Photos Nicole Midwest
The concept of doing the bare minimum isn’t something Haven Homes is familiar with. In the world of home renovations and flips, there’s a huge difference between making a house up-to-date versus making it a home. And for the most part, the Haven Homes team has been successful in achieving the latter. However, just about a year ago the team took on a renovation without the intention of selling it, but rather keeping it and turning it into an Airbnb. A few coats of paint and over a dozen five-star reviews later, this Airbnb is a timeless, top pick in town.
This 1898 downtown Fargo home was an opportunity for them to play with design and see a renovation through, from appliances to bed linens to art. Haven Homes’ co-managing partners Daniel Landman and Taylor Grogan typically take on the lead, handling construction and code. But since this home wasn’t going on the market, Landman’s fiancée Haley Schmitz got to have some extra fun in picking out special design details. Airbnb has become a source for oh-so- cute homes that make guests wish they could stay forever, so the team knew no detail could be spared if they wanted to be successful in booking it out.
So what made the team switch gears and select this home as an Airbnb project? “Location,” Landman said without a pause. Situated just steps away from downtown Fargo, the home is placed perfectly for a rental. Travelers who want the amenities and charm of a home but the convenience of being in the heart of the community can find it all in this historic home. “We thought, ‘let’s try to make an Airbnb out of this,'” said Schmitz, and her fiancé added, “We figured we would try it, and if it didn’t work, then we’d just have a home for us.” Not a bad Plan B!
Besides the obviously attractive location, the owners fell in love with the home’s existing character. They noted that it was already pretty well taken care of over the years, so they knew a renovation wouldn’t be a huge undertaking. When you’re less concerned about redoing the foundation or rearranging the floorplan, there’s more opportunity for some fun design choices and risk-taking. A lesson for any aspiring home flipper: take advantage of the mostly cosmetic flip opportunities. When a home already has character and good bones, it is a recipe for success.
From the street, the house boasts a sweet, light blue door that welcomes guests in, a fresh upgrade from the original black door. The front porch comfortably comes equipped with string lights, scents from the hydrangea bushes below and the distant songs of downtown. When the Haven team purchased the house, they were fortunate enough that a new porch had been constructed and all they had to do was stain and finish it. On the other side of the house is a serene backyard, an asset that is rare for the location.
Complete with new landscaping, a storage shed and a vision for a future firepit set-up, this lush, green space is the perfect spot to unwind while on holiday.
Inside, thoughtful details abound. The first floor opens up to a formal living room that leads to the kitchen in one direction and a study in the other. Thoughtfully sprinkled are artifacts honoring Fargo, like a “58102” printed pillow, framed city photos from years past and Fargo Theatre coasters. Travelers often like being surrounded by notions of the city they are visiting, and these details check that box while still matching the overall aesthetic.
Such overall aesthetic can best be described as “vintage modern,” which might sound like an oxymoron but fits the space well. Mid-century modern inspired pieces, such as a leather couch from Article, play with vintage pieces like refinished dressers and side tables. Schmitz has a close friend who owns a vintage store out of Mayville, N.D., so she enjoys the benefits of getting inside access to special pieces. A modern matte black and brass Sputnik chandelier illuminates the vintage books and globes that decorate naval blue built-ins. The bookshelves themselves are made current with sophisticated brushed gold hardware. The juxtapositions between new and old showcase just how thoughtful and intentional each decor piece is.
Much like the study and living room, the kitchen didn’t see a major change. The footprint remained the same, but new appliances, fresh cabinet paint and new butcher block countertops made the room feel new. A full dining room set and a bar offer guests a cozy setting for meals and a door to the fenced-in backyard invites sunrise coffee cups to be had.
From discovering the magic of Grout Renew to putting playful wallpaper over outdated nooks, the Haven Homes team enjoyed switching up their routine and diving into the details. Be sure to follow along with the team as they have a few other flip projects in progress. And if you’re inspired to take a staycation at this downtown treasure, search “The 1898 House – Historic Downtown Home” on Airbnb.
Haven Homes is the residential renovation company of co-managing partners Daniel Landman and Taylor Grogan. With the design eye of Landman’s fiancée Haley Schmitz, the team buys, renovates and sells homes with the utmost quality in mind.
Friends since high school, Landman and Grogan had always talked about having a business together someday. About two years ago, Grogan was working in commercial construction but wasn’t enjoying it. To test the waters, he tried his hand at residential construction instead, working with Landman on their first flip home.
“We bought a house and worked on it in the evenings and weekends,” Landman said. In doing this, it clicked that this was something they wanted to take on in a larger capacity. From there, they increased their workload and soon enough it became their full-time business. Grogan enjoys that residential constructions have much shorter completion schedules, so the outcome is revealed sooner. But this isn’t to say that the projects are rushed. The team would much rather focus on quality over quantity.