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Erena Te Paa shares her secrets to creating the ultimate Airbnb

Article by Homes to Love

Packed with clean, modern style, this Airbnb provides the ultimate interior inspiration. Erena Te Paa tells us how she created a breezy, relaxing guest retreat

The allure of Erena and Joe Te Paa’s Hamilton Airbnb, Akitō Studio, is undeniable. Akitō translates from Māori as “to be slow”, and with a large outdoor tub with views across the gully, a sweeping bed and a beautiful, relaxing vibe, that’s exactly what you feel like doing here.

Converting their outhouse into a one-bedroom studio Airbnb was merely a way to help Erena and Joe fund their home renovation.

But it’s clear Erena doesn’t do things by half.

She’s transformed the once dilapidated space into a studio packed with style. The secret ingredient? Replacing the small windows with two large glass sliding doors, which let in all the light and provide enviable views across the gully.

Second-hand pieces

Erena is a self-described “upcycler by nature”, so naturally she sourced most of the furniture for Akitō Studio from Trade Me, including the coffee table, dining table, chairs and armchair.

“I tried to stick to light colours and furniture that wasn’t too bulky to help give it a sense of light and space,” she says.

Bigger ticket items such as the outdoor bath, bed and cabinet she got custom made in Bali. “I only meant to source the bath but got a little carried away,” she says. “Having said that, I have no regrets, it really is such a treat to relax in.”

Becoming the ultimate Airbnb host

It didn’t take long for Erena’s Airbnb listing to get promoted to Airbnb Plus (a rating given by Airbnb that acknowledges places with a consistently high level of accommodation and hosting).

“It gives us something to be proud of, but at the same time I believe that you’re only as good as your last review, so there is a level of responsibility there to try and uphold that rating as well,” she says. 

It took a bit of research to familiarise herself with what guests expect from an Airbnb. She found, regardless of what type of accommodation, everyone appreciates a few simple things, and top of that list is clean linen, followed closely by cleanliness in general.

In fact, one of the biggest lessons she’s learnt from being an Airbnb host is “you can never have too much linen”, she says. But also that vinegar is great for getting towels fluffy again (they don’t smell afterwards) and that the kitchen should always have the staples.

Resetting the Airbnb for the next guest has become like a well-oiled machine. Erena says she now has refills of soap and shampoo ready to go and a checklist to make sure everything gets done.

Words by: Bea Taylor. Photography by: Bayly & Moore, Kristy Dawn

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