How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager
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Checklist.jpg

Hello everyone, 

 

As time passes, you probably will experience a moment when you'd want to work on making changes to your listing and homes. 

 

New furniture here, fresh paint there, and new photos to reflect those changes to your home. From small changes to big changes, we've all been through it, most likely. 

 

I can remember seeing some lovely listings of the Hosts on the CC when I started (almost 5 years ago), and it made me wonder how much your listings have changed 😊.  

 

How much has your listing changed, from when you started Hosting? I know there are some super creative Hosts such as @Huma0, so I’m really curious to see your responses 👀

 

Feel free to share photos!

 

Quincy

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39 Replies

Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Quincy 

 

Thanks for mentioning me. To be honest, a lot of the work I've had done in the house in the past few years has been focused on repairs and maintenance, because it's never ending in a big old house like mine. Sadly, that means there isn't always the time/budget to do the more creative stuff. I have a lot of decorating plans up my sleeve that are on hold until that leak gets fixed. The leak gets fixed, but then there's a new one to tackle!

 

I think probably the biggest change has been the downstairs bathroom. When I listed, I had two finished bathrooms upstairs, and one downstairs that some terrible builders had completely messed up and no one else wanted to take it on, so that was off limits to guests. I finally admitted defeat and decided to have the whole thing ripped out and start again, but then the good builders I knew were never available. I had to wait a long time, but finally it got done. In the meantime, the boiler and water tank in the small room next door were removed (I had a new energy efficient boiler installed in the kitchen), which meant that room could be converted into a downstairs toilet/cloakroom/powder room/half bath or whatever people call it!

 

I thought I might as well really go for it and put a lot of thought and time into the design of both that and the wet room (shower room) next door. I'm very pleased with the results and guests seem to like them a lot but I've been unable to take any decent photos of them so they're not even shown on the listings. Hopefully, some time soon, I'll get a professional photographer around so that I can add some pictures.

 

More recently, I had the shower in one of the upstairs bathrooms retiled with new shower fittings. This was due to a leak. It looks great, but sadly the other day I found out it's still leaking (long term guest in the room below didn't think to tell me). This is now holding up plans for some redecoration I was planning in that bedroom. And so it goes on, but I'm used to this kind of thing by now.

 

When friends/family used to ask me, "When will your house be finished?" I would reply, "Never. It's an ongoing labour of love." They know not to ask me anymore!

Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear about the leak @Huma0! Sadly, I've had to deal with one as well when I just moved into a new place. They're really awful.... 

 

Your home is lovely (as usual) ❤️. I can't imagine how much time and investment it took you to get it to where it is now. I can still vividly remember some of the images that you shared when you were still due to start renovation! 

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Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Quincy 

 

Thanks for the nice comments! Sorry to hear about your leak. I hope it got sorted without too much hassle.

 

Leaks are the Bain of my life. Even though I did undertake a major renovation when I bought the house, it wasn't long before the first leak appeared and I've been fixing various ones ever since. It's extremely annoying, because of course every time this causes some sort of water damage to renovated rooms that you thought were 'finished'. I am afraid it's just part and parcel of looking after such an old property. As you probably know, it's hard to find good tradespeople in London and, when you do, they are usually fully booked up already. 

 

Hopefully, I'll be able to progress on to some more fun stuff soon, but another priority, apart from dealing with one leak after another, is to try to make the house less draughty before the autumn. I had a carpenter start working on some repairs to draughty windows and doors but, unfortunately, he hurt his hand and is now waiting for physio, so that's on hold for now.

Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
Manly, Australia
Host Advisory Board Member

Hi @Quincy 

 

What an interesting topic to bring up. 

 

I know when I started hosting 10 years ago we started out on a bit of a shoe string and have worked to make our cottage as comfortable as possible. 

 

Some of the things we have added to the cottage over the years have been as a result of listening guests feedback and also thinking what else would we want if we were staying.  We tend to guests who stay for longer periods so they like to unpack fully into a wardrobe and drawers so we added a lovely vintage dresser.  For summer we added beach chairs with handy carry straps, a beach umbrella and a picnic back pack.  We also add in buckets and spades for when children come to stay or visit.   We also changed our outdoor table to a larger one so it was more comfortable for groups of four as we found we were getting more bookings for this number of guests. I also keep my book library up to date and add new books from local authors that I pick up from book fairs.   During covid we realised that we were probably going to continue to get longer bookings so we upgraded our kitchenette to offer a larger fridge freezer and a dishwasher so far the response has been very positive.  We have also done some work in the garden and I now try to have some vegies growing for the season that guests can enjoy. We have a passionfruit plant that has given great fruit this summer and have also had some delicious cabbages.   There are many changes we have implemented as the needs of guests have changed. I remember hearing years ago that guests did not rank tv streaming services as a necessity but these days most guests comment that they love using netflix while staying.  It is interesting seeing the changes over the years.

 

Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Felicity11 

 

That's an interesting point RE listening to guest feedback. I think wardrobe space is a must, even for short term guests, but especially for longer term ones. Personally, I always prefer hanging my clothes rather than completely living out of a suitcase.

 

I've had desks in the guest bedrooms since the beginning and I'm glad because a lot of guests do use these (or ask about it when they enquire), especially these days with more people working or studying remotely. And yes, people's habits RE TV have changed too. I still have a TV with cable in the living room that guests can use, but they never really do. They almost always watch stuff on their devices, but then I am usually hosting solo travellers. Although I have streaming services, I don't find that guests ask for these as they have their own subscriptions.

 

@Quincy 

 

@Felicity11 's reply reminded me of something else that's changed. When the photos of my listings were taken, I'd just had bookshelves built in the living room. They look rather sparse and bare, but are now fully of books and glossy magazines. The empty bookcase in one of the guest bedrooms has now been filled with books. I chose to put in books about travel, British history and English literary classics. In the bedroom that has a wall of bookshelves, I've rearranged them by colour. I know it might sound silly, but most guests don't actually touch the books, so they might as well look aesthetically pleasing given that the bookcase is such a dominant part of the room.

 

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Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
Prescott, AZ
Level 10

@Huma0 

I have see the books arranged by color in the backgrounds on the news when the broadcast is from their home. Yours looks better than some on the news! (I think I see one of my college Art History textbooks in your blue section) 😉

Ted & Chris

Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Ted307 

 

Thank you! I was a bit reluctant to do this as first as I thought is it too much 'style over substance'? After all, it's not the most practical thing if you want to be able to find books easily. However, as guests only occasionally pull out a book from the shelves, I find that this looks a lot less cluttered and it works in this room because, although the bookshelves are grey, the rest of the room is quite colourful.

 

In the living room, which is painted a very pale grey (including the bookshelves) and houses a lot of my magazines (most have white spines), I have tried to stick to books that are white, light grey or pale, neutral tones, but I've still got some tweaking to do!

Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
San Diego, CA
Level 10

So fascinating that you choose books by the colour of the spine to match your walls.  I just can't imagine doing that!

Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Helen56 

 

I think this is only possible because I have a LOT of books, and also a lot of magazines (I work in the magazine industry so it's more than just my hoarding instincts, although there is that too) and a bookshelves in several rooms of the house, so they can be moved around to where they look nicest. 

 

I haven't as yet done this in the smaller bookcase in one of the bedrooms, but I might. Again, guests rarely delve in there (I can tell because nothing ever moves!) so I might as well make it pretty. 

 

I seem to still be able to find a book I'm looking for easily as I have a weirdly good memory for random things like that and a terrible memory for other, more important, things.

 

It might all seem a bit insane, but I am also a stylist by profession so organising things according to aesthetics comes naturally to me, plus a terrible procrastinator. Rearranging books is a great way to avoid more important tasks that you're not in the mood for 🙂 whether that is by colour, alphabetically or whatever. 

 

Recently, a guest did this to the pegs on the clothes airer. I wonder what important task (university assignment? cleaning her room?) she was putting off!

 

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Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
Manly, Australia
Host Advisory Board Member

Hi @Huma0 and @Ted307 

 

I think the books look beautiful arranged in colour however as I am an avid reader I arrange my own books in alphabetical order and category.. I might re think things in the cottage. Also interesting point to note I get a lot of return guests and I try and make sure we have books from local authors that they can read and some even ask me if I have the latest Liane Moriarty or Jane Harper books .. they keep me on my toes. 

 

Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Felicity11 

 

Yes, I agree, if books are being used a lot, it makes sense to arrange them in a more practical way. Previously, that bookshelf was organised by subject for non-fiction and genre/author for fiction, although the different heights within a bookshelf can mess with that a bit! The smaller bookcase in another guest room is still arranged by topic.

 

However, I realised that most guests were not delving into the books that much (my guests are rarely on holiday but rather studying or working) and, as that room already has a lot going on in terms of colour and pattern, and the bookshelves take up a whole wall so are very prominent. Organising them by colour has made it all look calmer and more organised. 

 

What I wouldn't do, which has become a trend, is to arrange books with the spines a the back, like this:

 

bookshelf-styling-tips-sign.jpeg

 

While I can see this is maybe more aesthetically pleasing, for me it's really a case of style over substance and only for people who don't read books!! How on earth would you be able to find anything?! 

Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
Prescott, AZ
Level 10

The spine to the back? That does not even look good, let alone work to help you find a book! Just put some knick-knacks and cute collectables in the shelves, if that is all the use a person has for books! My own books are arranged by subject, they are not so many nice colors as yours @Huma0 !

I am with @Felicity11 , y personal books are arraigned to suit myself! The books i our Bunkhouse have size issues with the shelves, so they are not nearly as nice color- wise, but I have books about hikig, our local Prescott area, birds and local plants, along with popular fiction. Some of our guests do use them!

Chris

Ted & Chris

Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Ted307 

 

In one of my guest rooms, I purposely put travel books (both guides and travel writing/memoirs), classics of English literature and books on British history. I thought these would be interest to guests. However, while the occasional guest (there was one studying Tudor history, another who had recently become a Jane Austen fan but not read all the novels) who enjoyed this, most do not touch the books at all, so I might change that up now too to better suit the decor of the room.

 

Often the colour of the books doesn't look that interesting, but once they are grouped together, they suddenly look nicer. I agree though that your personal books should always be arranged to suit yourself.

 

Knick-knacks and cute collectibles can be useful as book ends and to fill space when you don't have enough books to do so. It also means they are less likely to get broken than if they were displayed on a table or sideboard. However, in my opinion, the books should still be the main focus.

 

What is not to like about books? I am especially obsessed lately with buying second hand and vintage books rather than new. Some of them are quite beautiful and it's just better from a sustainability point of view. I love that sometimes they have little messages or notes written on them and that sense of history. If bought at charity shops and flea markets, they can be a fraction of the price of new ones, especially if they are not in perfect condition (providing they are not rare, collectible items).

Re: How much has your listing changed from when you started hosting?

in
Prescott, AZ
Level 10

I love books! But I have more kick-knacks on our shelves.

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Ted & Chris
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