The Story of Fülhaus
Founded in 2015, Fülhaus is a new type of interior design company for the short term rental (STR) industry. They offer a “Haus-in-a-box” solution that includes every interior item a vacation rental needs as well as installation and photography. Their first client, Sonder, quickly picked up the products featured on the original e-commerce store. In its first year, Fülhaus designed and furnished over 300 STR apartments. With a catalog of clients spanning from Montreal to Malta, Fülhaus’ six signature styles offer a simplified way for clients to use vacation rental interior design to increase satisfaction and revenue.
Interview With the Fülhaus CEO, Andria Santos
Tell the story of how Fülhaus was founded.
My family was always very real estate oriented – we built every home we ever lived in. Design and architecture were ever-present elements growing up, and I was lucky to participate in design from an early age. I used to design lamps as a child and even broke into my Father’s power tools to build my own designs. While I loved my first career in Law, I seized the opportunity to start Fülhaus to satisfy my passion for design.
At the humble beginnings of Fülhaus, we sold curated vintage goods from the heyday of Montreal – Expo 67, titled “Man and his World” and the ‘76 Olympics. The site caught on very quickly in light of the trend towards mid-century modern furniture. With a fun little side-business growing, I originally applied for a position at Sonder back before it was Sonder. I turned down the job and instead offered the founders the option to furnish their units through Fülhaus. We went on to furnish many of Sonder’s units over the coming years in Montreal. We quickly realized the growing need for good vacation rental interior design at a reasonable budget, delivered and installed quickly.
With over a hundred units under our belt and other STR operators calling, I quit my day job. We proceeded to build Fülhaus into just that, Good Design Every Stay.
How did you come to develop the Haus-In-a-Box solution for vacation rental interior design?
After designing over 100 STR’s we started to see repetition. We were constantly sourcing the same amount of decor and furniture items for around the same price. We knew we could simplify this process and save ourselves and our clients time and money. Enter Haus-in-a-Box; we have simplified the STR design process to the click of a button on Fulhaus.com
We currently offer six signature styles that we constantly update to stay fresh and on-trend. Even though we have six standard styles, no two Haus-in-a-Boxes are ever exactly alike!
What are the important design features for the vacation rental market that differ from traditional homes?
Designing for the short-term rental market can be tricky. We definitely have to consider the high traffic of the space while still maintaining “Instagrammable”, functional designs. When designing short-term rentals, we try to avoid white (except in linens where it’s important to use bleach). Jeans and other materials tend to rub off and age the furniture much quicker. Faux fur and synthetics are not easily washable either so it’s always something to think about. We are also at the mercy of the original layout. We can’t easily or affordably knock down walls and move things around to better suit our needs.
What are some of the favorite vacation rental projects you have participated in? Can you share a few and describe what you loved about the project?
We honestly enjoy every project/client we have. Recently we completed a second project with an existing client, Maisons & Co’s Maison Ste Thérèse. Situated in the old port of Montreal, this historic building is a fusion of old world meets new world.
Another great project was Dallas with Vacasa. The interiors of the units had such great bones; we wanted to compliment the spaces.
What are some of the best places to shop for vacation rental furniture and design objects?
www.fulhaus.com, the leading website in short term rental furnishings of course!
Are there any must-have pieces that every vacation rental needs?
Storage and modular furniture! It’s super important to accommodate guests with their luggage and storage needs. Depending on the units themselves, there’s not always a lot of closet space. Modular furniture is also great for clients and guests. We can easily increase occupancy by adding in a well-designed sofa convertible.
What is included in the Haus-in-a-Box product? How has the vacation rental industry reacted to this offering?
Every Haus-in-a-Box comes with the options of Fül-service: delivery, installation, staging, and pro-photos. These high-quality photos increase listing ranking as well as revenues. Clients don’t even need to step into the units, and they rely on us to deliver quality, volume, and speed. In just three weeks, we are able to deliver and install all of our Haus-in-a-Box packages. Our clients can buy any Haus-in-a-Box with Fül-Service on our easy to use e-commerce site.
We also offer a customized Haus-in-a-Box for the Client who wants to create their own branded aesthetic. This service includes an initial call with one of our designers to discuss branding, pipeline, and their target demographic. We use this to design a custom Haus-in-a-Box that the client reviews twice for revisions.
How has the Shoppable Stays offering work?
Our goal is to deliver the Haus-in-a-Box everywhere in the world, and then, make it all shoppable to the guest! We’ve seen the notion of Slow Shopping happen across retailers as they encourage shoppers not just to come in for the item on their shopping list. For instance, you can now read a book in Club Monaco’s library, get a treatment at Origins, or take a yoga class at Lululemon. At Fülhaus, we’re slowing shopping all the way down to a stay. With the launch of Shoppable Stays, our vision is to become the world’s leading stay-commerce experience, the ability to shop an item in your stay.
Is there anything else you’d like the VRM Insider audience to know about Fülhaus?
We are currently introducing our Fül-Scale membership this year!
Available only to operators with more than 50 units under their management, this new offering will enable our Fül-Scale members to grow their operations quicker and at decreasing rates as they onboard more units. Moreover, at the end of the term, Fülhaus will come in and re-install a brand new Haus-in-a-Box for no additional fee. Our goal is to donate all used furniture to charitable organizations.