Springfield Bnb (Before) Tour

I am super excited to give you all a tour inside the Springfield house that Elsie has nicknamed the holiday house. 🙂 In case you missed our announcement post we’re calling it the holiday house because it’s the house Elsie and her family plan to stay at for the holidays when they come to Springfield. The rest of the year we plan to list the house as a short-term rental on Airbnb. We purchased the home in late December and have been slowly working on it since. It feels like we kept this a secret from you all, but truthfully what happened is the short-term rental laws changed in Springfield in January, and we were not sure if our original plan was still going to work. We needed to take the time to sort that out first before we felt we could really share much.

Which, by the way, would anyone be interested in a post from us about our experiences with short-term rentals? Like the laws (they vary a LOT and change often), using a management company, what things we’ve noticed folks tend to like or not like about certain homes, etc. Just curious if that would be interesting to you.

Now for a quick tour of what the house looked liked when we decided to buy it. We only looked at two houses in this neighborhood (we LOVE the neighborhood so much) and it was obvious right away that this house was special. And, a couple of quick notes on our renovations plans—Elsie and I have designed the home together and are aiming to keep the age of the home in mind. We love that this home was built in the 1920s and we’d love to keep it old, as well as new touches we add, feeling like that era or at least close. Second, it was obvious to us that the previous owners of this home really cared for it. It was in such great shape, and even though we do want to redesign and personalize some spaces to our own preferences, this isn’t a comment on their choices.

Here is the living room and a peek into an open study or extra bedroom space. We immediately liked that this home had a fireplace. Not only are they beautiful in pretty much any home, but it’s the perfect spot for Santa to make his entrance at Christmas. Ha.

We don’t plan to change much in either of these spaces other than paint walls, change out light fixtures, and possibly refinish the floors (throughout the entire house so they all more or less match). However, we do plan to construct doors for this archway as this extra room doesn’t offer much privacy for a bedroom without them. And although it could certainly be an office or playroom, and we may use it as such, it already has a closet, so adding doors just feels like a good choice for this space in the long run.

This is the dining room—it’s between the front living room and the kitchen. You can also see it connects to small hallway that goes to a bathroom and the master bedroom. It also connects to the stairs to the second floor. Mostly, we are just painting and changing the light fixture before furnishing. We have been considering adding some wallpaper, but we also might keep it simple as we may do wallpaper in the stairway. Still undecided!

The kitchen felt like the space that we would likely change the most. For one thing, nothing in the kitchen felt like the age of the home or very special. We pretty much planned to completely renovate this space and I am SUPER excited to show you the transformation once we’re done!!!!!

This is the second living room. It definitely seems like at some point this was an addition to the original home, or maybe it used to be a garage? It has super high ceilings and it’s really a very large space that would be great for entertaining. We plan to make this second living room the space that has a TV and is more of a relaxing, chill together space, while the front living room will be more formal (not necessarily fancy in design, just more of a sit and chat rather than sit and watch TV space).

The floors in this space are different and definitely newer than the rest of the home. We are hoping to refinish all the floors and get them to match a little more, but we’ll see. We also plan to remove the shelving unit and update the ceilings in addition to painting and furnishing.

Here is part of the master bedroom (still located on the main floor). Planning to paint, update the closet doors, and change out the fan.

The house has three full bathrooms—this is the first. We will likely paint the walls white, but other than that we thought this bathroom was adorable!

Here is the second (also downstairs) bathroom. To the right, you can just begin to see the closet doors that open to the laundry space. Similar to the kitchen, we knew right away this bathroom would need a lot of work to become a space that felt more like the rest of the home both in age and style. This room will also get a major facelift, so stay tuned!

Here are the stairs leading up to the second floor. Most of the second floor was carpeted, so we planned to remove that and hope for good wood floors—but if not, try to get something similar to the downstairs. We were in luck, and the original wood floors were under the carpet with only minor stains and age! We are also thinking we might replace the wallpaper in the stairwell.

I just love the little octagon window at the top of the stairs! Kind of feels like a ship to me. (Said the gal from landlocked Missouri.)

There are two bedrooms upstairs and they both pretty much looked like this when we bought the home. Again, mainly we are just removing carpet and refinishing the floors in addition to painting and updating the fans.

And here is the upstairs bathroom. It’s pretty unique. Ha. You can’t really see, but there is a small bathtub tucked in the room as well. We did love that there is a bathroom upstairs (for when you wake up in the middle of the night and need one), but the ceilings are SO low that it’s pretty unusable for many adults. I’m 5’4″ and the top of my head nearly touches the ceiling. If I have a top bun it will get filled with the popcorn ceiling, so that’s less than ideal. But honestly, with two full bathrooms downstairs and a not-exactly-unlimited budget we likely will just smooth the ceilings and call it a day on this space. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this little tour! Can’t wait to show you the house after we update things. xo. Emma (+Elsie)

Author and Photography: Emma Chapman.
  • Hi, Ladies! Love this house! My guy and I are looking to buy a house somewhere near or in Springfield to turn into our third airbnb. My question: Do you have a list of people from which we might find a really good airbnb manager? Someone who can handle everything for us? We don’t want to be called unless there’s a fire or worse. We live out of state at the moment, but will be moving to a suburb of Springfield, MO within the next year. We plan to buy the airbnb house soon, though. Please let me know about a manager when you get a chance.
    Thank you.

  • I love what you have to done to this house! I have read all the articles for this bit still couldn’t find can’t what you did to the floors. Love them and would like to do something similar. Resources please! Thank you!

  • I have a short term vacation rental and our goal is to find winter renters (snow birds) for the winter. I’ve struggled with the renters not understanding the fees, paying and then backing out within a day or two. They are all older. The younger are easy but I can’t figure out a solution. Also finding a cleaning company that will leave it ready for guests.

  • Have you looked into the history of this house? It looks like a Sears home to me. I have friends in Butte Montana that has homes with similar ages and the layout is practically identical to their home, which is a Sears home. Fun tidbit if you can figure out if it is!

    • Interesting. I’ve never heard of a “Sears home” before. I’ll have to see if I can learn more about that.

  • What a gorgeous place! I love a good renovation and can’t wait to see how this one progresses. Good luck with the reno and please share lots as you go x

  • Wow – I have a friend that lives in the same neighborhood and that is a carbon copy of her floor plan minus the bonus room in the back and she doesn’t have a second floor. I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  • Would love to hear your experience with airbnb – ive been wanti g to do something but cant seem to get the numbers to work out when you add in managent costs etc

  • Hi there! Candice, from Chicago here! I’m currently working on decorating and opening an Airbnb in the Asheville, NC area. Do you have any tips on creating a welcome guide for guests? I’m really struggling in this area, and have guests arriving beginning May 1st. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

  • This house has so much potential! Love the wooden floors and that beautiful little bathroom!

  • I grew up in a 1920’s house. My parents bought it in the 70s and still live there. It has the same tall baseboards, window and door trims, and the big arch between rooms. So cool to see so many similarities since my childhood house is in NY.

  • I can’t wait to see the transformation!!!! (And to be neighbors?!?!) SO excited for you guys.

  • 1. Please, tell me all the things about short term rentals. We just bought a house on the Oregon Coast that will be our part time second residence/rental! I want to hear and see all the things.

    2. So stoked about this project! I have wished you would do this ever since you moved to Nashville. Hahaha…. It will be so great to stay here when I come back home for visits. The hotels in SPFD are meh and the few air bnbs that I have stayed in there have been similarly meh. It’s going to be so nice to be near friends and downtown!!

  • This is so cute! It has so much potential for cute decorating. I cannot wait to see how you decorate it. Also, I love the name! Thanks for sharing, hope you are having a great day.


  • Hi! Love the house! Could you share the living room gray paint reference number? It’s super cute! Thanks!

    • We are actually going to paint over it. It is cute though, just not what we are going for. It was the previous owner’s choice so I don’t know the name or reference number.

  • Yes definitely interested in hearing about the business side of owning short term rentals! Do guests like that the place is already furnished? How long are your leases?

  • Can’t wait to see what you guys do with this place! Looks like it has really good bones.

  • Please say you’ll keep the curved arch between the fireplace living room and the bedroom/den option! I think arched doors would be awesome!

    • Check our Stories (probably in highlights now as I posted it yesterday) … I think you’ll be happy.


  • Yes, please write the behind the scenes post! Also, how do you determine if there is a market for a short-term rental? Springfield, MO doesn’t seem like a huge destination spot to me (although I’ll admit that I know practically nothing about Missouri); how do you determine if it makes sense to convert a property into a short-term rental rather than long-term?

    • We are def nervous about that too. Our main goal was a place for Elsie and her family to stay when they visit (which is often) so that’s really why we chose this market. I am very curious to see how often it rents out… it’s honestly pretty nerve-wrecking in a way. A long term rental would be a much safer investment option in some ways. But we’ll see!

  • ahhh i love the ceilings on that bathroom! i work in a preschool and since the upstairs will be mainly used by kids how fun would it be to do miniature everything?! lower sink that you wouldn’t have to use a step stool on, hang the mirrors low, low shower nozzle, tiny potty, hooks low! play it up like alice in wonderland and some where that the adults feel like giants! lol

  • PLEASE do the post about short term rentals! Or multiple posts! It would be so helpful + fascinating

  • Ha! I really like the little bathroom upstairs – I love when houses have quirky rooms like that. Great place, can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  • Would love to hear more about short term rentals! We have been renting out our attic studio apartment via airbnb for the past year and I’d love more tips and tricks!

  • I’d love a post on your experience with short term rentals and what you’ve learned!

  • What a cute house! You have so many nice details to work with. I would LOVE a post about the business of AirBnbs. It’s definitely something I’m interested in pursuing in the next few years.

  • I would love a post about Airbnb laws, etc. And congrats on this new venture!

    • It’s on Weller. We’ll post the listing / address when it’s available to rent (we are clearly not done yet… ha). But if you see me around the neighborhood and want to check it out just say hi. I’m there in and out most days, checking in on things.

      We are hoping to have an open house for the local neighborhood once it’s finished but we’ll see. We also have an event we’re planning for October that will be open to the public as well… assuming we can pull it off. 🙂

  • I am always fascinated by the behind the scenes of how something works and the business side of things so I’d love to read a post on all that you mentioned about how doing a rental has been for you guys! This house is great by the way and I can see why you chose it. I’m sure it’ll be a lovely place to stay once you are finished with it!!

  • Yes, please post about your insights and discoveries on renting! We don’t get to hear that side of the story often.

    That last bathroom is making me claustrophobic! I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  • You mentioned updating the ceiling in one of the rooms, but will you update the ceilings in the other rooms? Are some of those popcorn ceilings? What’s your opinion on those?

    • Hi! We don’t like popcorn, but our budget doesn’t allow for skim coating the entire house. So we chose a few rooms where the ceiling is more of a feature and we’re leaving the rest. 🙂

      • Hi Elsie! My husband and I took on a flip project right out of college on a 1960’s home and scraped all of the popcorn ceilings ourselves. It’s kind of messy, but really not very difficult, and made such a difference! We then bought a texture gun and resurfaced the ceilings ourselves as well. Other than the cost of paint, I’d say we spent less than $100 to resurface all of the ceilings in a 3,000 square foot house. But it’s also a major pain, so I understand if you want to just leave it be.

      • Like Katie said, scraping the ceilings yourself is really not that bad! We wrapped up the last of the removal of popcorn in our house just before Christmas last year. In all, we removed roughly 1400sqft of popcorn and instead of retexturing, opted to leave the ceilings smooth.

        It is work, but it isn’t hard work. If you (or anyone else reading this) decides to do it, make sure you get an asbestos test first, there’s lots of mail-in companies that do it inexpensively (I think we spent $20). Then for the removal, there’s tons of tutorials out there, just make sure you have a good respirator mask that is rated for fine particulates.

  • What a charming house! The crazy low ceiling of that 3rd bathroom just makes me giggle hahaha. I’m excited to follow along on the renovation!

  • Definitely a house with good bones! Looking forward to seeing the end results! I can’t say info on short term rentals would be something that I will ever need to reference, but I’d still be interested to learn about it. It’s interesting to see the business side of things sometimes.

  • Yes, I would love to hear about your experiences with short term rentals!

  • This house is going to be fantastic – it’s so big with great potential! I grew up in a 800 square foot house and my brother and I had bedrooms with ceilings similar to the upstairs bathroom – not ideal. Can’t wait to see the kitchen reno especially!

  • I’d love a post about your experience owning and renting AirBnBs! It fun to see the before and after’s, but I’d love to hear more of the business side. Things you’ve learned and would suggest to other people wanting to do the same.

    • Great to know! We’ve def been thinking on this and wondered if it would be too ‘boring’ of a post since we mostly share very visual content. Thanks for asking, we are always curious what ppl want to read. 🙂

      • I would love to see a post like that too! It definitely would not be boring at all. So interesting! Can’t wait to see what y’all do with the space, it looks like it’s going to be great.

        • Me too! We eventually want to get into renting part of our home when we are gone for extended stays. Thanks for the tips!

  • Love this house, very cute! Cannot wait to see what you guys do with it as always. Would love to have a post in the future about short term / AirBnb rentals too.

  • Beautiful! I can see why it’s called the holiday house, haha. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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