There are some exterior features of a home that instantly make you want to come inside. A detail as sweet as a pastel pink front door is sure to give your standard welcome mat a run for its money. Just take it from Melissa Johnson, the Sacramento-based creative behind the Pinterest-perfect lifestyle website, Best Friends For Frosting. While most bloggers rarely leave the comfort of their keyboards, Johnson has long been looking for new and inspiring ways to bring her brand to life. Lucky for all of us, her latest venture comes in the form of an incredibly darling rental.
Introducing the #SOBestFriendsForFrosting Airbnb, a tiny, two-bedroom stay situated in the heart of Land Park in Sacramento, CA. If you’re unfamiliar with her brand, Johnson’s aesthetic can effectively be summed up in one word: Happy. “It’s basically all the things I love in one place,” she says of her website. “It’s a lot of interior design, recipes, DIY… different things like that. It’s very feminine and girly. There’s a lot of pink and quite a bit of gingham!”
In an effort to give her followers—and passersby in need of a stylish place to crash—a real-life taste of Best Friends For Frosting, the Cali-native set out on curating a space that effortlessly merged all the little things she loves. Of course, pink was automatically a given. But, here, the blush hue takes subtle shape in the form of exterior trim, dining chairs, and accent pillows.
Built in 1937, the teeny, 1,100-square-foot abode still bears many of its original details, including the hardwood flooring and brick fireplace. Johnson’s parents are actually the owners and Airbnb hosts. “It’s so funny, my husband and I actually rented that house over ten years ago from them. Though, we only lived there for about a year,” she laughs.
We recently caught up with the blogger and mama of two to learn more about her latest venture, and, of course, sneak a peek inside the picture-perfect stay. Read on for what she has to say about designing an Instagrammable abode, plus what’s next on her radar.
What inspired the idea for an Airbnb?
“When I was pregnant with my daughter about three years ago we had the baby shower at my parents’ house because, at the time, we were still house-hunting and didn’t have our place completely ready. I felt like my house wasn’t photo-worthy, and I felt like it was a challenge to find a space that felt editorial-ready. Long story short, we ended up having the baby shower in my parents’ backyard, but even then, their house is painted beige. We actually ended up going to Home Depot and getting pieces of wood and painting them white so we would have a backdrop. I could just relate to how hard it is to find a location for an event that feels Instagram-worthy. That was one reason we decided to create this space.”
How were you actually able to bring this dream to life?
“My mom and dad, they have rentals, and they converted one of their rentals into an Airbnb, so we always joked around that it would be so cool to make a Best Friends for Frosting experience. Finally, we just started pitching the idea around to sponsors and eventually, there was one sponsor that chomped on the idea, and that was CORT Furniture. At this point, I’ve turned it all over to my parents—they handle all of the bookings. It’s now a part of my parent’s retirement project.”
Did you have to make any serious renovations to the interiors?
“It was actually really cool because we didn’t have to make a ton of changes. The largest change that we had to make was painting the exterior of the home and the front door, of course. We also replaced the kitchen flooring, but everything else was good to go. The kitchen is totally original. It’s all painted white, so we just ordered gold, modern handles that were $70 on Amazon and my husband installed them. So we just made little, small changes, while still respecting the original integrity of the home.”
What was it like repainting the entire exterior of the home?
“The hardest challenge in painting it was finding the right shade of pink. There are so many different shades and, as a designer, there are certain pinks that I love and there are certain pinks that I’m not in love with. We had so many different pinks that were super similar that were only one shade off, but it made all the difference in the world. We had to take in things like, what is this going to look like if people are going to Instagram a photo of themselves in front of the door and then add a filter on to it? We wanted to make sure that the paint color wasn’t too light where it would be washed out. Finally, we found the perfect shade which was awesome.”
In what ways were you able to translate the essence of your brand into the design of the home?
“I was very clear on visualizing the branding part of this space. I really wanted it to feel like an extension of the brand. Pastel pinks and pineapples played a big role in the design. Also, pastel blues—there’s not a lot, just a touch. I wanted it to feel really feminine and girly.”
Did the fact that this space is a rental change the way you thought about the decor?
“There were lighter colored items, like rugs, that I really wanted to incorporate, but I knew deep inside that because it was an Airbnb that mistakes are bound to happen. We were really conscious about finding furniture and pieces that were really durable, even though the style is very bright and airy. So, there’s that light pink chair in the living room from Joybird, and they actually have videos of people spilling wine on that chair and washing it out, so, for that specific reason, we went with that piece!”
In the end, how do you envision people using this space?
“I wanted to give back to our local community in Sacramento. I feel like we’ve become a national brand where people from all different cities follow us, but in terms of my own city, it’s funny… I feel like I haven’t done enough to give back in that respect. I thought it would be cool to have something in my own city that represented the brand. Then, also, it just brings me so much joy to know that people can have this awesome experience of being able to host a baby shower or their bridal shower or just have a personal stay there. They have a place that feels very well-curated. It’s different than what you’ll see from your average Airbnb online.”
What’s next for you?
“My parents actually have a second Airbnb that we’re going to start pitching to brands to create an experience with. People are already booking out to 2019 at this Airbnb, and I do plan to spruce up different rooms of the home over time. We’re also excited about diving more into our podcast, it’s called Heartfelt Success. Eventually, we’ll be releasing classes teaching people how to blog—we’d love to get into coaching and business development.”
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