September 12, 2022
The typical showroom experience – where designers drop in, take a look at a product, chat with their rep and head back to the studio – has been disrupted. Stay Bungalow is a fully-equipped home in Austin, Tex. that is opening its doors to residential design professionals for immersive, 48-hour overnight stays that facilitate hands-on interaction with every facet of the luxury home environment.
Barrett Morgan, founder and CEO, developed the Stay Bungalow concept as a series of one-of-a-kind residential bungalows showcasing the world’s premier home design and lifestyle brands. Beginning with the debut Austin property, the team is creating a series of modern residential show homes located in cities across the nation that are rich in art, architecture, and culture. These will serve as creative hubs for organic brand and product exploration. Each home is unique and built the way it was intended to be enjoyed; the product of a different design team with complete creative freedom to collaborate and shape their collective vision from architecture to interiors.
Prioritizing Designers’ Experience IRL
“The motivation behind Stay Bungalow is to spark creativity within our industry by bridging the physical and digital environments so that we can forge deeper connections between brands and trade professionals over time,” Morgan tells KBB. “To set the tone for the entire experience, we provided a blank canvas so that our partners could design the home without client feedback or outside design bias. Trade professionals are now being invited to a complimentary, private, two-night stay so that they can escape their day-to-day life and explore a city, a neighborhood and a home that was expressly designed to unleash their creativity.”
Kristin Darnell, regional marketing manager for Sub-Zero Group South Central, explains the appeal for the appliance manufacturer, which is a featured brand at the house. “Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove were drawn to the Stay Bungalow project because of its innovative approach to experiencing the brands in a personal and interactive way. We hope visitors will gain a deeper understanding of our products and are excited for trade professionals to see how the brands can enhance and elevate their projects.”
“As a design firm specializing in custom kitchen architecture, cabinetry and millwork, we are attracted to original ideas and innovative concepts that enhance the way people experience our designs,” Doug Durbin, lead designer of nuHaus told KBB. “Stay Bungalow’s concept affords our peers and consumers the opportunity to organically engage with our work in ways they were intended to be experienced. Living within our designs for 48 hours allows them time to naturally settle into the environment, engage and interact with the function and details, all while gaining further information and insight through the Stay Bungalow app. When the details of any design can be experienced at multiple levels over time, we feel like there will be a deeper understanding of our work, and that’s a win for everyone.”
The Digital Dimension
A key part of the Stay Bungalow experience is a mobile application that will serve as visitors’ personal guide to exploring the home, the technology bridging the physical and digital environments to forge a deeper connection to the products they care about most. Whether locating mattress details after a restful sleep or cooking with the guidance of a Sub-Zero chef during a night in, the app facilitates discovery with easy-to-find information that can be saved for convenient reference.
“It is important to us that our invited members are given the time to organically explore, connect and learn about brands in a non-invasive way, and then share that experience with others,” said Morgan. “Our curated in-home experiences allow for engagement to happen naturally, and our mobile app enables our guests to learn more about the products they love while adding them to their digital libraries for future use.”
Architect: LaRue Architects
A select list of Stay Bungalow brand participants includes:
Apex Wood Floors
House of ROHL
Perrin & Rowe
Sub-Zero, Wolf, Cove
Victoria + Albert