When interior designer Laura Paige Strader and her restaurateur husband, Jonathan, began interviewing agents to sell their renovated 1920s Spanish home in Long Beach, they had one condition.
The agent needed to be as social media savvy as the clients themselves.
Strader used her family’s first home—a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, 1,230-square-foot fixer—as a launching pad for “The Blanco Bungalow,” an interior design studio with just over 44,000 followers on Instagram alone.
“We’ve poured our heart and souls into designing, restoring and bringing this home back to its original beauty,” it reads on The Blanco Bungalow design and lifestyle site, where you can also shop the home.
They were perfect for Taya DiCarlo, the Compass agent who now holds the listing.
“The reason why we’re working together is because I have an equally large organic following on Instagram,” said DiCarlo, who speaks to other agents at real estate conferences about how to grow business through social media. “In the $50 million in volume that I did last year, over 80% of that came directly from Instagram. Half of that came from agent referrals from all around the world, and the rest are either repeat clients or clients who follow me on Instagram.”
She also has a loyal following on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and TikTok.
Property records show her clients bought the house in October 2018 for $555,000.
Despite its dated surfaces and garden, the arched windows and doorways, built-ins, and original hardwood floors preserved beneath the wall-to-wall purple carpet caught their eye.
“It had had good bones,” Strader said. “Even the landscape in the back was perfectly framed out with cement and everything. That’s what we saw immediately, but no, it definitely did not look anything like this.”
Warm woods accent an all-white stuccoed interior.
Built-in arched bookcases flank an arched picture window in the living room, fitted with a decorative fireplace.
The dining room leads to the new cement kitchen with open shelving, Samsung Bespoke-brand appliances, a Forté hood and Kohler cast iron sink. Nearby is an original breakfast nook.
Built-in linen shelves and drawers occupy the hallway between the bedrooms, the largest of which has a small walk-in closet.
A deep soaking tub from Mirabelle,a Kohler shower and bath fixtures, and a floating vanity add character to the shared bathroom.
The outdoor space features a pizza oven, a fire pit with a built-in sectional and a detached two-car garage with a polished cement floor.
A newly installed HVAC system, upgraded plumbing and electrical and SmartHome appliances add to the perks of the property.
While the couple hired professionals to refinish the floors, redo the kitchen and bathroom, and tackle the masonry work, Strader said she and her husband managed the rest—all while parenting their young son (she) taking online classes at The New School at Parsons in New York, and (he) running a successful business. Jonathan is one-half of Little Coyote, which the Press-Telegram described as the go-to old-school pizza shop with two locations in Long Beach.
“With this home, it was never a flip—this was going to be our forever-home,” Strader said.
Now the family plan to relocate to Europe and build on The Blanco Bungalow brand with their next project (once they find it).
The Straders have decided to part with the “relaxing little private oasis in the middle of the city” they created and displayed across social media.
“Having a client who is very savvy when it comes to their blog and their website and their Instagram, that’s great! But it means nothing if your Realtor doesn’t know how to join forces and collaborate,” DiCarlo said. “Marketing a home together has a compounding effect. On paper, it’s just a humble little bungalow that’s been restored. But what really makes it special is the fact that my clients have done such a great job telling the story and creating magic around this property. And I’ve done a good job at creating the buzz.”
Source: Orange County Register