Design / Hosting Tips / Interviews

Airbnb Design Interview | The Vitamin Sea Beach Retreat

Amber shares her unique Airbnb design process and vision. I first came across The Vitamin Sea Beach Retreat when I started seeing her dreamy images on Instagram. I wanted to see, stay and learn more!

Airbnb host Amber Robertson has created an Airbnb oasis in Encinitas, Ca. Her newly built coastal modern farmhouse has stunning exterior & interior design. Guests can enjoy the charming surf of Encinitas town vibe with Stonesteps Beach & Moonlight Beach only a short stroll away.

Her Airbnb features a chef’s kitchen, indoor/outdoor living with an 18’ La Cantina door, hot tub, fire table, BBQ, outdoor shower, RAD e-bikes, and the most amazing coffee bar I’ve ever seen!

I’ve carefully curated the design and amenities to marry form and function, and make it easy to travel light but still have everything you need and want.  


I’ve interviewed Amber who is a homesteader, Mama, and Airbnb Host. She’s sharing her design inspiration and renovation journey and so many helpful tips with us today! As an Airbnb host who dove in and followed her own design style, we can learn so much from her! You’ll find so many inspiring Airbnb design tips in this interview!

Airbnb Host Interview: Amber Robertson, Vitamin Sea Beach Retreat, Encinitas, CA

Airbnb Design

A little bit of history

I worked with our architect on the design of the house. Technically it was a renovation, as we had to keep 50% of the original framing, but really that was a technicality to make it an easier permit process. It went from a single-story 1200 square-foot bungalow built in 1939 to a 2-story 2000 square-foot modern farmhouse in 2022. None of the rooms are in their original spots. We had some limitations on the footprint of the house because we needed to maintain 50% of the original framing. I taught myself CAD so I could visually try out different layouts within that footprint. Very helpful when it came time to lay out furniture and shop as well.

Airbnb Design

Did you do the Interior Design Yourself?

Aside from the architecture, I did all of the design – finishes as well as furniture and decor. This was my first time designing a whole house, and it was a LOT of fun. We lived in the house for 3 years and started planning the reno for ourselves in 2018, but when Covid hit we bought 5 acres nearby to fulfill a longtime dream of homesteading, and to have more space for working remotely and homeschooling.

Airbnb Design

How did bring your Airbnb design vision to life?

I spent SO much time during construction shopping at various stores and taking photos, measurements, etc. Order fabric samples for major furniture you’re planning to buy so you can see those in person, and keep them with you to coordinate with throw pillows, blankets, etc. Create vision boards for the whole house and each room in Canva or something similar. This really helps when you’re shopping to make sure what you’re selecting works with your other colors, materials, shapes, etc.

What are your best tips to start an Airbnb design process?

Airbnb Design

How Many DIY projects did you tackle?

As far as DIY goes… not really. I designed the spaces, including the panel/ledge wall in the master bedroom, but it was completed by the contractors during the reno. However I am a big DIYer, and I’m thinking of doing a feature wall in the upstairs 2nd king bedroom sometime soon. My husband and I did put cedar boards on the old faux garage doors of the guesthouse. Not sure if that counts. When we move to short term on the main house that will be rented separately (still as a mid-term)

Airbnb Design

You have a Floorplan in your listing photos. What kind of planner did you use?

Learn how to use some software to create a floorplan (or have one created for you), so you can try different furniture layouts, and have an idea of what size and shape of pieces you’re looking for. RoomSketcher is a good one, and you can hire them to create your floorplan from the plans you send them, pretty inexpensively and quickly. They also have a library of furniture you can work with. You can also use that floorplan later on in your listing, to help guests see how the house is laid out.

Airbnb Design

How did you keep track of expenses?

Create a spreadsheet to keep track of every single item you need to buy for your property. I had 2 or 3 columns for each item, with options that were budget, moderate, or higher end, so I could go through and try different combinations to stay within my budget. Be sure to create one for consumables you’ll be stocking, too.

How much do quality furnishings matter in your Airbnb design?

It’s very possible to value engineer your design and furnishings so that a lot of it is good quality but relatively inexpensive, and then have a few things that really elevate the space and might cost a bit more. That goes for design and amenities. And finally, be sure to join Minoan and HostGPO for incredible discounts on all of the furnishings you’ll be buying. Using them has saved me many thousands of dollars and allowed me to use much higher quality pieces than I otherwise would have been able to.

Do you have some tips for those who are ready to follow their Airbnb design dreams?

Spend a lot of time on Pinterest, creating boards of what you like, in the context of the house you’re designing. Hopefully, some common themes will emerge, and you can get an idea of the style and color scheme you want to use. If you’re not super confident in your design skills, I would limit yourself to 3 colors that you see together often in your collection of pins, and use those as your base color scheme. Also – go to furnishing stores and take photos of things you like.

Be brave and have fun with the design process! You can check out Amber’s Vitamin Sea Beach Resort here!

P.s If you are listing an Airbnb this year, MammaMode is an Airbnb Ambassador!

I’m here as your seasoned Superhost friend, to walk you step-by-step through everything you need to know from starting up, furnishing, photography, listing description, and everything in between.With Mammamode, you’ll learn how to get to the top of the Airbnb Ranking and how to maximize your earnings, promote your Airbnb, and troubleshoot any issues. Click this link to sign up to host on Airbnb and feel free to ask me any questions!

Airbnb Design

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