Airbnb and VRBO have been steadily rising in popularity as an alternative to hotels. Both are website-based systems that allow people to book accommodations virtually anywhere and in any type of privately owned place. This includes houses, basements, apartments, cabins, tents, tiny houses, and campers. And anyone can do it. If you have a space for rent, even seasonally, you can post it online and prospective lodgers can find you.
Currently, Airbnb lists about 37 rentals in the Aberdeen area with several reporting decent success. So much so, that Lusso Properties here in Aberdeen renovated an entire house and made it available to rent online. Leslie and Ben Schnell of Lusso Properties develop and manage property throughout the region, including this quaint house which they call Lusso Cottage.
They wanted to keep the original wood floors, but some were so damaged they did not have enough for the entire house. Leslie tiled the kitchen and bathroom floors, so Ben could piece together the rest of the house with what was left over and then refinished them.
Back in 2019, the Schnells came across this smallish house on South Second Street that needed some serious repairs. “It was going to be so much work, but we loved the property and the house,” Leslie said. After 12 months and substantial renovation work involving plumbing, electrical, HVAC, new kitchen and bath, windows, roof, siding, and landscaping, they decided to make the house an online, short-term rental/vacation home. Since they opened Lusso Cottage in August 2020, they have booked over 289 days and have welcomed guests from all over the world.
Everything that has gone into the house is there to make the guest feel welcome and at home. The Schnells considered “what would I want if I was staying here?”—from the rain shower head in the bathroom, a kitchen that is stocked with everything you need to cook, and the coffee/beverage center to the firepit with a s’mores bar available from summer through fall that turns into a hot chocolate bar in the winter. They also wanted the beds and pillows to be as comfortable as possible.
Attention to detail can be seen in the renovation all throughout the house, and Leslie continues to decorate the house seasonally. “I like the guests to be as comfortable as possible. We try to make it feel like their home away from home. Christmas decorating is the most fun. Every room gets something, even the coat closet! It is a joy to be a part of making memories in people’s lives. They come to Lusso Cottage and meet with family they have not seen, reunions, weddings, showers, and vacations as they travel through the United States. Some we only talk to online and some we have met face to face. Everyone has been wonderful, and we have been so happy with our decision to create this space for them,” Leslie said. //
“When it came to finishing the Cottage, the home was very quaint and cozy with the character we tried to keep from its original design, like the arched front door and screen door,” Leslie said.