Is there an interior designer in the house?

A little over a year ago I finally completed the manuscript for my book. But as anyone who has been thru the process will tell you, that is just the beginning of a whole new set of tasks. Most of which require specialized expertise.

In a rare stroke of brilliance, it occurred to me that the readers of this blog are an exceptionally diverse and talented bunch. So, using the very same illustration as above, I published this post: Help Wanted: The Book

This worked beyond my wildest expectations and in short order I had a crack team together. I am proud and honored to say that every person who worked to bring manuscript to finished book is also a blog reader and ardent supporter of the message here. Indeed, when it came time to offer a preview of the book, I chose to highlight the acknowledgements page.

So, with that success to draw upon, where better to seek talent for an entirely different project than here?

Specifically, we are looking for an interior designer to…

  • design the interior layout of a newly acquired AirB&B/vacation house
  • buy, move and set up the furniture and accessories so it is ready for guests
  • paint or arrange to have painted two of the bedrooms
  • house is located in Oostburg, WI

Here are a couple of shots of the interior now…

We are after…

  • a clean, simple and uncluttered beach house look
  • light, airy and appealing to visitors
  • a designer with a thrifty mindset willing to search CL and the like for deals
  • if your idea of interior design is finding cool, high quality stuff for low prices, this is the right fit
  • if your idea of interior design is shopping at high-end retail stores, this is NOT the right fit

Setting up an AirB&B is unique and different from designing for someone’s personal home. So if you have experience doing it, that’s great. But if not, we can help guide you as to what is required.

If interested, please leave a comment below and I’ll PM you asking you to tell us about yourself and provide photos of work you’ve done that reflect your style.

Oh, and if you’ve never commented here before and would prefer your comment not be published, just let me know in it.


My guess is this post will also prompt lots of questions wanting to know more about this project and how it came to be. Hold tight. Keep your powder dry. I’ll have a post or three coming on that!


My newest podcast interview is up:

Rob, the interviewer, is a great guy and we had lots of fun recording this one. Hope you have fun litening!


Books for your consideration:

If you found this one…

Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West

…I suggested from this post of interest, here’s another:

It is the story of the Comanches and both before and after the arrival of the Europeans. Talk about badassity.  Like Blood and Thunder, a compelling read and evenhanded to all sides.

Most biographies I read seem to run several hundred pages. Well written they are enjoyable and well worth the time. After a few months I typically even still have a vague idea of the person’s life and story.

Likewise, in a few months, I’ll still have an idea of Darwin’s life and how he came to write one of the most important books in scientific history. Difference is, this one runs a scant 151 pages. Rather than feeling short changed, I finished wanting to read more from Johnson and pondering how three different biographies like this one, totaling ~450 pages, rather than one epic would give me insights into two more interesting folks.

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Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.


  1. Janice says

    Too bad I am way south in Germantown, TN. I just moved into the 14th house since 1995 that I have designed, had built, and decorated, on budget of course. An Air B&B would be a snap for me.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      It would be a snap for you and it’s just a straight 10-hour shot north to WI. 😉

      Yeah, I remember you were going to write a guest post for me on building, decorating and flipping…

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Yes, but are you willing to bribe me??? 😉

      Ordinarily, I don’t care for knotty pine. But, somehow, it just seems to work in this case

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks MSM!

      maybe she can give us an embarrassing picture of you as a child we can feature. 🙂

  2. Sarah says

    Hi Jim,

    I don’t have formal interior design training, but that actually might be a plus given what you are asking for. This is right up my alley – I do have photos of three homes I have done on varying budgets. Would love to connect. I live in Minneapolis, so not local to Oostburg, but close enough to make the project work.


  3. Sara says

    Hi Jim and Jane!

    It’s Sara from Chatauqua 2016.

    I do hope you’re both hale and hearty! I have fondness in my heart for both of you.

    I’m by no means a professional, but I’ve designed for family and friends. My strength is re-imagining and restoring spaces to full utility. I usually go pretty neutral and lots of clean, open space. I’m not much of one for purposeless tchotckes. I’m certainly cognizant that designing for guests will involve a bit more fluff. Carafes for the bedside tables, scented candles, framed wifi passwords and the like all make guests feel at home and help garner excellent reviews.

    As a kray-kray cheapo, I only give my reno & deco dollars to construction material joints, Craigslist, Ikea, Goodwill, Etsy, eBay, World Market and sometimes a HomeGoods type deal for linens and the like. I may even already have a few pieces in my hoard that would work for your beach retreat.

    I’ll send you some pics of my house if you like, so you can see my personal aesthetic.

    There will be zero offense taken if you find an actual professional to help you out, never fear. I thought I’d just toss out my offer to help in the spirit of community and fun.

    No need to publish my comment 🙂

    All the best!

    Sara Jones

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Sara…

      PM sent.

      I had to look up “kray-kray” — my new word for the day. I already knew “cheapo” 😉

      BTW, because you’ve commented before this one went right up. Let me know if you’d like me to take it down.

    • Crew Dog says

      May I just interject – scented candles (and other scented items) DO NOT make guests happy (and may make them very sick) if they have allergies or fragrance sensitivities. PLEASE DO NOT discriminate against folks with allergies, asthma, fragrance sensitivities, etc. by stinking up this rental. Thank you!!!

  4. Bruce says

    looks cozy to me already. Maybe add some deer antlers on the wall (no trouble finding them on craigslist in WI, I bet), and a Keurig in each room. Total cost less than $500.

    Please send my fee to………..

  5. JC says

    For the painting component: If you don’t find a local painter – I’m a 20+ year interior painter located 2.5 hours south in the Chicago burbs (1 man crew, room by room renovations). FI now, but still cherry picking interesting jobs with my favorite clients 😉 Your designer would chose the colors, I take them out of the can and apply via brush & roller.

    Other fun facts: Participated in a YMOYL self-study group about a dozen years ago. I simply modified/updated the last section with your advice, essentially plugging “VTSAX” in place of “20yr Treasury Bonds”.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks JC…

      I might just take you up on that. Right now I am sorting thru the designers who’ve stepped up.

      At the time YMOYL was written interest rates were high and so T-bonds worked. But, as we all know, interest rates change. 😉

  6. Trish Rempen says

    Jim –
    The photos look a lot better than the falling-apart shack I was expecting! It’s lovely – and looks just right for a comfy beach house. A little TLC – but not too gussied up – the old-fashioned places like this are becoming rarer.
    Congratulations on the new place and project!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      That’s the irony.

      It is actually in “move-in” condition. It’s just that the “bones” are bad and the inspection report reads like a Stephen King novel.

      Only scarier. 😮

  7. Mark H. says


    Trust me, you don’t want my poor decorating skills. But if there’s something that needs doing to save you a trip back to WI, I might be able to help.

  8. Done by Forty says

    My only advice is to point the couch somewhere other than the tv.

    Looks like a fun spot to spend the summer. Beats Phoenix, where every day the sun bakes us north of 115, just to be a dick.

  9. Felipe says

    Never thought I’d see the day you’d again invest in something other than the simple split.

    Now I’m curious for the follow up posts.

  10. Drharhar says

    I’ve been re reading your book. Man! Incredible! Its like super deep and super simple at the same time…

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Wow. Thanks.

      What a wonderful compliment! 🙂

      “super deep and super simple”

      I can say the same about your comment. 😉


      Time to read it again…

  11. FIRECracker says

    Wow, look at all the responses you’re getting for designers! I think you need to have a design contest, Project Runway style, right here on this blog. “DESSSSsigners! On your mark, get set, go!” (that’s me imitating Tim Gunn).

    • jlcollinsnh says


      Very talented (and good lookin’) group hangs out here.

      We are still looking for the “one”

      Surprised you haven’t stepped up 😉

  12. Jamie says

    Hi Jim,
    I think the place looks great already! I live about 25 min south of your property in Cedarburg,WI. Have been reading your posts and sharing the last couple years. All the best!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Well, that’s all the previous owner’s stuff and it is empty now. We’ll see if we can match it.

      Once we get settled in this fall, you’ll have to come up for a coffee!

  13. ZJ Thorne says

    That place already looks so cozy, but I think you are right that AirBNBers may want an update. It’s lovely that you included the community in this effort. You are always giving back.

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