7 Off Grid Airbnbs with Incredible Architecture
Artists and writers have been retreating to remote patches of nature ever since Henry David Thoreau waxed poetic about confronting life’s “essential facts” in the woods of Massachusetts. But during this tumultuous year, it’s not just creative types fleeing to the countryside to clear their heads and breathe in the fresh air. Airbnb reports a record 25% surge in bookings for rural listings this summer, with city dwellers seeking a respite en masse. Unlike Thoreau’s ascetic shack, several design-forward properties on Airbnb offer discerning renters the twin pleasures of being one with nature and living in an architectural marvel.
Musicians Sean W. Spellman and My Larsdotter run one of these dreamy rentals, in Westerly, Rhode Island, a beach town about 2.5 hours by car from New York City. Their two-bedroom, 1930s Cape Cod–style South County House is decorated with a tasteful amalgam of 1970s California cool, Scandinavian modern, and Japanese minimalism, an aesthetic largely honed during their years on tour when they booked interesting accommodations around the world.
Spellman says bookings have significantly increased since the pandemic, with discerning travelers from places like New York, Boston, and Los Angeles willing to pay three to four times the price compared to other rentals in the area. Attention to design details—from the creative placement of shiplap pine to well-chosen vintage furniture—has made all the difference, he explains. “We saw an opportunity to create something really amazing that like-minded folks would feel comfortable in, design-wise,” explains Spellman, whose own paintings decorate South Country House.
Spellman says the influx of out-of-towners this year, many of whom work in the creative industry, has bolstered his ambitions to unite Westerly’s burgeoning creative community. “We didn’t have to promote it so much,” he says. “The photographs of the space attracted all sorts of creatives. It’s really been a dream.” Spellman and Larsdotter are currently building an artist’s studio on their property, which will serve as the locus of the town’s artist-in-residency program next year.
Check out South County House and six other design-savvy escapes, all available for rent on Airbnb.
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