Making an Airbnb retreat feel like a cool vacation getaway and a cozy place to call home is a tricky task, but Homepolish designer Christine Lin was up for the challenge when she renovated her Santa Cruz surf house into a stylish rental. The three-bedroom, two-bath home boasts open living, dining, and kitchen spaces, a third-floor loft, and an aesthetic described as "beach town modern." Lin explains that she wanted to create a vacation home that could stand up to the wear and tear of Airbnb guests but still feel like home to her and her husband when they visit.
"It was a fine balance to keep with having to use both throwaway items that we wouldn't get attached to and nicely designed items that would last and stay with us." Lin made heavy use of Craigslist, Chairish, Etsy, and her local flea market in Alameda to find amazing, affordable vintage pieces that ended up being some of her favorite pieces in the home. Even the artwork is vintage. For the rest, Lin curated a laid-back assortment of inexpensive lighting, sofas, tables, and rugs that come together for a streamlined study in California cool.
Tour the Airbnb surf house below, and see more of what Christine Lin has to say about designing the space.
Lin describes her style as "warm eclectic modern"—modern with character and soul.
CB2 Uno 2-Piece Sectional Sofa ($2198).
For the living room, she kept it neutral, but she added pops of color to keep the vibe lively.
West Elm Jute Boucle Rug ($399).
"The only pieces we brought from our home were the two vertically oriented artworks in the living room. We wanted bright art to pop against the white walls, and these two pieces were the perfect colors."
"Given the proximity to the beach, we wanted it to have a lot of natural elements, hence the browns, greens, grays, and we also wanted it to feel airy, so white paint was used throughout. The black tones and bright art mixed in provide the modern look."
"For the kitchen, to save cost, we removed some of the upper cabinets and replaced them with open shelving, and then painted the rest of the cabinets. The open shelving is amazing for a rental home because guests don't have to go digging through every cabinet to find what they need. We did splurge on the custom concrete countertops though and have no regrets."
Crate and Barrel Spin Swivel Backless Counter Stool ($100).
In the dining room, Lin continued the neutral palette from the kitchen and "used the same black paint for the accent wall as the kitchen cabinets."
"Since the living, dining, and kitchen are all one continuous space, we added the accent wall to define the dining area."
West Elm Emmerson Reclaimed Wood Dining Bench ($499).
"We did splurge on the beds, making sure we got comfortable mattresses, and soft, smooth sheets since these are so important for hospitality."
Keetsa Tea Leaf Supreme Mattress ($1164).
Lin says she wanted a "calm, soothing vibe for the master bedroom" and used natural materials such as a walnut slab, rattan bedside tables, and simple lighting.
Lin's favorite thing about the space is that "it's just so easy and comfortable to live there. It feels like a vacation just because of the design, even if you have to work."