Romantic, historic — West Main Street Airbnb in high demand

Published 6:51 pm Thursday, March 21, 2019

Some readers might remember the October 2017 homes feature about Apartments on Main 1, then a new Airbnb/VRBO rental on West Main Street. After two years of renovation and restoration, Apartments on Main 2 has joined the fold of unique places to stay in downtown Washington — and it’s been in high demand.

“This one has stayed booked solid,” owner Felicia Huggins said. “As soon as it hit the market, it was like booked. Booked. Booked.”

Huggins is the owner of Salon 208, located on the first floor of the building; her husband, Wayne, is a contractor. With their combined skills of design, décor and construction, the couple has brought the circa-1900 building back to life.

Featuring an airy, open living/dining and kitchen area, a full bath and two bedrooms — one queen, one king — the rental is both homey and spacious, modern and rustic.

FIT FOR A QUEEN: Hardwood floors, a restored antique bed and exposed brick wall continue the modern rustic feel of Apartments on Main 2. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

It also took a lot of work.

In 2017, the space was gutted. The roof had leaked for many years; damage from a fire in the 1960s had never been repaired. Previous owners just let it be, and the destruction caused by time, neglect and the elements resulted in destroyed walls, floors and systems.

“We had to do everything,” Huggins said.

Everything included reinforcing the roof, replacing all plumbing and electrical work, leveling an 8-inch drop from the east side of the building to the west, move walls, replace walls, install hardwood floors and more.

“This one was a bear compared to the other one. This one was an, ‘OK. Let’s put some love back into this building,’” Huggins laughed.

HARD TO BELIEVE: Eighteen months ago, Apartments on Main 2 was a crumbling mess — the kiddie pool had been placed there by a previous owner to catch water from a leaking roof. Today, it features a king-size rice bed owner Felicia Huggins restored, along with a framed-out section of the original brick wall as a backdrop. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

Love it has — in spades. When Huggins appeared as a vendor at the Bridal Expo held Feb. 26 at the Washington Civic Center, she walked away with 12 bookings for the second apartment.

“Brides love it. I’ve had a lot of brides; a lot of people taking pictures here,” she said.

The colors — soft grays, blues, off-whites — and the architectural details lend it that romanticism, along with the couple’s intent to restore what they could to keep the historic feel of the building. Transom windows hang above the doors to the bedrooms. Each bedroom wall features a framed-out portion of the building’s exterior brick wall, an eye-catching backsplash and peek into the past. Combined with the farmhouse-inspired décor are three Smart TVs with cable and internet, walk-in closet with washer and dryer, a 600-square-foot deck with gas grill and a fully equipped kitchen.

“I wanted it to have all the comforts of home,” Huggins said.

FARMHOUSE MODERN: A tin backsplash over granite countertops meld past and present style. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

The appeal of such a space reaches beyond those in town for their nuptials. Huggins said she’s hosted several corporate guests, in town for extended business; both locals and new residents who’ve either sold or purchased a new home and need a short-term stay option; and those who are scouting the area for a potential permanent relocation.

What’s been most surprising to Huggins, however, is the number of people who have booked a stay simply for a quick getaway.

“I think Washington, with all the restaurants and other stuff coming — people just want to come for a weekend away,” Huggins said.

With a five-star rating on both Airbnb and VRBO, those getaway stays were very enjoyable at Apartments on Main.

IN THE DETAILS: Little touches, such as a vase with flowers and a complimentary bottle of wine with your stay, make the gut-renovated rental a hit with guests. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)