The Real Deal Los Angeles

Here’s what rich do with their homes after they make it big

According to a top interior designer

August 23, 2016 12:00PM
By Business Insider

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Inside the Sweetgreen cofounders' home.(credit: Claire )Esparros/Homepolish

Inside the Sweetgreen cofounders’ home.(credit: Claire )Esparros/Homepolish

From the New York website: Having a home that accurately reflects your interests is well worth the investment. That’s why many of those who find financial success end up using their newfound wealth to spruce up their homes. But what do these homes actually look like?

Interior designer Noa Santos has worked with plenty of entrepreneurs through Homepolish, the design startup he cofounded in 2013. Earlier this year, he helped Sweetgreen cofounders Jon Neman and Nathaniel Ru create their dream loft, and he’s also worked with Marissa Vosper of Negative Underwear and Danielle and Jodie Snyder of Dannijo.

Santos shared some of the biggest trends he’s seeing in the homes of newly rich people these days.

A Reid chaise available for $6,700 to $9,500 on Design Within Reach.Design Within Reach

A Reid chaise available for $6,700 to $9,500 on Design Within Reach.Design Within Reach

They make upgrades
In general, many successful entrepreneurs are looking to finally upgrade some of the more basic pieces they already own. Buying a nice sofa is one great example of that.

“Even small upgrades like going from foam to down is something people wait to do,” Santos said. “They’ll go for nice kitchenware, like pieces from Le Creuset.”

He added with a laugh: “Hopefully one day I’ll strike it rich — that’s where I’d buy my cooking pots.”

They view furniture as an investment piece
“Entrepreneurs are business-savvy. They like the idea of buying something nice, but also something that will last,” Santos said. “We see a lot of people who are finally getting to invest in pieces that they want to take with them.”

To help his clients find one-of-a-kind pieces, Santos often turns to 1stdibs, an online marketplace filled with antique and contemporary items. The site sells everything from $50 floor tiles to $50,000 chairs.

erman Miller's Eames chair, available for $5,000 to $6,000 on Design Within Reach.DWR

erman Miller’s Eames chair, available for $5,000 to $6,000 on Design Within Reach.DWR

They buy bucket list items
But some might instead go for classic pieces that are valuable investments mostly because they have been so popular over time.

The Eames chair, for example, was released in 1956 by the furniture company Herman Miller, and continues to be an icon of interior design. It’s a piece that Santos commonly sees people invest in once they strike it rich.

They entertain more
Once you have the funds to create your dream home, you’re going to want to show it off. Santos said that the bar cart has become a huge trend across the homes he works on.

“If people feel more empowered to decorate their home, they’ll be more inclined to bring people into their home, than they are, say, to bring them to a restaurant, which we really love. It breaks the barrier a bit and makes the conversation a little easier,” Santos said. “I like to think design all the way through to what bottles you keep on a bar cart — I love D’Ussé XO bottles on a bar cart, and St-Germain bottles.”

As for glassware, he names Riedel and Spiegelau as his favorites.

They buy local
Somewhat unsurprisingly, people who have gone through the experience of starting a business from scratch enjoy buying wares from other small businesses.

“A theme we’re seeing entrepreneurs embrace — whether it’s in their office or in their homes — is that they like to support local businesses,” Santos said.

When he’s looking for unique pieces to show to his clients, Santos enjoys scouring local shops, like lighting studio Apparatus, which Santos says has “amazing fixtures.”

Inside the Sweetgreen cofounders' home.(credit: Claire )Esparros/Homepolish

Inside the Sweetgreen cofounders’ home.(credit: Claire )Esparros/Homepolish

They value experience over things
Santos said that his clients are very interested in having their homes tell a story about their lives. They enjoy displaying things they’ve acquired in their travels, for example.

“One thing that’s amazing about our generation is that people are focusing on experiences rather than ownership. Home is a place to do things, not just to be,” he said. “People are focusing on items they should have in their home to start a conversation, or to make an existing conversation richer.”

They appreciate art
Santos said that young entrepreneurs are also developing a new desire to collect and learn about art. Online galleries and auctions like Uprise Art and Paddle8 are contributing to the groundswell toward the arts.

“They’re really making the art auction world accessible — it’s a much younger vibe than going to Christie’s,” he said.