The Beach Lodge isn’t your typical coastal house. Eschewing the kitschy seaside aesthetic in favor of a worldly ambiance filled with scavenged treasures, creative director and host Tiffany has created an inspiring escape for dreamers, doers, and design lovers. The property may only be a stone’s throw away from the sandy shores of Hollywood Beach, but its interiors and thoughtful touches—from luxe bedding to cupcakes for guests celebrating special occasions—have made it one of the most sought-after vacation rentals in California. And we’re not exaggerating. After being featured in Dwell, Coastal Living, and Architectural Digest, the Beach Lodge has garnered a cult following.
Before purchasing the house in 2015, Tiffany had no idea what Airbnb was...or Instagram, for that matter. All she knew was that the 1970s coastal abode with pewter green walls had to be hers, even if it meant turning it into a rental property. Today, the Beach Lodge is so much more than just an Airbnb. It's become a destination for celebrations, interior design inspiration, and even has it's own store filled with curated antique decor items.
ATLIST sat down with Tiffany to chat more about how the theme of transformation pervades the guest experience at the Beach Lodge, the power of social media, and her top tips for brand-building hosts.
ATLIST: We’re blown away by the before and after photos of the Beach Lodge. How did you know that this diamond in the rough had the potential to be an amazing vacation rental?
Tiffany: As soon as I saw it I said, “This is my house.” It was so decrepit, the walls were pewter green, and things were falling apart. It was literally used as a drug den but I knew it had potential. There were two other people ahead of us who wanted the house and had better offers, but they liked our story and the fact we wanted to fix it up instead of demolishing it. I studied architecture and was working as a creative director at the time, so I did all my own drawings and basically worked as my own contractor. It was definitely a project that was very dear to my heart. The idea of putting the house up on Airbnb was just something we threw out there as a way to pay for the property. After finishing our renovation in September, we needed to start making money fast. I put it up on Airbnb and Instagram and some of the photos went viral. By January, we were featured as one of the top 100 hottest places by The Venue Report.
ATLIST: Was it surreal to receive so much attention in such a short time frame?
Tiffany: It was very surreal. The photo of the master bedroom started it all. West Elm saw it because it featured their nightstand table and I used their hashtag. And so they called us. I thought it was a joke because I didn't know much about social media at the time. Even though our rental didn't feature a ton of West Elm furniture, they really loved our story and did a full story on us. We kept putting more photos up and then Dwell found us as well. They were putting together a special issue of all their favorite rooms from social media. We were able to get two of our photos in that issue. It was kind of crazy, but at the same time, it did exactly what I needed it to do, which was to bring in some bookings.
ATLIST: Now that you have a loyal fan base, how would you describe your typical guests?
Tiffany: Our guests love design. The idea behind the interiors is to inspire people to make time for themselves, find a little calm, and go through a transformation. There's really not a lot to do in the area in terms of nightlife. This is the place to come to find yourself again or just to remind yourself of what’s important. The people that come are often so focused on the design that they almost don't realize that the beach is so close. When they arrive, it’s always such a surprise to them that we're less than 50 feet away from the sand.
Before COVID, we would get a lot of international guests. We've had people from Russia, Australia, Spain, and other parts of Europe. One couple from England came to celebrate their 10-year anniversary! We've had some bachelorette parties and even some Sweet 16 celebrations, where the kids actually introduce their parents to the Beach Lodge and asked specifically to come here to celebrate their birthday with their friends. So for those, I’ll usually ask the guest what their favorite flavor is and I’ll surprise them with cupcakes from a local bakery.
ATLIST: That’s so sweet. Are there any other ways you show love to businesses in your local area through your amenities?
Tiffany: We really like to embrace the fact that we are from an area that was an agricultural hub in the past. I try to provide fresh strawberries and fresh oranges. And that way, if guests like them, there are some local farm stands nearby where they can get even more.
A lot of the shops in our area are independently owned, so we will often go there to buy some amazing homemade things. I always love showing them support on Instagram, so that people who aren't staying at our house can still discover the businesses that we feel provide so much to our area.
ATLIST: You also give your audience the chance to experience The Beach Lodge through your new online store with home decor items. What was the inspiration behind this side venture?
Tiffany: We started the online store about a year or two ago. People would come and fall in love with all the things in the house. For one reason or another, some items would trigger a memory from their childhood. So, we wanted to give people a chance to take a piece of the Beach Lodge home with them or shop from afar if they can't travel.
1. Don’t just follow a formula - personalize your space
Sometimes, I can’t tell one vacation rental from another on Instagram. They all start to look the same. So many people think that if they follow exactly what another property has done, they’ll have the same success. But in fact, you really need to customize your space to your own needs and tastes, and really fall in love with your project in order to have longevity in the industry.
2. Invest in good bedding and towels
Last year, we added weighted blankets and we've already had guests who bought the same blanket because it provided them with a release from tension during their stay. People have bought the same mattress topper that we have on our sofa bed because it was so comfortable. We always provide plush beach towels. In general, you should always have the things that are necessary in order to enjoy the location that you're in. It wouldn’t make sense to have a beach house and not provide beach towels!
3. Use time-saving tricks to up your sanitation game
I love throw pillows and extra blankets, but I want to be safe as well. We’ve started rotating these extra accents to ensure the items have a buffer time between uses. Once the guest leaves, we take out soft decor accents and put new ones in instead of just washing the ones the previous guest used and putting them right back in. There should always be a little safety time in between. You don’t need to take these things away just because of COVID, you just have to think outside of the box.