When virtual decorating app Hutch was given three months to move offices last spring, a unique opportunity presented itself amid the frantic real-estate search: the staff could use their very own decor tool to decorate the new Hutch HQ. Sure, it was designed to help people make over their homes, but who said the app couldn’t be used to design conference rooms and communal spaces, too? CEO and cofounder Beatrice Fischel-Bock ended up signing the lease on an industrial space in Culver City, California, within one week of seeing it.
But rather than full steam ahead, it was hurry up and wait. At the time, there just wasn’t the proper budget for a full redesign, and “I was given very clear instructions that I wasn’t allowed to touch anything until the tech was in a great place,” VP of design and brand Aisling Mittman explains. Finally, when summer arrived, it was go time – they had closed their latest round of funding and the app had been updated.
Beatrice enjoys a leafy corner on the headquarters’ terrace. “It’s really cool to live what you’re selling,” she says of using the Hutch app to transform the office. “I think it was a big shift for everyone who didn’t understand how powerful the tool was.” Blue wire chair by Bend Goods.
Photo: Dustin Walker for Hutch
Although the building checked off both of Beatrice and Aisling’s major requirements – an open floor plan and great natural light – there wasn’t much else to look at when they first saw it. Since it was still under construction, it was essentially just one big, empty space save for some breakout rooms separated by industrial steel-and-glass walls. As luck would have it, Beatrice and Aisling were able to influence a bunch of the last-minute design decisions. “We were able to keep some of the ductwork open and keep the brick unpainted,” says Beatrice. On top of that, they chose to hang big round pendants throughout the space and told the landlord to leave the concrete floors untreated.
Once the office was move-in ready, it was time to play on the Hutch app. “We used the dining room template and living room template to design the conference rooms and living spaces,” says Aisling. (Standard-size dining tables and chairs happened to be the perfect fit.) While using the tool like any other person, Aisling discovered a missing feature she desperately wanted. “We actually just released paint because that was a big thing – we wanted each room it to have its own vibe, so we were picking different paint colors. We did the whole paint-on-the-wall old-school thing, but now we have it on the app,” says Aisling. Beatrice adds, “Nothing gives you clarity like actually doing it yourself.”
Everyone pitched in to pull the space together. “When you work for a furniture and design company, you’ve got to know how to build furniture!” says Beatrice. Here are some of the coolest moments that we are fully preparing to copy . . .
They made a giant art installation less $$$: “Typically, oversized art can be expensive, and we wanted our office to represent our user and fill the space with beautiful yet affordable pieces, so an easy way to achieve this is with a gallery wall,” says Beatrice. “We mixed vintage pieces with new, as well as the frame colors, which gives the wall the most impact.” The fun mint wire chairs in the foreground are from Bend Goods.