Jeremy and Kelsey Turner watched a lot of old Saved by the Bell episodes before designing the zany, 1990s-themed Airbnb on the upper level of their built-in-1934 Dallas duplex. "I tried to think of all the things that were part of the ‘90s so that people could experience them here at the Slater," says Turner, who at the age of 33 is well-versed in the decade’s kitschy pop-culture riches. Big Bopper magazine, a see-through telephone, and a stash of Pop-Tarts are among the thoughtful touches that conjure an era that's seeing a cultural renaissance today.
Open just under a month, the Slater is the follow-up to the couple’s successful, pastel-hued McFly, an equally well-detailed ode to the 1980s on the lower level of the duplex. The home is located in the Lower Greenville neighborhood, an area known for its hip nightlife and live music. The Turners lived in the duplex until eventually moving somewhere more family-friendly with their two young children in tow.
Jeremy, who hawks one-of-a-kind holiday wear as the founder of the Ugly Sweater Christmas Shop seasonal pop-ups in Dallas and Frisco, Texas, is an entrepreneur with a knack for tracking down vintage goods. Last year, after spending the day at a retro toy store and seeing the film Ready Player One, inspiration for the McFly struck. "When you see the kids’ rooms in that movie, and the 3 Ninjas or Blank Check, they are souped-up and not real, but you still wish you had them," Jeremy explains.
Capturing that combination of fantasy and nostalgia is the McFly, which guests first started checking into last summer. "We wanted it to be playful and childlike, influenced by the Memphis movement and its weird shapes and colors," Jeremy adds.
A coin-operated (it's free to guests) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game, "the unicorn of the arcade world," Jeremy points out, is the highlight of the space for him. A Back to the Future hoverboard, a Lamborghini Countach poster, and an original Nintendo NES also ground the McFly firmly in the '80s.
An art teacher and former graphic designer, Kelsey applied her design skills to the McFly too, hand-painting a geometric mural in the dining area behind the one-time fast-food booth. While assembling this room, Jeremy and Kelsey began thinking of the Max, the Saved by the Bell hangout, ultimately leading the Turners to convert the duplex’s upstairs apartment into the just-as-bright Slater.
It carries on right where the McFly left off, with bedrooms swathed in wall-to-wall blue or pink carpeting that is both evocative of ‘90s interiors and helps sound-proof floors for the McFly guests below. The former flaunts bunk beds and a Batman poster; the latter a breezy white wicker furniture set, including a mirrored vanity table topped with a rainbow-colored Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper.
Mostly, Jeremy scoured thrift stores, flea markets, and eBay to find the disparate items adorning the Slater. "It was so funny buying things, looking for the funkiest stuff that you wouldn’t put down alone but somehow all works together," he recalls.
Kelsey’s handiwork once again graces a wall in the Slater, this time a patchwork of blue, purple, and pink in the living room, where guests settle into beanbag chairs to play Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64 or binge on VHS tapes of ‘90s flicks like Forrest Gump and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Beyond the red lockers, another nod to the fictional universe of Saved by the Bell’s Bayside High, they can take in views on the balcony.
To re-create the Max, Jeremy and his friends at Squarehead Design Co. wove in a pay phone and intimate dining nook with a duo of stools, but the centerpiece is the red-and-blue vinyl booth. Jeremy found one in the shape he wanted and then it was upholstered, upgraded to look just like it was plucked from the TV set. He complemented this with a Formica table, covered in squiggles applied by decals. If it’s too hot to eat breakfast alfresco, this is the place to partake in the Turners' generous cereal buffet, appropriately featuring only boxes of ‘90s favorites, including Cap’n Crunch and Apple Jacks.
It’s with the Slater that Jeremy was also able to realize one of his unfulfilled dreams for the McFly: re-imagining a bygone McDonald’s PlayPlace in the duplex’s backyard.
On eBay he found an Officer Big Mac, in which children climb up the base of the constable-dressed burger and slither their way inside the circular jail sandwiched between his bun. Jeremy gussied it up and it stands in front of a shed. Kelsey painted the house-facing side of the shed a cheerful, watermelon-looking motif.
"When people see Officer Big Mac," points out Jeremy, "they say, ‘That’s my childhood.’"
Related Reading: 14 Shipping Containers Were Upcycled For This Dallas Home
Designer: Jeremy and Kelsey Turner
General Contractor: Squarehead Design Co.
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