Name: Joey, aka "Joey the Cat"
Location: Mission District of San Francisco, CA
Size: 747 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years; owned
Years hosting on Airbnb: Over 5 years
The moment you walk into "Joey the Cat's" Mission District loft, you feel like you were just granted access to a secret world where you're allowed to have fun, even though you are a fully grown adult. It's sophisticated, it's modern, it's bold, and right in front of the big beautiful front windows is a giant skeeball machine right out of your childhood.
Some people say that no matter how busy you are, you'll find a way to make time for what's important to you. And the same can be said about your home – even in the tiniest of houses, you tend to make space for the things you care most about. The great part about experiencing someone else's home is that you get to walk into a totally different experience than you might create yourself, and feel just a little bit of what it would be like to be them.
Joey started using Airbnb 5 years ago, when he lived in a much smaller apartment (but in which there was still, of course, room for his Skeeball machine). He rented out his "couch or his Skeeball machine" for $40 a night, and when the enthusiasm caught on, it encouraged him to continue building what is now a booming arcade-rental business (he now owns 35 restored vintage Skeeball machines that he rents out all over San Francisco & LA).
Does he believe in home-sharing? Without a doubt, he says. For him, meeting guests from all over the world who love his style has ignited a love for travel, encouraged his passion, and filled his home with more manifestations of what a life of creativity, entrepreneurial pursuit, and commitment to fun can bring.
What would it be like to wake up, make some coffee, play a little Skeeball, and roll out the door on your bike to go to a job you love? Spend a night in SF and find out. Maybe being an adult can be more fun than we thought.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: A combination of modern yet playful with a side of creativity.
Inspiration: I’m inspired by my dad who is an architect and has always inspired me to build, create and be resourceful.
How/Why Did You Decide To Host on Airbnb? I decided to become a host on Airbnb when I saw the opportunity that I could live/travel vicariously through my guests. When I started hosting, I had never left the country and Airbnb provided an opportunity for me to experience the perspective of different countries and cultures through my guests. It was a new idea to rent out my space to people I didn’t know but Airbnb made it very easy for me to get to know them before they arrived. We would have lengthy chat conversations before they arrive and their profiles were verified so I had no concerns!
Do you rent out a shared room, private room, or your entire home/apartment? When I started, I was renting out my couch at my first apartment. Eventually I rented out the entire apartment and now I rent out my entire loft when I host.
Favorite Element: My favorite element has to be the Skeeball machine. It’s the signature of my loft and the ultimate convo starter.
Biggest Challenge: Organization.
Proudest DIY: The 16’ sliding curtain panels. They’re designed with a fabric from spoonflower.com that’s a yellow plus (+) pattern on a grey base. It represents the directional pad of an arcade game controller and the sun which they block when I slide them closed. It was a huge challenge to get incredibly tall panels and still have them be functional so I could open and close them.
What Friends Say: “Your place is fun, let’s play some Skeeball!”
How long have you been hosting? Over 5 years!
What kind of guests have you had? Any you keep in touch with? I’ve hosted some very interesting guests! One actually enjoyed staying at my place so much that he became a roommate for a couple months. Another guest wanted to hire me to become the CEO of his company that he started in the US even though he was based in Germany (didn’t take the job but still a cool opportunity). A bunch of guests have stayed in touch and reach back out when they’re in town or post on my Facebook wall when they see cool Skeeball-related stuff.
Biggest Embarrassment: Probably the pink couch. I was dead set on a specific type of couch and needed to have it since I had a guest coming to stay and I had already given my old couch away. Ikea said they had the couch in stock in a specific color and when we got there, it was only available in pink….so there’s that.
Biggest Indulgence: My Keetsa mattress is my biggest indulgence. A $1300 mattress is not cheap but my philosophy is that I spend a HUGE chunk of my time sleeping so I might as well invest in something I know will last!
When do you host? I typically host travelers when they’re coming to San Francisco for business trips. My place is available when I’m traveling or when I need the extra income.
Would you recommend others to host on Airbnb? Why? Yes definitely! Not only is it an amazing community of travelers, it’s a unique way for you to re-invigorate your space to be welcoming and extra livable. I love cleaning my space, getting it ready for guests, designing elements that I know both my guests and I will love.
Have you ever been an Airbnb guest? If so, where? Yes, I’ve traveled on Airbnb in Berlin, Barcelona, London, Prague, Paris, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz.
What is your hosting style? How do you interact with your guests? I love to set up my guests to fully enjoy the space! From welcoming them when they arrive, to giving Skeeball lessons and fun things to do in the neighborhood.
What has been the most surprising thing about being an Airbnb host? How many interesting, unique, and respectful travelers are out there!
What have you done with your funds from hosting? I’ve reinvested a lot of my earnings directly back into improving my space. I’ve also used the funds to travel. Lastly, I’ve purchased more Skeeball machines and built my business with the funds I’ve earned. I now own 35 Skeeball machines and have an entire events business as a by-product of being a host on Airbnb.
Best Advice: Don’t be afraid to create something unique for your space. Use spray paint, use a 3d printer, find a friend with a laser cutter or just grab some tools and get your hands dirty. You can make it happen!
DINING AND KITCHEN ROOM:
Photography: Kim Lucian
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