These days I spend about one week of every month at the TRP Oakland office. The rest of the time I’m either traveling or working from my home, in San Diego. While in Oakland, I stay in a TRP-leased duplex in San Leandro.
As my time in Oakland has decreased, TRP has turned the rental into an AirBnB, available during those weeks it would otherwise sit vacant.
The unit is one of several duplexes, all built in the 1950s, lining both sides of a single street on the edge of a quiet residential neighborhood, very close to shopping and freeways. Not a bad location for East Bay visitors. The exterior has clean lines and the modest look of a mid-century family home, and the kitchen retains its original gray tile countertop with bright yellow edging.
Intrigued by the project’s financial and creative potential, I quickly immersed myself in the task of preparing the unit for rental. Since I’d been living there off and on for years, who better to make it attractive for other travelers?
I decided to go all the way with the mid-century look.
After some initial painting and repairs, I began searching for furniture at the Alameda Point Antiques Faire, where I acquired a yellow Formica and chrome kitchen table with matching vinyl chairs and a divan of brown fabric with gold threads, manufactured in San Francisco in 1959. Wow, on my first visit! Needless to say, I was enthused.
In San Diego, I found three mid-century used furniture stores, which yielded a teak desk, two walnut step tables for either side of the divan, a walnut coffee table, three light fixtures, two mirrors, an upholstered swivel chair, a walnut dresser, two oak night tables, a bookcase and some ceramic pottery. All of those items were used.
Additional items (mostly new) included several framed prints and a small, butcher-block style kitchen island, cooking accessories, linens, and 1950s coffee table books.
Having stayed in several Airbnb’s, I was convinced that a comfortable bed was key to a satisfactory experience, so I ordered the brand of mattress used in most Hilton Hotels—my favorite.
For the back patio, I purchased (new) two aqua blue web chairs and a matching table. Sitting there with a glass of wine, I looked at the little garden that extends along the back and decided it needed a few more plants and a low wall to cleanly separate the greenery from the walkway. Three pallets of rumble stone and two cases of construction adhesive solved that problem.
It took a couple of evenings to write the guest guide. Finally, with a little more painting and the installation of storage shelves in the garage, TRP and I were ready to host.
We went public with our AirBnB on Monday, May 14. By the next morning we had our first guest. By the following morning we had two more requests and, three days later, a fourth.
When you, or people you know, are in the Bay Area, we’d love to host you. 1950’s Retro Retreat on AirBnB
Here are a few pictures.