Denver’s innovative Havenly website has taken off, thanks to its easy, fast and inexpensive decorating advice
When Marisa Frackman’s family left New York City for one of its suburbs, the notion of decorating their sprawling new colonial seemed daunting. Not only was Frackman pregnant at the time, but she was unsure how to tackle the new home’s bigger spaces and didn’t have the time or energy to work with a traditional interior decorator. “I needed a kid-friendly living room, but I still wanted it to look polished and put-together,” she says.
So she reached out to Havenly, a Denver-based online interior design firm where prices for personalized advice start at $79 per room. The result was so satisfying that she asked Havenly to decorate three more rooms.
Then Frackman’s husband was transferred to Denver, where their narrow Capitol Hill house had a very different layout from their New York home, so Frackman called Havenly again to help her incorporate the old ideas into the new space. “It’s a stressful process, but having someone who can take your feedback and conceptualize that and put it into a rendering that you can see—someone who understands what you are saying—was great,” Frackman says.
Founded two and a half years ago, Havenly is the brainchild of sisters Lee Mayer and Emily Motayed. When Mayer moved from a micro New York apartment to a full house in Denver, she had no clue how to decorate the large space, but couldn’t afford a regular interior designer. It was a lightbulb moment, and Havenly was born. Already, the RiNo-based company has 35 employees.
Here’s how Havenly works: First, a client takes a survey to pinpoint her (or his) style—whether modern, classic or eclectic, as well as favorite stores. Then she is matched with a narrowed-down list of Havenly designers (many of the company’s 200 designers, who are based across the country, are new to the field and looking to build their portfolios), finally making a selection based on the designers’ lookbooks and philosophies. Next, the client sends in photos of the space and existing furniture and accessories, as well as facts like budget and room dimensions, and the designer then puts together a room that meets the client’s needs, budget and style preferences. There is continued online back and forth until the client is happy; if the client is not satisfied, a rare occurrence, he or she can choose a different designer and start over.
Ultimately, the client receives several 2-D renderings of the final space, along with suggestions for accessories and pieces of furniture from more than 200 vendors. Clients can order those pieces directly through the designer, for no added cost. Havenly handles shipping and returns, if something doesn’t work, says Scott Trevathan, Havenly’s senior vice president for marketing. “If you have 10 different items from 10 different stores, you can buy it all in one cart, like a white glove service,” he adds.
Pricing varies, depending on the level of service you are looking for, including a “mini” package: $79 for a small revamp (two or three design ideas) of an existing space, and a $199 “full design” of a room (which includes a $50 merchandise credit). Users can also browse the Havenly blog for designer spotlights, trends and other inspiration.
“Most think working with an interior designer is something only rich people can do,” Trevathan says. “We like to think of ourselves as your best friend, holding your hand through the process and making it easy, fun and not intimidating.”
Online interior design service, offering ideas, inspiration, renderings, product information and more; prices range from $79 to $199.