Denver-based 'Havenly' provides all-online interior design for just $79

Startup matches young designers to small projects

DENVER - You know that room in your house you just don't know how to decorate, and the thought of a home designer seems like a thousand bucks away? 

A Denver-based startup says they have the solution, starting at just $79.

Denver7 is profiling innovative Colorado Companies, and Havenly calls itself 'The easiest way to decorate your home.'

"This is a new house that I just moved into last summer," said Eunice Park, giving us a tour of her Capitol Hill home. "This is our family room. The only piece of furniture that I had was this sofa."

Park said her open-concept family room definitely had plenty of space, but not much style.

"I know what I like," said Park. "But I think putting it all together and making it cohesive is something that a lot of people could use help with."

So while searching online for designers, she found something different: Havenly, a startup promising beautiful interior design, all online, starting from $79 (per room).

So, Park uploaded photos of her family room, chatted online with her designer about her style and desires and got two different concept boards for her space. 

The more comprehensive package is priced at $199, which gave her room renderings to show her exactly what the design would look like in her room.

Then, she could shop for whatever she wanted through the Havenly site.

"It is one-stop shopping," said Park. "I want this, this, this, and I don't have to go to 20 different sites to buy it."

In the Havenly office just outside downtown Denver, staff is working hard to get the word out.

"What we always say is 'Everyone deserves a beautiful home,'" said Lee Mayer, the Havenly CEO, whose inspiration came from her move to the Mile High City.  "I remember sitting on the floor of my empty living room, hunched over a laptop trying to figure out what sofa I wanted, thinking there has got to be a better way."

So, when Mayer heard a friend who was a designer complaining about not being able to get work, the light bulb went off.

"We can connect people looking for more affordable design with young designers looking to build their portfolios," said Mayer.

Havenly then profits from commission with more than 170 decor and furniture vendors partnering with the company, including Pottery Barn, Room & Board and other popular stores.

"That's the beauty of e-design," said Shelby Girard, Havenly's director of design. "Technology allows designers to do more in a shorter amount of time."

Girard said for quality control, the designers are vetted, trained and all of their work is checked.

Speaking to that success, the company has gone from four employees this time last year to 28, and Mayer said it has been doubling customers every two months.

She said the site might not be a good fit for people looking for high-end, custom built-ins or major renovation projects, but it may disrupt the way people buy furniture and home decor.

"Oh my Gosh, I love it," said Eunice Park, looking at her newly-designed family room. "I really wanted something that was going to be colorful, fun, but comfortable, and she figured it out perfect."

Park's design came in on time and under budget, and she already has her next project planned: the landing where her kids read.

"They make the space feel like a reflection of you without having to break the bank," she said.

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