For over a century, the property on the corner of Crocker and 7th Street in Templeton served as a place of worship.
But in July 2022, after some major renovations, the property reopened as Church Huis, a vacation stay operated by Hacienda Vacation Rentals.
Kelly Cook, Templeton banker and owner of Church Huis, said she was investing in property next door for ‘retirement purposes’ and wanted to find a way to fit an Airbnb into a space that was not being used for residential housing.
“It was originally a church and was vacant for quite a while so I bought it and turned it into a vacation rental so everyone could enjoy Templeton town center in all its glory,” Cook said.
Prior to the renovations, the property was “quite worn down” and had been vacant for an unknown amount of time, Cook said.
Cook said the building is made up of a single structure that was expanded over its lifetime, starting as a small pioneer house in the late 1890s or early 1900s before eventually adding the larger structure. of the church, which greatly expanded the building’s footprint and added features like a bell tower, sanctuary, and side offices.
The Pioneer House and church additions have been completely renovated with new interior structure, paint and walls, dividing the worship space into an open living room and kitchen on the church side of the house , while new walls were used to create chambers where over was the sanctuary, Cook said.
The pioneer and church dwellings are connected by double doors and the building can be rented out entirely or as two individual units.
Airbnb still has the characteristics of a church
Despite its new destination, the property has retained several key features of the old church, including its stained glass windows.
Outside, the building has a deep backyard and garden, while the back wall of the house is decorated with a mural of tulips, which Cook says have strong ties to the history of his house. family.
“‘Huis’ is Dutch for ‘home’ and my family immigrated from Holland,” Cook said.
Interior decorations came from wherever Cook could find them, she said, including Amazon, Goodwill and vintage stores, while Cook enlisted volunteers to help with furniture.
“I have a husband, but he has a business and a full-time job, so he’s never been here. So my grandkids and I put (everything) together,” Cook said.
In total, the house has five bedrooms and three bathrooms between the pioneer and church portions of the building, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms in the church house and two bedrooms and one bathroom in the pioneer house.
Hacienda Vacation Rentals owner Melissa Crandall, who manages Church Huis as well as 16 other rentals in San Luis Obispo County, said working with Cook was a “property manager’s dream.”
Crandall said Cook did all the renovation and decorating herself, and just a week and a half after they first met, Church Huis was ready to open.
“Having a growing business, you want to be selective with properties that you know will do well,” she said. “Kelly’s property is historic so it’s a really unique label, and also the way she decorated it (and) the way she upgraded the house and the location is just a perfect vacation rental for everybody. We were lucky to have it when we did.
Templeton property performing well as a rental
The property has done well despite opening in midsummer, a time that Crandall says is relatively quiet in the vacation rental space because most summer vacation plans have already been made.
Cook and Crandall met through another Hacienda Vacation Rentals client. As partners, Cook owns the property and bears many of the operational costs, while Crandall said she takes care of the property and meets her guests.
“As the owner, Kelly is very responsive to the feedback we receive and she is willing to do whatever she can to help us with the best feedback and the best vacation stay that our guests could want,” said Crandall. .
All rentals are booked through the home’s Airbnb and VRBO pages, where prices can fluctuate depending on the time of year and the amount of accommodation a guest decides to book.
Cook said the building’s unique history helped make its first month of availability a success.
“People want that ‘bucket list stay’ — they want to stay somewhere they’ve never been before,” Cook said. “To say that you came to the coast or to Paso (Robles) to taste wine is already a lot, but to stay in a church? People seem to like it.”
This story was originally published August 22, 2022 11:19 a.m.