To most people, the idea of a bunch of TikTok influencers traipsing through a multimillion-dollar mansion creating viral content might sound like a nightmare.
The project is the brainchild of listing agent Rochelle Maize of Nourmand & Associates. The inspired idea was a good fit for the unusual residence, which she’s dubbed Hype House West. (As it happens, this spin on the Hype House concept is not affiliated with the original Hype House—a well-publicized SoCal mansion where TikTokers congregate to create content.)
On the market for $5.3 million, the quirky, artist-owned abode in Santa Monica had sat unloved on the market for months. It was initially listed last summer for $5.8 million, and the price was cut last fall to $5.5 million.
It was purchased in 2006 for $2.8 million by Julie Stevens, an artist and founder of the drink company BeTini. The customized space reflected her particular vision, but it didn’t translate to a wide group of buyers.
Now, the home is back on the market, with a new price point and a marketing strategy driven by social media.
The idea is to make the most of the home’s abundant potential.
Maize was especially excited when she spotted the basement, which includes a recording studio, craft room, secret room, and upward of 800 square feet of what she calls “creative space.”
“There’s so many things you could do there,” she says. “She had a kiln, glasswork, every type of art studio. Kids would love this. There are so many ways to make this fun.”
The agent tells us she often comes in to diagnose the problems of a house that isn’t selling. In this case, she determined that the home needed to be cleared of personal items, repainted, and staged. In addition, she also prescribed a hefty dose of TikTok.
For those who are not in the demographic associated with the app (and 62% of its audience are between the ages of 10 and 29), let this Gen Xer try to explain.
The app lets users share and create short videos (it helps if you can dance). As Maize figured, it’s a major source of eyeballs and bills itself as a place to foster creativity.
TikTok is best known for fun snippets of entertainment. Sea shanties! Dance moves! General silliness! Some are well-executed, others less so. It’s all addictive to scroll through.
The app had a new wave of users join during the pandemic, which fueled its growth.
“TikTok really took off much more in the last year,” Maize says. “Influencers became bigger, they got sponsorship deals and brought a lot of eyes on that.”
The app, which arrived in the United States in 2017, has some 100 million U.S. users, and 700 million worldwide.
In other words, if you haven’t been consuming or generating TikTok content yet, you probably soon will be.
Maize was aware of the original Hype House in L.A., where social media influencers live and create content. She’s invited TikTok stars to apply to her spin on the concept in this home in April.
So why would the home appeal to TikTok stars? The place has all kinds of cool spaces, indoors and out, such as the enormous outfitted basement, and an outdoor two-story slide and pool. But first, it needed to be transformed into a creative canvas for filming.
The homeowner signed on to the plan with enthusiasm.
“The home is a fun, creative space that my family and I used to create art and music and to get inspired. It only makes sense for it to be used by influencers who are also artists,” Stevens says.
She pointed to some of the unique elements she built in to the house, including the “floor-to-ceiling tree with green onyx leaves in my daughters’ room that functioned as shelving for her pet geckos, fish and poison dart frogs, to my son’s skateboard-themed room with a life-size skateboard bed.”
The six-bedroom, nine-bathroom layout features such eye-catching elements as a fish tank built into the bathroom, custom maple cabinetry in the living room, and a curved glass staircase. The office contains built-in desks and shelves.
Other spaces include a family room, a state-of-the-art kitchen, and a breakfast room overlooking the backyard, along with a spacious, sun-filled living and dining room. High-end spaces include a media room and a gym.
The top floor offers five custom en suite bedrooms, including the master suite, with a spalike bath and sitting room. Outdoors, there’s a kitchen and bar, a pool with an automated solar cover, and the photogenic sundeck with the water slide.
Setting the stage
Maize then brought in the staging company Vesta to outfit the 6,321-square-foot luxury property.
In addition to filling the spaces with modern, on-trend furnishings and decor, the team got the house influencer-ready by setting up spaces in the house to inspire video content.
The lower-level arrangements include a podcast and video production area, a decked-out game room with a vintage Pac-Man machine, and a music studio with instruments. Outside, the team filled the pool with FunBoy floats.
Needless to say, staging a house to cater to TikTok types was a highly unusual request for the interior designers.
“Vesta’s typical client has a very different set of needs than a TikTok influencer,” says Julian Buckner, the company’s CEO. “That’s why we chose this project. Not only was it fun and challenging, but also an amazing opportunity to showcase our ethos as a design firm.”
He adds that the home can be purchased completely furnished. Stay tuned to see if this social strategy winds up spurring a sale.
Here’s how the house looks on TikTok right now:
This is your sign to make yourself a hype video for dating. #hypehousewest @rochellemaizeluxury @danielsaywhatt
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