At Home with Fixture Studio
To spend time with Amy and Steve Lentz, the dynamic owners of Grand-Junction-based Fixture Studio, is to be taken with their experience of and enthusiasm for life in the Grand Valley. The couple’s story is one of triumph, hard work, creativity, family, and seizing the moment.
Amy, who grew up in Grand Junction, and Steve, a native of nearby Montrose, married in 2005. They soon began buying, renovating, and selling houses. After the recession in 2008, however, they went back to the drawing board to find another way to support their growing family. Steve attended the Western Colorado Peace Officers Academy, later working for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and then the Fruita Police Department, while Amy cared for their children.
In the summer of 2013, a chance opportunity led the couple to offer their home as a short-term rental, only the eighth in the Grand Valley. With just two weeks to relocate, they packed up their clothing and personal items and moved to a small house about 30 minutes away from Grand Junction. They left behind everything that made their house a fully functioning family home. By offering a space that served families, the Lentzes inadvertently stumbled into an underserved niche in the short-term rental market, and this became part of their recipe for success.
Fast-forward to 2018, and things are, as they say, booming. The Lentz family, which now numbers six, is comfortably settled in their forever home — a mid-century rambler that Amy, a licensed interior designer, is updating in her trademark style. Steve and Amy now own two vacation rentals in Grand Junction and manage 20 others in all corners of the region, from Ouray to Breckenridge.
In addition to short-term rental management, Amy offers design services and Steve has traded law enforcement for designing and building beautiful wood furniture (which recently caught the attention of retailer West Elm).
The rentals that Steve and Amy manage are worthy of attention as well. They are carefully designed, staged with textiles and art, and outfitted to meet the needs of families.
From the beginning, Steve and Amy tried to think of everything that a traveling family might need. “We thought, what do we want when we travel?” says Amy. “Toys our children haven’t seen, Pack ‘n Plays, high chairs…”
This formula works. Fixture Studio homes are warm and inviting, and they encourage exploration and relaxation. In addition to making guests feel as at-home as possible, Steve and Amy provide information about local attractions, outdoor adventure opportunities, and locally owned businesses. They truly love living in western Colorado, and they share this love with the guests who stay in their rentals.
The Lentzes’ success was built with their family at its center. “We got into this because we want to be together as a family and travel,” says Steve. The Lentz children accompany their parents as they do all manner of work, from yard maintenance to testing out rentals to ensure they are family-ready.
Amy and Steve operate their business with a set of core values as their guide: treat others as you would like to be treated; be hard on problems, not on people (an adage that Amy learned from former employer, local architect Ed Chamberlin); and do work that matters.
Since the inception of Fixture Studio, the number of short-term rentals and the number of people using them has exploded. Between online booking sites Airbnb and VRBO, there are now more than 350 Grand Valley listings — an increase from eight in the summer of 2013.
The Lentzes are too modest to say whether they think they have contributed to the growth of this market in the Grand Valley, but they are clear about why they think their business has flourished. “We discovered a niche, and we found that serving people well and running a good business go hand in hand,” remarks Steve.
Happy clients agree. “They are willing to do anything for anyone,” says Angela Hegstrom, for whom the Lentzes manage two properties. “They are a hardworking couple, and their strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. I cannot sing their praises enough.”
Treating others well, doing work that matters, taking leaps of faith, making family a priority... These have been the keys to a successful business and a happy life for Steve and Amy Lentz — and the Grand Valley has benefited too.