Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Artist's Garret Featured in Outreach NC Magazine


Book The Artist's Garret On AirBNB

Abstracted from an article Welcoming Guests From Traditional to Unconventional Accommodations in Outreach NC in February 2016 written by Jonathan Scott, with photographs by Diana Matthews




Most travelers in Colonial America had to rely on local folks they found along the way who would rent them a room for the night and possibly share a meal. In fact, it wasn’t until there were railroads and,
later, interstate highways crisscrossing the nation, that lodging for travelers became a commercial industry. However, in one of those swings of the cultural pendulum, a new “old” trend began to blossom in the 1980s and 90s, with the rising popularity of bed and breakfast inns, what we now usually call B&Bs.

...

Northeast of Pinehurst in Chatham County lies Pittsboro’s Fearrington Village. That’s where Forrest Greenslade, a former molecular biologist with a stint at the Atomic Energy Commission, and his wife, Carol-Ann, bought their quaint retirement home in this picturesque neighborhood in 2000
.

The home’s original owner had built a garage with a600-square-foot apartment above…
When the couple took over the property, they used the garage apartment as a studio for Greenslade’s new interests: writing, sculpting and painting. He was determined not to let things like heart attacks and retirement slow down his thirst for learning and creativity.

“I was watching one of those TV business shows one morning,” Greenslade says. “They were talking about ‘the sharing economy,’ something I had never heard about. I went online to investigate.” The sharing economy, according to Roger Yu in USA Today, is a movement that “represents the newly cemented intersection of online social networking, mobile technology, the minimalist movement and heightened penny-pinching brought on by lingering economic uncertainties.” As accurate a statement as that may be, it’s difficult to get a handle on what he
means without seeing a concrete example. Greenslade finally found that example in a Forbes article on the sharing economy that mentioned something called Airbnb., pronounced “air-be-en-be,” is a shortened version of Air Bed and Breakfast. Like VRBO, it’s an online network bringing travelers together with people who, like in Colonial America, open their homes to traveling guests. Airbnb now has over 2 million listings in 190 countries and 34,000 cities. The listings can range from a humble bed in a spare apartment room to an entire private island. Airbnb puts both guests and hosts through a rigorous process of validation, making sure their bona fides are legitimate, for everyone’s safety.

Greenslade is the sort of person who likes new ideas, so he and Carol-Ann wondered if they might be able to make a little extra money by turning Greenslade’s art studio into an Airbnb. The venture, however, required some work. “There was paint everywhere,” Greenslade says. “All over the walls and
in the sink where I would wash brushes.” In order to offer part of their home to paying guests, the couple had to do more than paint the walls. “We had to go to the Homeowners Association for permission,” Greenslade says. “We told them that turning our studio into an Airbnb would help fulfill what the neighborhood developer had in mind. There’s an idea here to make Fearrington Village an arts destination. Our place would fit with that vision. You see, it’s also a gallery.”

Calling their home a gallery is nearly an understatement. When Airbnb guests arrive to stay at what the Greenslades call “The Artist’s Garret,” they are inevitably taken on a tour of the main house where virtually every inch of wall space is taken up with the prodigious output of Greenslade’s colorful and varied two-dimensional art. His works outside include almost uncountable original sculptures made from concrete and metal. The side yard garden that the couple designed is a work of art itself, with a path that meanders past a gurgling pond, flowers, shrubs
and unexpected, delightful sculptures of all sorts. The passion that went into each creation permeates the entire ambiance and is unavoidably contagious. “Most of the people who stay with us have come to Fearrington for some sort of family reason: a wedding, a graduation at UNC, care of an older parent or even the last days of someone in the supportive living facility at Galloway Ridge,” Greenslade says. Some guests leave having purchased one of Greenslade’s paintings or sculptures.


Staying at the Artist’s Garret was the first Airbnb experience for Nancy and George Soldatow of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their daughter lived in the area, and they were scouting the area for possible relocation. “Location was the primary factor,” says Nancy Soldatow. “But we definitely were charmed by the details about the apartment. I think it takes a special kind of person to host an Airbnb—a real people person who enjoys sharing his or her neighborhood with others, a community booster.”

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