A lot of people think, 'OK, we have to go neutral,' so they just buy all beige and everything matches."
"I think this is neutral," said Fischel-Bock of the updated living room space awash in an organic-inspired palette of white, cream and sand with accents of ebony, rose and natural greenery. "It's neutral with a lot of interesting elements," she said referencing the vintage fireplace tile, coved ceilings, tactile fabrics and textured accessories, "so it feels adult in the fact that yes, it's not hot pink anymore, but it doesn't mean just going bland."
The finished space is a mix of old and new, high-end and low.
A vintage painting shares the mantle in soulful harmony with a new framed print by Society 6. "Because we're mixing it," said Fischel-Bock, "it doesn't feel like it's off the internet."
The hammered metal coffee table is from World Market. "I was playing with a similar piece on the app," said the designer, "and I realized, oh, I have that outside so I brought it in and cleaned it up."
Dressing up a space
Dressing up a space
Something that hasn't changed is their genius use of annexing an odd space off the living room to create the kind of walk-in closet most of us only dream about.
Instead of allowing the unincorporated square footage to become just another clutter catcher, or the resting place of dusty gym equipment, they painted the space white and added garment racks, floating shelves, a dresser, large mirror, draperies and an ottoman. It's a glamorous little piece of unexpected heaven. "My mom thinks it's like a dream girl home because we live so well together and we have the clothes and jewelry and makeup all mixed together."
Appetite for design
The dining room design was inspired by a trip Fischel-Bock took to Tulum, Mexico, last year. "I was wowed that every little place was well done. Even if you're just at a shack on the side of the road, it was well designed and aesthetically pleasing… so that's kind of the look I was going for here."
She chose a round table, rattan pendant light from World Market, organic elements, colorful art and a slim console table from CB2 to appoint what she called "awkward" space.
In her tiny bedroom, Fischel-Bock knew she wanted to create a "gallery wall" above her headboard using a creative, curated assortment of artistically arranged framed prints by Society 6, vintage paintings, drawings and sculptural 3-D elements.
The effect adds color, texture, warmth and personality. "I think you over-fill for a small space, because it makes it feel bigger."
Shopping via Hutch, she achieved a soft, feminine look choosing West Elm drapes, and Parachute bedding and swiped right on a new headboard, mirror and nightstand. "I love light pink," said Fischel-Bock of her barely blush colored bedding, "I didn't want it in the rest of the house, so I kept it in here but I made it a little more adult."
It looks like the bungalow's home decor has finally caught up with the sophisticated style of the grown-up on the fast track.
Hutch co-founder's 4 tips for designing your space
1.) "Stay neutral on the big pieces," so you can change up the rest of the decor, Fischel-Bock said. "If you have neutrals you can refresh by season or trend… switch things out and try a new color palette or rug."
3.) "Have a plan. Don't make any purchases without thinking it all the way through."
4.) Set a budget and know your priorities. "A lot of people think, 'Well, I need a new couch so all my money is going for a huge sectional,' which they don't actually need in the space, it may look more lively without that." Figure out what your objective is, not just what you think you need.
More apps to try
If you like Hutch, here are a few of the many apps out there that take decorating one step further using augmented reality. Snap a photo, then play around with furnishings, paint colors and decor for the space. Does that chair go with your sofa? These apps aim to help answer that way before it gets delivered to your door.
Eerily life-like. This app scans your floor to create a scalable floor plan, then allows users to drop in Ikea furnishings and accessories and tap the screen to position in place. Shoppers will need iOS 11 or higher to play, er, use.
Houzz has added augmented reality to its shopping section for selected items. When you see a product listed with a green 3-D tag, select the product and the phone app guides you through the process of seeing the item in your space. Want to see how that pillow would look on your couch? Just take a snap. Mind. Blown.
At Wayfair.com, go to the More Ways to Shop Section and select View in Room 3D. It will take you to the products that are available for viewing in your space, including window treatments, door knobs, drawer pulls and even a farmhouse sink. If you like the 3-D image you create, you can save it and send it to friends for thumbs up, or down. Users will need iOS 11 or higher.
Online luxury retailer 1st Dibs specializing in antiques, design, fine art and collectibles offers the View in Room feature on selected items on its website and mobile platform. Want to see how that $34,000 Kazuko Inoue painting looks over your bed? Load the 1st Dibs app onto your phone and tap away. It might be the closest it gets to gracing that wall.