The Rise of Kitschy, Theme Vacation Rentals | Architectural Summary

Themed rooms are a bit varied these days, ranging from a tasteful flamingo print wall and chic tufted sofa to full-blown pink fur. It kind of depends on how important words like “luxury” and “modern” are to you. As Margaret and Corey worked with the owners of the house, they had to balance their appetite for kitsch with what the owners thought was more palatable. Although Margaret insisted that one wall of fur would not be enough, she compromised on other aspects, such as toning down the plants in the green “jungle” room.

“We would call it entry level when it comes to themed rooms [and sought] to find something that’s themed but not too aggressive,” says Margaret. “We would think of some of our friends or family members who might be a little less interested in themes, who want things to feel clean and modern. What would they say if they stayed here?

The Green Room was Margaret and Corey’s toned down interpretation of the jungle theme common in honeymoon hotels.

Photo: Visiting a pretty cool hotel/Margaret Bienert

“There were a few times when I maybe wanted more plants, and [the owners] would be like, “Well, I don’t want them punching me in the face when I walk in,” and I’d be like, “OK, are you sure?” Margaret laughs.

Photo: Visiting a pretty cool hotel/Margaret Bienert

Grandpa’s Pool House leans a step further into the good times of a retro maximalist, with Astroturf, models wearing wigs, brown ’70s bathrooms, and lots of pool floats. You can put on one of the wedding dresses purchased by Goodwill and jump into the pool. Similar to Margaret and Corey with The Rainbow Getaway and Haley’s Pastel Penthouse, Eva entered her project with no construction experience but with a very clear vision of escape and fun. She listened to podcasts and YouTube videos, but most home improvement and vacation rental advice doesn’t apply when you’re talking about fur on the walls and motorcycles in the basement.

“It was like, ‘Don’t save too much bullshit or it’ll be taken.’ I have shit everywhere,” Eva recalls. “Or like white towels, white sheets, you just want it simple, clean. It’s recommended. I realize it’s not the path I take.

Ironically, these nostalgic escapades wouldn’t really be possible without the internet and social media. Before YouTube, where else did you learn how to cover the walls in a room with pink fur? Apps like Peerspace and platforms like Instagram are spreading the word to every fashion photographer or ladies group looking for a destination for a bachelorette party. “I didn’t need any other third parties to help me market it or spread the word,” says Eva. “Social media has done all this work for me.”

The Rainbow Getaway daisy bedroom was inspired by a pattern found on Society6, one of Margaret and Corey’s sponsors. “I don’t think we’ve done anything with yellow before,” Margaret told Clever of working with the homeowner’s desire for a yellow bedroom. “It was just kind of a way to find a way to make it work.”

Photo: Visiting a pretty cool hotel/Margaret Bienert

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