From the moment we’re born we’re given a unique and important skill—the ability to look at just about any box-shaped edifice and think, this could be the perfect hideout/fort/sanctuary for me and my friends. Brandon Parsons carried this imaginative spirit into adulthood, setting his sights on a 400-square-foot tiny home located in downtown St. Augustine. Filled with nostalgia, Parsons looked past the itty-bitty bungalow’s rotting wood exterior to imagine something reminiscent of the palaces of adventure that we create as children.
A Flagler College graduate with an affinity for the coastline, Parsons set out to transform the neglected rental property into a quirky Airbnb with surf-shack flair. Undoubtedly, he’s created an uncommon getaway within the city’s historic district.
What made you think that this would be successful as a vacation rental?
I manage other people’s vacation rentals and most of them are a condo or a house, pretty standard properties. I saw a trend that quirky, unique homes were getting more bookings just because they stood out. I thought that the fact that it was so small could potentially be a positive to people wanting to stay there. I honestly think if it was bigger, it wouldn’t be as successful.
Who has your clientele been so far?
We have a ton of rentals that are one or two nights, so it’s a quick weekend, a business trip, or just a day to visit St. Augustine. We’ve had honeymooners, people getting engaged, people on their wedding staying there. Typically it’s the younger generation that wants something quirky as opposed to a hotel room. There have been a couple people I think that are more hotel people and their review is something like ‘Ehhh, maybe just stay in a hotel.’ Probably 90 percent love it and say it’s a great spot.
You and your wife Haley did most of the renovations. How did your personalities influence the buildout and decor?
For me, it’s a bit of a throwback to childhood, almost as if you could build a fort as a kid, how would you set it up? It gave me an opportunity to throw in some things that probably wouldn’t have been done traditionally. Then Haley, her input was to see my crazy ideas and make them actually work.
Are there any plans as far as renovations in the future or any changes that you would like to make?
I do have this crazy idea that I want to build a structure in the back and make it even quirkier and more unique. There’s a lot of room on the lot so I kind of toyed with putting something on the back, either a tree house or some sort of tall skinny structure that could be a separate unit. That’s kind of my future next phase, potentially, so we’ll see how that goes. I think it’d be an adventure.