'The Vintage Penthouse in the Heart of Durham'

February 2020 Issue

Meet the Home Owner:

When I decided to bring back The Curated Home Tour Blog I knew that Ellie Snow's Airbnb in the heart of Downtown Durham would be on my list to shoot. It was actually the very first space I shot after the decision and I am so excited to finally share this gem! Remember that this is an active Airbnb, so you can visit it for yourself and enjoy a night - or a few - in this beautiful time capsule in the perfect location in downtown Durham, NC.

What made you select this home or Durham?

Honestly it was pure luck - my office is in the same building and my husband got permission to take a look at the penthouse (for fun) before it went on the rental market. We immediately saw its potential and were thrilled when we got permission to turn it into an airbnb! 

How has the Airbnb process been like?

I really love it. Most of my work-work is on the computer, so it’s fun to have a project that gets me off the screen. Of course the best part was decorating it, but running it is really enjoyable.

Is this your first Airbnb? What made you start?

Yes and no. We rented our home off and on for a year to pay for a trip to Asia. But this is my first time creating a space specifically for airbnb.

What do you love most about this home?

I was much more bold in this space with color and style than I am at home. Since I filled it with mostly vintage finds, there was some luck involved with how it turned out in the end. I had to make compromises on my original vision. I love how it feels like a lucky accident in some ways, and all the color makes it feel comfortable and homey to me.

How did you get your start in design?

I majored in printmaking in school, and afterward I had a couple short stints with interior designers before working full time as a graphic designer (which I’ve done since 2007). Interior design has been a fun side hobby/interest.

What is your design philosophy?

I am not sure I have one! But, I know it’s really important to me to reuse as much as possible - so with interiors that means using vintage when I can. I love to honor the roots of a space, which means maintaining historical details, even if they aren’t old enough to exactly be “historical.” And lastly, I think space and light has a huge impact on how we feel, so it’s important to have a space that makes you feel good. You don’t need a big budget to do it. There are so many ways to make space special for free, even.

Who or What is your biggest design inspiration?

My family. I was lucky to grow up in several really great and unique places. My mom’s parents had a home filled with things they found on their travels, lots of pattern, and family photos everywhere you looked. My dad’s parents taste was more formal but their house was filled with DIY projects and my grandmother’s own artwork. My parents’ homes have lots of sentimental pieces, are very comfortable and lived in, with lots of plants. I think the way they each live(d) led me to pay attention to space and detail.