4 Design-First Approaches to Real Estate


In recent years, the ever-changing landscape of the real estate industry has witnessed the rise of brokerages with sales listings that look and feel like flipping through the pages of a sleek interior design magazine. Our homes reflect our personalities, influence our well-being and connect together our daily experience, so it only makes sense to put extra attention and care into the presentation of a house for sale to its potential buyer. Agencies around the world such as Crosby Doe, Modern House, Fantastic Frank and Bumper France are “breaking the mold“, each finding a unique and compelling approach to marketing the extraordinary homes they are selling.

Crosby Doe Associates

Known for representing acclaimed architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Eames and Craig Ellwood, California-based brokerage Crosby Doe Associates focuses on “homes with design integrity“, according to its philosophy. By putting an emphasis on the extraordinary architecture of a property, Crosby Doe presents homes as pieces of art. In a statement about the agency’s unique, art-inspired approach, founder Crosby Doe says, “Like Brick and Wonder, the clientele who visit our site share a passion for, and understand the enhancements that good design brings to their lives. Crosby Doe and sister site Architecture For Sale were founded on the idea that aesthetically great architecture is more in the camp of art than real estate.”

Modern House

Credits: Bynya House by Peter Muller, 1954
Photography by Michael Nicholson Photography

Attracting architecture lovers and history aficionados alike, Modern House is a one-of-a-kind Australian agency with a special focus on Modernist, Mid-Century and contemporary homes. Operating out of Sydney since 2012, the team of design enthusiasts around founder Marcus Lloyd-Jones explains, “We respect that our clients are parting with a property that is of architectural significance or merit. Therefore, Modern House does not employ ‘a conveyor belt’ approach. Every detail of our marketing and sale process is highly considered and often unique to the sale – reflecting the integrity of the original design process of the house.” This includes extraordinary attention to detail in styling and photography, presenting detailed floor plans and documenting the respective architect’s biography in each listing.

Fantastic Frank

Founded in 2010, with offices in Berlin and Stockholm, Fantastic Frank lures buyers in with its distinctive lifestyle approach to sales listings, featuring elegant images of light-filled spaces and employing a lived-in atmosphere in the photography. “We give an interior design magazine feel to everything we sell. Together with an active social media presence we have created a real estate agency concept that is ripe for opening up in the other capitals of Europe,” says Sven Wallén, founder and head of sales.

Bumper France

Based in Lyon, France, Bumper is a real estate company that defines itself as lifestyle and design oriented. What makes the French agency stand out from others is the attention to detail and unique experience it aims to create for each listing. Speaking of the process behind each project, Héloïse Daltier, Head of Sales, says, “We represent every one of our projects with a common purpose – revealing the hidden value of each property. Whether it is a family-owned, luxury chalet in Courchevel, or a young couple’s first apartment in Lyon, we handle each operation with the same standards of care, creativity and expertise.” According to the French brokerage, it’s the little details working together that create such a compelling big picture for each of their sales listings.

From telling the story behind each property, to learning more about the life and stylistic approach of the specific architect who designed it or to giving the time to focus on photography, and the interior styling of a space, these agencies are leading the industry in the presentation of residential properties for sale around the world.