After eight years hunting for architectural gems, we recently teamed up with Cool Escapes and collaborated with architecture and design publisher Avedition to create a book that sets the design standards for vacation rentals.
BoutiqueHomes – Handpicked Vacation Rentals (published October 2017) is a collection of more than 60 uniquely designed vacation homes, and we are delighted to announce that it was just selected by Fodor’s Travel as part of their “Holiday Gift Guide 2017“.
It is available to purchase through our Marketplace. But you can read our introduction here and see a preview below.
We are obviously like-minded…
In 2008 we wrote an article for our website been-seen.com about our frustration we used to feel looking for vacation rentals that lived up to our aesthetics and style. We felt as if going on vacation was always coupled with accepting accommodations which were not up to our standards. At that time, finding a private, cool place to stay was like searching for a needle in a haystack. The search was pretty time consuming and mostly frustrating. There was not much out there – yet! But what a development there has been over the last eight decade.
When we were children, the idea of renting out our homes to strangers was unthinkable. Letting strangers sleep in your bed, use your kitchen and take a shower in your shower was not an option. But over the last few years, the vacation rental business has changed radically, thanks to the sharing economy, coupled with the internet.
We believe people started sharing their homes for two main reasons. First of all, the sharing economy offered a new stream of extra income, and many jumped on that. Secondly, the idea of sharing what you have to offer was appealing. It was fun and satisfying to let others stay in your personal space, to display how you live, what you like, and how ‘creative’ you have been in designing your home.
Meanwhile, travelers started to look for different kinds of experiences when traveling or on vacation. The slogan ‘live like a local’ was born, and a match in heaven was made. Hosts opened their doors to let travelers experience their personal homes and neighborhoods.
The combination of both created a new breed of entrepreneurs: the micro-hoteliers.
From Boutique Hotels to BoutiqueHomes
Over time, a lot of these new, private, personally-styled homes became available for sharing. Some of the new micro-hoteliers went as far as replicating qualities that, up to that point, had been reserved for hotels. Their photographs showed details of how they nicely arranged the towels, a picture of a fruit plate, the assortment of toiletries… What started out as a possible additional income source had turned for many into a fun decorating and interior-design project.
People started remodeling barns, train stations, garages, garden sheds for the sole purpose of sharing them as short-term rentals. Architects designed prefab homes to be utilized as vacation rentals. Others specialized, zooming in on some new terms like ‘holiday architecture’ or ‘living architecture’.
Eight years on, the landscape has changed drastically, and today we are busier than ever keeping up with all the new, cool, hip and stylish spaces that are popping up all over the world.
We have been in it from the beginning, and this book documents the evolution and highlights of this amazing development. It showcases the best of this new private and personal hospitality concept and approach.
With big players like Expedia, Hotels.com and even (of late) Google adding vacation rentals to the line of products they offer, vacation rentals have grown up and have now become a widely-accepted form of travel accommodation.
At the same time, opening up this option to a mass market doesn’t mean individual, personal, intimate homes will become obsolete. The opposite. We think a carefully curated selection of modern vacation homes is needed more than ever.
At BoutiqueHomes, we have created a community of travelers and homeowners who do not want to be treated as anonymous consumers or as just another product to be added to an inventory. Our travelers share common ground, our property owners love what they do, and we love what we do. We are obviously like-minded.
We still consider ourselves ‘gem hunters’, looking for those special places that design lovers hope to discover for their next trip. We find them, and those special gems find us, and their owners are happy that there is a website where their vacation home feels at home.
Curation has always had its place, providing experience and knowledge when people are overwhelmed and looking for guides, instead of sifting through a vast number of options. We see our future right there. BoutiqueHomes is the chic nomad’s guide.
Veronique Lievre and Heinz Legler completed Verana – the handmade hotel (verana.com) in 2000 and built Far Meadow, a mountain camp (farmeadow.com) near Yosemite, in 2005. They went on to create BoutiqueHomes in 2008 and have curated over 1,200 handpicked modern vacation homes and very small hotels on their site (boutique-homes.com), for a community of like-minded design lovers. When they aren’t in their Topanga, California home and BoutiqueHomes office, they can be found visiting properties curated on their site – or at their favorite hideaways in Big Sur and Corsica.
Here is a preview of BOUTIQUEHOMES – THE BOOK.