When he was 26 years old, Julian Buckner set quite a precedent for the luxury design and real estate world. He steered a Los Angeles-based tech company two weeks from bankruptcy in a new direction, flipping it into a high-profile home staging firm. Since 2018, Vesta has increased its footprint to include Miami, San Francisco, and New York, while adding interior design and eCommerce to its portfolio, growing top-line revenue by 500%, and counting several celebrities among its clientele.
“Vesta cut its teeth in home staging by providing our real estate clients with a caliber of design and customization once reserved for million-dollar-budget projects, for a fraction of the cost in a fraction of the time,” Buckner says. Ultimately, the firm merged technology with design, becoming a multi-faceted empire—offering staging for real estate clients and interior design services for everyone. “Our vision for the firm was always to become an integrated solution for the entire design process.”
Within a few years, Vesta has executed more than 3,000 residential and commercial design projects worth over $15 billion in real estate. The firm’s work has been showcased on Netflix’s Selling Sunset and Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing , as well as in the residences of LeBron James and Travis Scott , among other public figures.
Even in trying times, Buckner has managed to expand the company. Beyond design, staging, and furniture leasing services, Vesta now manufactures and sells high-end home furnishings. Launched in October, Vesta Collections features an assortment of sofas, chairs, tables, and benches, available for purchase on vestahome.com. Buckner believes that in the age of a pandemic, interior space is more important than ever. "Covid has created an increased focus on the home," he says.
Buckner, now 28, who was honored as a Forbes 30 Under 30 and selected as a semi-finalist for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year, recently chatted with Penta to share some of his favorite things and inspirations.
During the lockdown, I’ve spent more time… hiking. Before lockdown, I am embarrassed to say I had never been on a hike in L.A. Now I try to get out once a week. It’s where I do my best thinking. Before I set off, I focus on one question or challenge I am facing, and as I’m walking, all of the noise disappears. By the end, I’m usually left with a tremendous sense of clarity.
Once it’s safe to travel again, I want to go to… Rwanda to visit the Silverback gorillas. Something about trekking into the jungle to see a version of our primitive selves in the same environment our ancestors first evolved from seems pretty magical.
My favorite restaurant in Los Angeles is… Miyako on Ocean Park in Santa Monica. It’s a completely unpretentious hole-in-the-wall sushi spot. Mark, the chef, picks out fresh fish daily, and the whole staff is like one big family. It never disappoints.
If I were to buy a piece of art, it would be by… the English photographer Nick Brandt . His work is all about mankind’s destruction of the natural world. I’m obsessed with his latest series, This Empty World , and how he portrays both animal and human suffering.
The perfect meal at home is... sitting with my family on our porch on Lieutenant’s Island in Wellfleet, Mass., watching the sunset with a cold beer, a plate of smoked fish from Hatch's, and about five-dozen oysters that we’ve picked right off the beach that afternoon. That is my personal heaven.
The best book I’ve read recently is… everything by Cormac McCarthy . I started with All the Pretty Horses , just finished Blood Meridian , and I am working my way through Suttree now. He has a magical way with words—every sentence is beautiful to read.
The thing that gets me up in the morning is… building an amazing team passionate about great design. We are working on some incredible projects and really focused on our people and culture so we can do more great work.
A passion of mine that few people know about is… scuba diving. After I graduated from college, I spent four months scuba diving my way around the South Pacific. There is a bliss in being underwater that is hard to describe.
A person who inspired me to do what I do is… my father, Noel Buckner . At a very young age, he taught me the importance of hard work and that there is joy and value in striving for excellence that is often far more meaningful than the result itself.
If I could have a drink with anyone, anywhere… I’d go back to the 1940s and have a daiquiri with Ernest Hemingway at El Floridita in Havana, Cuba. He’s my favorite author, and Havana is my favorite city, so that one is a no-brainer for me.