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Southern California Airbnb

For Dylan and Chandler Higginson, dipping their toes into DIYing two Airbnb properties on Lake Arrowhead was not only a great investment but a sentimental endeavor. “My wife grew up going to the lake, and it’s a special place in her heart,” Dylan says. 

A 90-minute drive from Los Angeles, the picturesque spot is surrounded by mature trees and clear water, making it the ideal location for a vacation rental. “This isn’t our profession but I grew up with a mom who was very into design and constantly working on projects on our house. She was obsessed with home renovation and that was passed down to me,” he says. 

We sat down with Dylan to talk about the renovation process, as well as best practices for those looking to get to renovate their own Airbnb. 

Do Your Research

“Research the area you want to be in,” he says. “Each city and each county is so different and have differing regulations. Some places don’t even allow Airbnb,” he adds. 

He suggests diving into the legal implications in each spot, what is allowed and what isn’t before purchasing. He also states the importance of finding a crew or contractor to work with early on. “I see people buy and then they can’t find anyone to help them with the work,” he adds. 


Pick the Right Home

To date, the couple have finished two Lake Arrowhead Airbnbs both with IKEA bases and Semihandmade fronts. Their recent property, purchased in December 2021, is an 1961 A-frame that took them only six months to fully renovate.

They loved the natural stone wall, the vintage metal fireplace, its tree-filed lot, and overall charm. “You can see the lake between the trees. It’s also close to lake arrowhead village,” he says of the home.

They love A-frames striking, timeless design as well. “The structure is already so cool and beautiful, so it’s really easy to renovate or improve on them,” he says. 


Design For Others

“You have to make the space suited for many. Don’t use anything that’s super delicate or fragile,” he says. 

They revamped the natural pine ceilings with a walnut blast, much like a sand blast, to bring out the natural colors of the wood, added all new tile, did both bathrooms, as well as a complete gut renovation of the kitchen with customer countertops and framing. Fixtures and accessories from France, Italy and Morocco bring a worldly appeal. Plus, they added a driveway, something that was quite difficult to complete during the snowy season. 


A Cozy Kitchen

Semihandmade’s Tahoe fronts pair well with Italian Ilve and Smeg appliances. “We had such a good experience using Semihandmade for our first kitchen,” he says. ” The ordering process was super easy and we didn’t have to go through a carpenter or contractor. Pus, they are durable, easy to clean, and practical for an Airbnb.”


Think Outside the Box

Because they renovated during the pandemic, getting materials was expensive and difficult, thus they got creative. “We used Offerup and Craigslist to purchase materials from contractors and repurposed vintage because we didn’t want to wait two years to finish this house,” he says. Furthermore, he shares future renovators must be prepared for anything. “Everytime you start a project, you run into things you’d never expect, and you have to go into it knowing that,” he says. 

Despite the challenges, this project went much smoother than the first and they look forward to future renovations.