I’ve learned so much since buying Casa Lovett in January. Downtown St Augustine has hundreds of short term rentals and the competition is fierce. There are a lot of new construction vacation homes however, I still believe visitors come here to enjoy the charms of places they wouldn’t see anywhere else – traditional bungalows that have been standing for a century.
Where you see the competition play out is on sites like Airbnb. With endless listings and competitive pricing, your photos are critical – especially the first photo. After 6 months averaging 60% occupancy, it was time to step it up.
I’m a big fan of peel & stick wallpaper. After going through hundreds of designs on Home Depot and Etsy, I found the perfect combination and style that could compliment a 1920s bungalow and give it much needed style and personality. This was not a major renovation, just some simple changes that I hope will pay off in terms of occupancy and nightly rates.
One obstacle to doing peel and stick wallpaper is that the walls have to be totally flat. This home had decades of layers old paint and “popcorn” walls. Yes, someone must have thought it was a great idea to add this disastrous texture to the walls. Removing it was not easy and I did need my construction team to sand the walls down, remove peeling paint layers, make repairs, add a new skim coat and sand again. This was a two-day process in the middle of a busy booking schedule. Twenty-four hours later I had the interior painted white and the feature walls in each room completed.
The big splurge was the wallpaper behind the sofa, thanks to a custom design by a vendor on Etsy. I felt it needed a dramatic effect that would complement the color of the house (yellow) but be sophisticated and hint back to the home’s origins in the 1920s. This shows you, you don’t have to do a big renovation to add some glam to a short term rental.
Here are my costs:
- $1,200 Labor – Stripping, sanding, new skim coat, sanding again
- $160 Primer & Paint – Sherwin Williams
- $950 Wallpaper – Home Depot & Etsy
- $200 Bathroom fixtures, lighting – Wayfair
- $350 Lamps – Wayfair
- $140 Rug – Ikea
See the before and after photos below!