Q & A with Cabin Dreamweaver Hosts in North Carolina

airbnb design airbnb house q&a Sep 30, 2021
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It began with the stalking of this gorgeous North Carolina mountain cabin's Instagram account, and it developed into an IG friendship with a fab and very funny design and renovation power couple. 

Loree Beth Harris, who goes by LB, and her husband Will own Both Minds Design, a thriving design firm in Nashville, Tennessee. They bought and renovated this cabin to share with the world as a short term rental, but also as a reprieve to rest and recharge as a family of 4 when they want to get out of Nashville and head to the mountains. 

If you want to hear them talk about their business and hosting a mountain vacation rental, head to this link to watch my IG Live interview with them. Did I mention they're super entertaining? You won't be dissapointed.


Before we Dive into the Q&A portion of this blog, here is a board to help you shop the look of their beautiful cabin which they've aptly named Cabin Dreamweaver. 

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Now on to a Q&A with LB and Will to learn all the things about this well designed vacation rental in the woods near Asheville, North Carolina. 

Let's start at the beginning. How did your Short Term Rental journey begin? 
Our STR journey was sort of happenstance. 
We spent my birthday weekend in Asheville 3 years ago and just fell in love with the mountains, the outdoor lifestyle, and the beer/food.  We were at New Belgium brewery and started chatting about how great it would be to own a home there to vacation and spend time just disconnecting. 
I researched a local real estate agent and cold called him on the spot and we started our search the next week.  We ended up buying a home in Montreat, NC and named it Montreat Yo'self and never looked back.  Now here we are with our second (Cabin Dreamweaver) in West NC and it's truly the only place where we're able to hit the reset button and return to life feeling at peace and recharged.
Tell us about your design process for your Short Term Rental. (How did you select the style of decor? Did you have a clear vision from the beginning?)
Dreamweaver was my third STR design, so I was able to learn from mistakes I'd made with the other two and knew the direction I wanted to take with her. 
I immediately knew I wanted to paint her [exterior] black.  Every black house or cabin I've ever seen I've loved so I figured I wouldn't ever regret that decision.  I also knew I wanted the furnishings to be relaxed, organic, and pretty muted in colors and the interior design in general just to be moody. 
The kitchen, however, was just a natural evolution.  I didn't initially go "ooooh yeah I'm going to do an all black kitchen" but I found this hand-made glazed brick tile from a company here in Nashville called Redrock and said "yes."  That was going to be my backsplash and everything else hinged around that selection.  As I started pairing the other materials it just felt right to go all in on dark everything. 
The rest of the cabin has a lot of dark elements like the matte black marble in the primary bath and the black vanity, but I wanted the colors that you see outside the house to be incorporated inside, hence the clay-colored tile in the guest bath because when we started in late winter there was all this red clay on the mountainside.  For decor, I will always and forever use a mix of modern and vintage pieces.  So there's a good balance of both in there. (Val says, "Can I get an Amen!?")
Were there any fun purchases or decorating stories along the way? (Like a fun bargain find, a vintage treasure, or something really special that you put into your STR?)
My favorite pieces in the cabin are the chairs in the sitting area in the primary bedroom.  It was pure luck and fate that brought us together.  I was meeting a client at an antique and wallpaper store the day before we left for NC for our final furnishings install. 
I decided to take a look around after she left (because I can't go in an antique store and not look at the goods) and these two black and wood midcentury chairs were tucked in a corner.  I hadn't bought chairs for that space yet and they were marked down, so it was destiny.  I love them so much.
Any decorating or renovation nightmares or headaches to share? 
The beds in what I call the "twins room!"  All the beds were the first purchases I made when I started the furnishings phase so we had abouuuut 78 boxes of furniture sitting in our garage for 2 months. 
When we went to assemble and install those particular ones we realized they shipped us queens instead of fulls so they of course didn't fit.  So I got to spend 8 hours the next day going to every furniture store in western North Carolina looking for 2 matching full beds that weren't "farmhouse chic" that I could purchase and walk out with. 
So the beds in that room aren't what I'd envisioned or bought, but they work.  We're pretty lucky though that everything else went fairly smoothly.
What were some of your favorite resources for furniture and decor that you used? 
The West Elm outlet in Asheville is a God send.  And so is The Screen Door Asheville. They had an amazing collection of antiques and vintage finds.  That's where I got most of our art and tchotchkes. 
Etsy has the best vintage and Turkish rugs for such good prices; vintage rugs are so good for high traffic and STR's because they don't show stains and they're just made with better quality than current day.
Target and Home Goods are my go-to's for general styling accessories.  All our outdoor furniture is from Wayfair.
Why did you choose the hosting platform you use for your rental? (I noticed it's not Airbnb or a major platform so I thought people might be curious about that!) 
This is sort of a pilot for us.  We knew we didn't have the bandwidth to manage the cabin ourselves and had to outsource that to a property management company so that our guests get full premium service with no delays or interruptions. 
We decided to go with a different property management company than what we'd been using the 3 previous years for various reasons and the fees weren't as high.  Carolina Mornings generates most of their traffic and leads through their website so we're putting trust in our experts and seeing how this year goes.
What advice do you have for anyone taking on a house renovation for a STR project?  
Stay on the same team as your partner (if you're embarking with someone) and be ready to have some glitches.  I know people have heard it, but it's so true.  There will be things that go wrong or not as planned, which typically means unforeseen costs. 
Just take a deep breath and pivot.  Nine times out of ten when I've had those pivot moments with projects, something much better and more beautiful has been created.  So if you go into a renovation with the expectation of being able to bend and pivot as a team, then you'll be less likely to break.
Any other advice for hosts or future hosts you'd like to share? 
Buy somewhere or something you love!  If you're not passionate about your second (or third or fourth) home then what's the point?  You'll also be more inclined to visit and spot check your investment and eliminate any neglected property deterioration that can happen over time. 
And don't take reviews personally.  Those can be a rabbit hole, especially when you've invested so much time, sweat, money, tears, etc. into your home.  Everybody is not going to love your place as much as you do, but as long as it brings you joy then who gives an F.


 Shop The Look

Like all of the best designers (in my humble opinion) LB used a lot of vintage finds in her design, like that amazing dining table. She also snagged some great finds at the West Elm Outlet in Asheville, and other local places.  

Check out the Shop The Look board with links down below it to shop some of the exact items at Cabin Dreamweaver, and some similar ones for those vintage pieces or outlet finds. 

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*Note: I am a proud affiliate of some of these products and I may receive a small commission if your click results in a sale. These affiliate fees allow me to keep developing great content for this incredible community. So thank you! 

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Happy Hosting! 


Other great reads for you...

A No Brainer List: The Best Bedding and Mattress for your Airbnb

Beach Property Makeover: Taking an Airbnb from Drab to FAB

STR Design Made Easy: Modern Cottage

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