L.A. Local, News, Underground
Jan 7, 2016


The first week of 2016 is officially wrapped! Can you believe it? But it’s not too late to jump on those New Year’s resolutions, like upgrading your home design or decor. We sat down with home renovation expert and Kukun CEO, Raf Howery, for all the tips!

!Kitchen_Anya Garienchick (project of Alyona Yudina)_06Hollywood culture has long been obsessed with going inside our favorite celeb homes. Think MTV Cribs, the recent Jennie Garth Project and basically all of HGTV! The question is…how do you get the WOW factor of a celebrity home on a not so A-list budget.

Raf Howery, started Kukun, with a dream to help everyday homeowners make their renovation dreams a financial reality. It’s an online marketplace that connects contractors with consumers for home renovation & design projects and gives them the tools to manage these projects from beginning to end. In just nine months, Kukun has helped homeowners with an estimated 50,983 projects, worth $456,390,695. Basically a Star Wars-sized opening!

PPLA: What are your top tips for upgrading a home’s wow-factor without breaking the bank?

RafHowery_KukunRH: The obvious answer is in picking showcase pieces and surrounding those pieces with less showy décor that still have character. You should pick a sophisticated anchor piece like a dramatic painting or statue and surround it with a complementary color pallet. Mix and match few expensive items with lots of less expensive items. The showcase piece should be very visible and the center of attention. If the color pallet works, your eye will think it is all expensive because it looks cohesive with the showcase piece.

PPLA: Have you personally or has Kukun ever been used by any celebrity clientele? If so, who? If not, who would be your dream celeb renovation client and what style would you recommend for them?

RH: Not yet…I would vote for Jennifer Aniston though! Maybe we will collaborate soon. This is just the beginning for Kukun.

PPLA: Do you have any celebrity home design or renovation experts that you follow or admire?

RafHowery_KukunRH: Yes, I am a big fan of the concept of Property Brothers and Love It or List It on HGTV. I also admire Candice Olson and her big personality and taste.

PPLA: Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Brad Pitt and more are known for their home renovation passions and house flipping skills! What 3 tips or warnings would you give celebs for renovation when budget isn’t their biggest concern?

RafHowery_KukunRH: DON’T OVERDO it. We all like a beautiful home but bringing it down to nature is a sign of balance and makes it a home. I see some stars with very gaudy and over the top homes and my immediate reaction is, “It would be nice to stay there for one night but I could not live there.” I believe stars are hard-working and need peace in their personal life. HOME is a home, not a museum! You want to make it a place that gives you the right emotional and intellectual stimulus.

PPLA: Diane Keaton was just on the cover of AARP Magazine talking about her endless passion for buying and renovating houses. Do you have tips for renovation for the retirement demographic? What about first home buyers? How do they different?

RH: Retirees want a smaller cozy, one level home. I recommend that they create a home where they feel safe and in touch with nature. However, these homes should not make you feel old! Life can take care of that. Homes have to feel both young but with a character. Keep the essentials and rejuvenate the rest. Remove old clutter and keep a place for the young ones to visit. Having them there will make life more enjoyable. Also keep a studio for your hobbies whether its reading, playing music, gardening, or art. Make sure your hobby is at the center of it. This is the period of your life that should be about YOU. First time home buyers or younger folks are different. Their home is not their last so they should be very mindful of doing projects that only increase the value of their homes. They should focus on location, expansion, convenience, and updates. They should not waist money on pools, theaters, or non-essential rooms because it only slows down the sale of the house as fewer folks looks for them. At Kukun our data science team has build an ROI tool (Return on Investment) that allows a home owner to estimate the impact of their renovation investment on the home value and by far kitchen, baths and additional rooms are the most profitable.

PPLA: If you and Jean Louis were ever approached to have a home renovation show, What would you call it?

RH: Cocooning

Considering a renovation? Check out Kukun.