How four Hosts transformed their Historic Homes into iconic Airbnbs

Key Takeaways

  • Four Airbnb Hosts and design enthusiasts share their vision behind restoring historical homes in the US and transforming them into awe inspiring Airbnbs. 
  • Historical homes boast unique architecture, insight into the past, and room to explore as a designer. 

Key Takeaways

  • Four Airbnb Hosts and design enthusiasts share their vision behind restoring historical homes in the US and transforming them into awe inspiring Airbnbs. 
  • Historical homes boast unique architecture, insight into the past, and room to explore as a designer. 

Since our inception, designers, architects and artists have listed their unique spaces on Airbnb for guests to enjoy. Four creative Hosts are sharing their experiences restoring historic properties and turning them into design-forward Airbnbs. 

Woodstock historic artist estate

In 2011, architects and Hosts Ralf and Nin purchased and restored the iconic 18th century New York estate formerly owned by acclaimed social realist painter Reginald Marsh, turning it into a multi-listing property with a unique mix of old and new. 

According to Nin, “tackling a 200-year-old building, dissecting and opening it, while preserving its bones, giving it air and flow, is an endeavor that might reward you on many levels, maybe even with a secret story stuck between the walls.”

 In 2015, Ralf and Nin renovated the Reginald Marsh’s art studio on-site, working to maintain the building’s historic structure and wood beams throughout, while updating it with  juxtaposing color schemes, lighting and contemporary art. 

Reginald’s studio then became ‘The Pond House’ available to stay in on Airbnb. ‘The Museum House’ originally held Reginalds’ art collection and was renovated in 2019 into a contemporary four-bedroom residence with a large open living area reminiscent of the former museum’s hall.

The Pond House before:

Historical black and white photo of The Pond House before its renovation.
Historical photo of the former owner of The Pond House, Reginald Marsh, painting a life-sized wild goat figurine.
More recent image of The Pond House pre-renovation, showing a red painted living room with a cobblestone fireplace.

The Pond House after:

Interior shot of The Pond House post-renovation, showing an airy and modern hallway with wooden steps and an exposed beam ceiling.
Photo credit: MarshMeadows
The Pond House kitchen shot from the galley kitchen. Shows a view looking onto a living area with floor to ceiling windows and eclectic art.
Photo credit: MarshMeadows
Eclectic, black and gold grandfather clock with a modern twist.
Photo credit: MarshMeadows
The Pond House property in the background with a view of the yard and pond surrounded by fall foliage.
Photo credit: MarshMeadows

The Filomena

Built in the late 1800s, The Filomena in West Stockbridge, MA, was untouched for 60 years before Hosts Nick and Michael purchased and renovated in 2016. Prior to the designer duo renovating and ultimately listing the house on Airbnb, The Filomena served many purposes for the community, from a rectory where the local Catholic priests lived, to the home of a family of 15. 

According to Michael, “the house came with no shortage of one-of-a-kind architectural elements,” and their ultimate goal was to bring them back to life. They used the house’s bones as a foundation to build with their own unique design perspective by preserving hardwood ceilings in the dining and living rooms, transforming the massive, curved topped entry doors into a highlighter yellow focal point, and more. 

On a sentimental note, Nick’s favorite design touch is his grandmother’s old silk scarf that hangs above the desk in the back office. Those personal touches, combined with historical beauty and contemporary design turned the Filomena into a destination Airbnb. 

The Filomena before:

A photo of a man unrolling a carpet with a dog playfully following him, in an old living room that clearly appears to be under renovation or construction.
Empty room with a wood floor and pale yellow walls – a few floating shelving units on one wall to the right.
A photo of the old Filomena kitchen with all wood cabinets and dated appliances.
Old empty living room space, dimly lit due to the windows being covered by patterned curtains. Boxes and clutter seen in the back corner.

The Filomena after:

A grand, dark wood dining room with a globe light hanging above the wooden dining table. Flowers and candlesticks serve as the centerpiece with a black painted fireplace in the background and an antique tapestry on the wall.
A light blue sun room and playroom area with windows looking out onto the yard.
Bright and airy kitchen, with a white marble or quartz island and an industrial light fixture above it. Island is flanked by white countertops with robin's egg tile backsplash.
A night shot of a clear blue sky and a white two-story home in the center, surrounded by trees.

Quintessential Waterfront Historic Cottage

Built in 1639, this Waterfront Cottage in Sandwich, MA has been a mainstay in American history for almost 400 years. Hosts and interior designers Chase and Stephanie purchased, restored and listed the colorful Airbnb with the aim of renting out a design driven home with nods to its past. It was important to Chase and Stephanie that each room was curated “in a timeless tone, with relaxation and comfort in mind”.

Their goal with the cottage was to fuse “elements of allure with traditionalism and nuances of times past.” To accomplish this, Chase and Stephanie incorporated bold color schemes, rustic elements like wood beams and traditional Americana furniture to update the lakeside home into the 21st century.

Quintessential Waterfront Historic Cottage before: 

Quintessential Waterfront home kitchen before renovation -- low ceilings with exposed wooden beams, old farmers kitchen style.
Old, empty living room with wallpaper, a fireplace and bookshelf.
Old upstairs hallway with mini chandelier above the staircase. A blue farm door is at the top of the stairs.

Quintessential Waterfront Historic Cottage after:

The renovated farmer's kitchen with an oak wood island, new green cabinetry and bone colored tile backsplahs with all new appliances and shelving.
Photo credit: Read McKendree
A blue-painted living room with a velvet sofa and two orange armchairs with a plaid footrest and antique art fixtures on the walls.
Photo credit: Read McKendree
A moody, dark green bedroom with a wood frame bed with earthy colored linens and antique nautical and landscape oil paintings on the wall.
Photo credit: Read McKendree
A backyard exterior shot of the home, showing a pond in the foreground with a backyard and four white Adirondack chairs with the house in the background, donning an American flag hanging from the second floor.
Photo credit: Read McKendree

English Style Historic Home for 15 by Downtown

Built in the 1930s, Host Sabrina purchased the garden home in Houston, TX and thoughtfully renovated it to include high end, modern appliances without compromising its original character. She focused on restoring the original details like the hardwood floors, fireplace and crown molding, while adding modern art, antiques and hand-woven rugs throughout for a cohesive then and now design.

To Sabrina, it was important to include antique details that pay homage to the time period the home was built, with handmade oriental rugs in every room, while bringing it into the 21st century with all stainless steel appliances, refrigerator, and dishwasher. 

An English country styled breakfast nook, with pink, green and yellow floral wallpaper and a small circular table with pink seating chairs with a bay window in the background.
A bright and open living room with an imperial rug, blue accent chairs and a brown leather couch facing a fireplace with a TV above the mantle.
A bright and open dining room with a wooden antique credenza, an imperial runner carpet and a dining table with seating on the right.
Exterior shot of the home with limestone colored brick and two brown striped awnings on the first floor.

All homes in this article are intended purely to inspire and illustrate. Airbnb does not recommend or endorse these listings or any other homes on the platform.