These 3 hospitality projects — an Airbnb, a rental property, and home for sale — have it all. Modern updates. A welcoming vibe. Just the right touch of fun.
Though designing future listings is slightly different from designing for specific homeowners, the approach is the same: pairing thoughtful strategy with creativity. Whether you’re already a color fanatic (like we are) or thinking of dipping your toes into more vibrant design, these 3 projects are sure to inspire…
1. The House on Joy Street: The One That Started It All
My husband and I purchased our very first home in Bernal Heights in 2006. Let’s just say, memories. At the time, I was juggling a job at a law firm while dipping my toes into the world of interior design on the side. Oh, how far we’ve come in 17 years, right?
Built back in 1999, this beauty greeted us with a whopping 38-step entry… and keep in mind that this was before grocery delivery. Despite the daily workout, living on Joy Street marked the exciting start of our new chapter and, of course, became the inspiration for Joy Street Design — a constant reminder to infuse joy into everything we do.
At first, a few tweaks like custom shelving and fresh paint did the trick. But as time went on and we transformed this home into a rental, the signs of wear became more evident. Fortunately, this home had good bones. We were able to keep the layout intact and brighten things up by giving those dated ‘90s finishes an upgrade. Say hello to a vibrant teal backsplash! (You know I had to sneak in a JSD signature pop of color.)
We took things up a notch by extending the cabinets to the ceiling to maximize storage and create the illusion of extra height. Then, it was out with the second sink, in with the reimagined island that now boasts comfy seating. The real jaw-dropper is the custom range with a sleek white oak hood. That’s right — we were doing it before it was cool.
Picture this: a family room with natural light dancing on those pristine white walls and open shelving. The perfect blank canvas, just waiting for some personalization. We gathered soothing neutrals and infused bold pops of color, creating an energizing atmosphere that screams, “welcome home.”
And surprise — my bridge obsession strikes again. I couldn't resist artwork of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge. Our renters seemed to like them, too, so there you go.
While the original bathrooms (not shown) worked well, we had a vision to modernize this entire home. Again, good construction allowed us to do so without needing to tear down walls or tack on an addition. You don’t always need to ADD a bathroom either. Sometimes, you’ll increase ROI more by improving the ones you already have.
In the guest bathroom (shown above-left), we repositioned the door for better accessibility from the guest bedrooms. The previous tub location got a one-way ticket to the back wall, where we installed a more modern model. In the primary bathroom (shown above-right), we opted for a sleek standing shower with trendy black hardware and vibrant tile in two fun shapes. Fireclay tile never disappoints.
In clients’ homes, their bedrooms tend to be the last thing they focus on. In rental or sale properties, however, bedrooms sell homes. They're where guests stay, work gets done, and families grow. When renovating, we always suggest investing wisely for maximum value. This former loft became a stunning bedroom with an added wall and new closet. And what do you know — the property value skyrocketed.
Safe to say, the house on Joy Street marked the beginning of my interior design career, and the projects that followed pushed our creativity to new heights.
2. West Street: A 1920s Duplex Remodel in Oakland
Welcome to West Street, where this 1920s duplex received a much-needed makeover. Let’s be honest, the original exterior was a bit of a snooze fest with that dated white paint, faded eaves, and old-school doors and windows. But hey, we live for a good renovation challenge.
When our clients decided to renovate both units, we saw an opportunity to turn 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 flexible workspaces, kitchens, and entertainment areas into Joy Street-worthy spaces that would leave any buyer mesmerized. And guess what? Mission accomplished. The duplex sold for $1.9M, sailing way above asking price.
With identical floor plans for both units, we unleashed our creativity and made impactful changes. Walls vanished, giving way to open-concept layouts that welcomed abundant natural light and improved circulation. Those dull kitchens received a much-needed facelift, boasting green and navy cabinets while keeping the buyer-favorite white backsplash.
The crowning jewel? Functional islands, which every buyer seems to want these days. Now, these spaces feel revitalized and modern without being boring.
Architectural detailing is a rare gem these days, so we embraced it. We kept the interior moldings, trim, and baseboards intact and painted the place white for a modern feel. Yup, we used white. (When it comes to listing, you have to do what “the people” want.) Not to be stifled, we used our creative freedom to infuse modern light fixtures, vibrant art, and stylish accessories into the home for a fun, contemporary vibe.
NOTE: When it comes to any resale, we face the challenge of appealing to future inhabitants without knowing their exact tastes. While we're not afraid to get resourceful with materiality, color, and art, we never, EVER opt for low-quality materials. I know it may seem like shortcuts are appropriate to this type of design, but trust me, it doesn’t pay off. Low-quality materials will always reflect in the listing price.
That’s also why we said “hall no” to boring hallways in the back. Instead, we transformed them into versatile workspaces with sleek black and white terrazzo flooring, completed with contemporary furniture. But that's not all. Take the full tour here to see how we put a twist on the bedrooms and bathrooms for each unit.
3. Mammoth Lakes: From Renovation to Luxury Airbnb
Mammoth Lakes, where mountain landscapes meet the comfort of home. When our clients wanted their vacation home to blend family living and rental potential seamlessly, we grabbed our winter gear and filled up our gas tanks.
The structure of this home is art unto itself. With a touch of luxury in mind, we curated warm and cool wood tones for the walls, floors, stairwell, and beautiful beams throughout the interiors. Though fairly neutral (reflecting the natural feel of the area), we chose classic finishes for durability and comfort. No more lackluster stays on our watch.
I’ll keep it real, the original living area was a mess — dark, cramped, and chaotic, all thanks to an ill-placed sleeper sofa. No longer. We repositioned the sectional to ground the space around the fireplace. And what a fireplace it is. We put work into crafting a sleek and modern concrete masterpiece that adds a cozy touch, perfect for unwinding après ski.
In the kitchen, we said goodbye to an obstructive peninsula and hello to an open, spacious oasis for renters and family alike. Although we used muted tones to embrace nature’s beauty and colors, funky shapes and creative lighting still give it the JSD vibe.
Durability is our secret weapon, but for this rental in particular, we were extra mindful of our client’s investment. We selected IKEA cabinets for practicality and splurged on luxurious bedrooms. Why? Because guests won’t look twice at cabinet quality but will always, always remember a bad night’s sleep.
Speaking of those bedrooms, here they are. We splurged on the mattress, bed frame, soft pillows, bedding, and delightful area rugs. lThrough the simplicity of materials — white walls, black accent lighting and furniture, white linens, and natural textures — each space feels soothing. Exactly what someone is looking for in their mountain getaway.
And guess what? All of the sheets and linens used throughout this Mammoth Lakes condo are the highest quality luxury from our upcoming new collection, Joy Street Home. (More exciting details coming so soon.)
Well, that makes 3, so I’ll wrap it up here. I hope these serve to inspire you, show you a different way of looking at your home (or hospitality project), and lead you forward, wherever that may be.
As always, if you’re embarking on a renovation in the near future, we’re here and ready to make it happen for you.