Your Home is the New Photo Studio — How this Designer Turned His Friend’s Apartment into a Business
Shortly after listing his Greenpoint studio on Peerspace back in 2016, Eduard Monteagudo quit his 9-5 job in a high-profile Manhattan firm to pursue his passion: make design accessible to everyone.
Peerspace had just arrived in New York City, and he quickly recognized the opportunity:
“The concept of offering unique space by the hour is radical and I had to be a part of it. In a city that can feel like a corporate island nowadays, opening up undiscovered locations for everyone to experience felt like a step towards reclaiming its creative soul.”
Fast forward three years and Eduard has built a business. Under Cocoon, he manages eight locations across Brooklyn and Manhattan. Each space offers a unique stylistic experience—from the bohemian feel of this Spacious Chelsea Artist Loft to the minimalistic open-layout of this Williamsburg Penthouse.
With 200+ bookings under his belt, he’s learned a few things about building a business on Peerspace. Keep reading to find out what “aha” moments significantly shaped his hosting approach today.
Your Home is the New Photo Studio
Eduard first listed on Peerspace out of a desire to share a design project at his Greenpoint studio with the local community. It quickly proved profitable. So, when the landlord announced that the building was under foreclosure, he turned to his friend with a business proposal.
In exchange for design consultation and rental management of his friend’s empty apartment, he would receive a percentage of earnings Eduard made from Peerspace. His friend obliged, and business took off.
Early on, Eduard realized, “If you have a multi-purpose, aesthetic home, companies are looking for it. Think about it, lifestyle and cosmetic brands need space to film cooking demos and makeup tutorials. A traditional photo studio won’t work for that.”
Even more, Eduard has found that businesses seek inspiration outside of drab conference rooms. Individuals look for unique, intimate experiences to share with one another, taking birthday dinners out of noisy bars and into the comfort of private penthouses.
His roster of clients includes The Huffington Post, Daily Harvest, Macy’s, and more—a number of whom continue to book again and again, which Eduard interprets as evidence that this trending need for unique homes isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Every Space Carries a Message
As fate would have it, the design project Eduard pioneered early on would end up being the incubator for his entire Peerspace business today.
Once he knew there was a need in New York City to rent homes by the hour, he started approaching space owners around town, offering to uplevel their homes with his design expertise and manage the incoming rental traffic for a cut of the earnings.
He’d learned throughout his 10+ years of schooling in architectural design that every space has a message attached to it. If this many people wanted to rent his friend’s apartment, there were endless opportunities to recreate that success elsewhere.
For these reasons, every space Eduard manages carries a distinctly different message. Some locations are filled with props and famous pieces of art while others provide a more contemporary, minimalist feel.
“Styling each space differently lends itself to more opportunities.” One booking with a client becomes two, which becomes three, and so on. But to keep that client coming back, you need to do more than simply offer multiple spaces.
To Build a Business, You Need to Build Trust
Guests rebook when they trust you know what you’re doing. And, although Eduard will be the first to admit he didn’t always have the answers, he has taken the time to ask questions from the beginning.
“It’s important, especially early on, to always have a transparent approach with your clients. Be intentional about learning along the way. Ask questions and listen actively to understand what the client really needs.”
His end goal is to provide a five-star service to both the renters and space owners he works with. For him, “it’s about the little things, like having a steamer on site for production bookings,” that make the difference.
Recently, Eduard hosted a community event for Peerspace hosts in New York City. Featuring a panel of Production industry insiders, including a photographer, producer, and location scout, hosts had the opportunity to put Eduard’s advice into action—to ask their burning questions and listen. What do Production guests really want? Check out what happened here.
He hopes to replicate this concept for Events and Offsites as well. So, look out for upcoming community events featuring more industry insiders to learn from soon.
When asked why he continues to host on Peerspace today, Eduard replied, “Peerspace has a strong social component that’s going to reshape cities. But, even more, it’s connected to our mission—to make design accessible to everyone.”
Be sure to check out Peerspace’s Events page to see what community events are happening near you.