The History of Open Air Homes
Open Air Homes began in 2012 when I listed a single room in my Los Angeles four-bedroom house on a nascent Airbnb. In fact, it was the exact room pictured above and arguably had the best city view of Los Angeles in the entire house.
When Airbnb began making a name for itself, I was curious. I’d been intrigued by the “couchsurfing” trend and had always wanted to travel, an opportunity I’d missed in college. While I focused on sports, my friends studied abroad, experienced different cultures, and made lifelong friendships. I wanted nothing more than to join them and meet people from all walks of life.
When I listed the far bedroom of my house on Airbnb, something instantly clicked – guests and I bonded over dinner or in the backyard overlooking the L.A. skyline. They hit local hotspots with my roommate and told incredible stories in the morning. We kept in touch, and hosting became a regular occurrence in those early years.
In January of 2013, I decided to gauge demand for a whole-home rental by listing the entire home on Airbnb. We were blown away that travelers from all over the world wanted to stay at our home! We hosted professional soccer players, big-name celebrities and musicians, and amazing families from all walks of life.
A Natural Knack for Design
Guests in our first home listing frequently mentioned our attention to detail. They raved that the rental felt like a real home, and with good reason – we had lived there and painstakingly designed it over the course of two years. We’d furnished it with pieces that were meaningful to us. We hung unique art on the walls and invested in top-of-the-line kitchen supplies and cookware.
From that point forward, we were hooked on this industry. Few things felt more rewarding than reading countless positive reviews from guests who appreciated our level of detail and service.
Design has been a touchstone of our business from the very beginning. While it can be challenging to convince homeowners to offer a fully-realized home, we’re confident in our ability to connect the right guests to their dream rentals. We’ve built a 4.96 average rating over the past decade by continually offering consistently beautiful and thoughtful experiences.
Second Launch & Interior Particulier
My husband Julien and I launched our second home after a former guest purchased a house in the area. Their plan was to spend half of the year at the home and the other half in Spain. They’d fallen in love with their stay and wanted to curate an equally amazing experience for guests when they weren’t in town. We began designing the home, responding to guest inquiries, and managing the property.
That was our jumping-off point for building and designing our own homes, starting with three stunning beach properties in Venice. We fine-tuned our design skills while offering guests the same distinctive level of service as our first property.
A chief complaint about vacation homes is their tendency to feel sterile. Open Air Homes sets itself apart by replicating the warmth and authenticity that shone through in our very first rental. We shied away from a generic, fast furniture-filled space. We darted from sale to sale, purchasing truckloads of quality furniture. We trawled estate sales for rare antiques and one-of-a-kind art.
Our tireless focus on detailed spaces didn’t go unnoticed; high-end clientele wanted to replicate the intuitive design and west coast luxe that had become our signature. Julien continued honing his style and picking up design projects and left his full-time job to launch his design firm Interior Particulier.
From 2014 – 2019, dozens of guests purchased homes specifically for us to manage. Our incredible guests and their referrals helped grow Open Air Homes to a full-service management boutique with employees on payroll, provide a 12% transient occupancy tax to the city, and help clients monetize their homes while boosting the local economy.
Launching OpenAiRE Brokerage
In early 2019, we had been helping guests find the ideal vacation home by referring our clients to local Real Estate Agents we knew and trusted. Our guests would come back to us during the purchase process for guidance, and to run comps on the home as a part-time rental property when they were not in town.
We realized that we could serve these guests better in-house that referring them out to Real Estate agents, and decided at that time to launch OpenAiRE, our Real Estate Brokerage firm. DRE #: 02098407
We now have a great team of agents, helping our clients buy the perfect vacation home, sell their existing vacation home, as well as helping many of our great guests find permanent housing.
OpenAiRE agents sold the first property that launched Open Air Homes in March of 2022. This home was beautifully remodeled by the Interior Particulier team, and sold to lovely new owners.
In late 2019, we expanded operations to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. Julien and I had fallen in love with the dreaminess of the desert. With mid-century homes nestled among stunning mountain landscapes, Palm Springs was an obvious dream destination. We entered the Palm Springs market with one home and grew throughout the Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree with our same dedication to design and hospitality.
Fast forward to 2022, and we continue to grow a team of dedicated, hardworking individuals who love reading the glowing reviews as much as we do. We’ve spent the past 10 years adapting and evolving with the industry and continuously look to the latest developments in hospitality to improve our services.
Julien is currently designing four exciting new properties in addition to residential and commercial client work, and we continue to meet happy guests and homeowners worldwide.
There have been roadblocks along the way; the negative sentiment towards the short-term rental industry, especially since the pandemic, is a valid concern to grapple with.
Our mission is to strengthen communities and enrich neighborhoods while providing value to hosts in Southern California and beyond. About a decade into a burgeoning industry, we’ve got a long way to go. We’re in it for the long haul and are committed to rethinking and improving how people interact with vacation rentals.
As CEO of Open Air Homes, my focus is on building a better future for the Month+ (our term for homes that mainly offer 30 to 90-day stays) industry. I’m especially interested to see how the Month+ rental market grows, adapts, and becomes a viable option for travelers. Open Air Homes is hopeful and excited for the future of travel and hospitality, and is here to provide insight and honesty every step of the way.
Think of this blog as our newsletter – we use our platform to share:
- Content that resonates with our values and mission
- Actionable, research-backed design & service tips for hosts to get the most out of their vacation rentals
- Relevant industry news with current updates to a shifting market
- Exclusive access & discounts for vendors and products we use in our most popular homes
It’s been an extraordinary ten years, marked by hard work and creativity. We’re thrilled to connect with hosts and properly mature this industry together.
CEO of Open Air Homes