Louisville entrepreneur Matt Langan has created a website to enable homeowners to get professional interior design help quickly and for as little as $29.
Through Stuccco, people can get professional advice from 27 designers across the country on anything from individual furniture pieces for a certain spot in their home to complete designs for multiple rooms.
“It really helps people design their home in a quick and affordable way without sacrificing the end result,” Langan told Insider.
The site taps into the current zeitgeist, with social media feeds and TV shows dedicated to beautiful home designs and improvements.
Stuccco’s services range from $29 for advice about a single piece of furniture, to $99 for multiple items in one room to $299 for a complete room design including a three-dimensional rendering and links to where to buy the components, including furniture, rugs, lamps and paintings.
Stuccco, which has three employees, generates revenue by taking a 20 percent transaction fee any time a homeowner hires a designer.
The site also features a social network that allows customers to post questions to the community. And for a monthly fee of $19.99, customers also have access to interior design training if they prefer to tackle projects themselves but lack some design expertise.
Langan interviews designers before providing them access to the site, and while customers can peruse designer profiles and choose their designer — they don’t have to. Stuccco can recommend a designer for them, which, Langan said, is helpful for those with busy lives.
Langan, 31, initially created the site to help home builders, including his older brother, Clayton Langan, and their father, Don Langan, showcase the custom homes they built. However, by the time Langan had created the website and was showcasing some of the family’s work in 2015, the home building market was so hot that smaller builders did not feel the need to market themselves, while larger builders already had their own websites.
However, interior designers showed some interest in the site, and e-design was becoming more popular, so Langan pivoted and turned Stuccco into an interior design platform.
People are getting more comfortable collaborating and interacting online, Langan said, and while more people would like to get advice from interior designers, the price for such services remains out of reach for most consumers.
Langan said that nationally, only 17 percent of homeowners have worked with interior designers, but nearly everyone would like professional input if it was affordable and easily available. So Stuccco provides services for people who previously may have thought they could not afford professional design help.
At the same time, the site enables interior designers to broaden their customer base because they can connect with clients who are far away. The site also adds convenience, because designers can do their work any time of day. That means designers who have left full-time jobs to take care of children or elderly parents can still work in their profession and generate some income.
Langan declined to talk about the startup’s finances, but said that he has self-funded the site since the beginning and has not yet reached profitability, though the site is doing well enough for him to continue.
Langan is a digital marketing consultant by profession and has helped major U.S. companies improve their online customer experience. He said he has used that experience to create and continuously improve Stuccco’s functionality.
The importance of interior design hit home for him in 2017, when he got very sick with ulcerative colitis. His weight dropped from 155 pounds to less than 100. He could barely walk. He could not do a single pushup. He could drink only with a straw. He spent about 20 days in the hospital, he said.
He got better without surgery or prescription drugs by focusing on lifestyle and diet, and he learned from a nutritionist about “creating an environment that (is) conductive to healing.”
It was a “lightbulb moment,” he said, that strengthened his dedication to making Stuccco work.
“The spaces in which we live,” he said, “(have) such a profound impact on our mind and our body.”
Two Stuccco clients — a homeowner and a designer — said they’ve had a great experience with the site and like especially how it creates connections but does not interfere in the parties’ interactions.
Ross Jordan, who owns a condo in Prospect, connected with a designer on Stuccco in 2017 to get input for an entryway and a hallway that he and his wife, Alyssa, wanted to refresh.
Jordan, 32, who has known Langan for years, had previously used an e-design app to find furniture for his bedroom, but said the designers on the app were pushed to sell products through certain websites.
Stuccco doesn’t have those kinds of limitations, Jordan said, which gives designers more freedom to provide homeowners with the best design possible.
“I feel like the variety of the designs and the quality of the designs … (were) the differentiator for me,” Jordan told Insider.
Jordan, who works in private equity and venture capital Louisville, and his wife, a product manager for a health care technology company, used Stuccco to connect with Seminole, Fla.-based interior designer Christina Di Vito, who provided them with layouts for an entryway and a hallway.
Jordan said the designer emailed him instructions about what she needed, which included a photo of the space, his design preferences, some example photos and a budget. Di Vito put together a concept, provided design choices about paints, rugs, light fixtures and other expects, and Jordan provided feedback.
Within about two weeks, Di Vito provided a final design, which included drawings of the spaces from multiple angles, instructions about how items should be laid out, pictures and descriptions of the furniture and other components and links where to buy them.
Once he had received all the pieces, Jordan said it took about 30 minutes to match Di Vito’s design.
Di Vito told Insider she focuses on e-design because it takes less time — for both the designer and client — and because she can work with clients beyond the Tampa Bay area, which broadens her potential client base. Di Vito said she has worked with people as far away as South America and Africa.
E-design makes professional interior designs more affordable to a greater number of people, she said. The scope of the work and the level of detail may be a bit smaller in e-design than traditional interior design services, she said, but people still get a high-quality service that will make their homes more livable and/or functional.
Di Vito said she likes Stuccco especially because the site does not interfere with the designer-client interactions and instead just connects the parties, which allows designers to be truly independent contractors.
E-design is a great way for busy designers to do extra work, because they can tackle the projects or send emails outside of normal business hours, she said. E-design also works well for designers who are just beginning their careers and want to build up their portfolio.
Jordan said that he still visits Stuccco weekly to check out new content and connect with other homeowners to share ideas and get input about designs or furniture he is considering.
“It’s about collaborating with other homeowners,” he said.
The Jordans had such a great experience with the website that they plan to use it to an even greater extent when they buy a house.
“My full expectation is we’ll use Stuccco for every room,” he said.
Langan, meanwhile, continues to work on improving Stuccco’s offerings. Next month, he plans to release Stuccco Store, which will allow independent artists and home goods retailers, including some local ones, to sell products on the site.