Airbnb Hosting / Interviews

Airbnb Hosts | Britt and Damian: OHI Beachhouse

OHI Beachhouse (O H I : Means To Gather)

Nestled near a gorgeous, vast beach, you will find the stunning OHI Beachhouse in New South Wales, Australia. Airbnb hosts Britt and her husband Damian have created an oasis that channels a relaxing and modern vibe. A place for all to gather by the sea. This inspiring renovated beach house is situated in Casuarina Beach, between Byron Bay & Burleigh Heads.

These Airbnb hosts offer an open plan large property just a short block and a half walk to the beach. The house has a stunning magnesium swimming pool, a generous backyard with a fire pit, as well as a cubby house, fitted out with a loft and festoon lighting for the kids to hang day & night! Which has been featured as one of the world’s most breathtaking playhouses by the UK Daily Mail.

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I’ve had to chance to interview Britt and Damian and they have shared so much rich and valuable advice for other Airbnb hosts. Britt is originally from California and has definitely brought a clean and modern look to her Airbnb design. It’s no wonder the Ohi Guesthouse is often booked for photo shoots!

OHI Guesthouse – The Interview

1. How did you guys meet?

I met my husband Damian waaay back in 2006 on a night out in Melbourne through friends. I was living there working as cabin crew for the airlines. My flatmate was dating his friend at the time and she kept telling me I needed to meet Damian ( she thought he was my type)  but, I just didn’t want to be set up with anyone … it was about a month I resisted meeting him, then, he came out and met us one night …let’s just say there was a dance off, a kiss and the rest in history. She was right!

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2. What drew you to the Casuarina Beach area?

We wanted to live on the coast, my husband works out of Burleigh Heads and we were living in Brisbane for a few years while he commuted down to Burleigh ( about an hour commute south). We wanted to choose somewhere closer to his work … we didn’t want to be in the heart of the Gold Coast and we couldn’t be as far as Byron Bay which I adore. Casuarina beach is only 20 minutes from Burleigh Heads, just over the Queensland border into Northern NSW. It’s a beautiful little pocket where the farm meets the beach … quiet with rolling green hills of farmland and mountains in the back as well as gorgeous secluded surf beaches to explore. It’s a great zone for families.

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3. Why did you decide to renovate your house, and become Airbnb hosts?

We decided to renovate this property because it had good bones and was in the right location … when we first pulled up out the front of this house it was purple and green with many corrugated iron “features”. My husband said “hell no”. However, I saw past all that straight away …  it was a generous, flat block only about 5 houses from the ocean, it backed onto a quiet parkland, the bedrooms were large and it had a really good feel about it with it’s indoor / outdoor design. Damian is incredible handy, in fact we call him “superman” at home so I knew what he was capable of.

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4. What was your favorite part of the design process?

Seeing the glass hallway go in. That was a huge structural change … that area was all outdoor beforehand, so, it really changed so much with our design. We also didn’t officially have a front door at first, there were just bi-fold doors on the deck so, this created a lot more privacy and extended our inner living. The kids are always running up and down that hallway now haha.

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4. What does your ideal weekend spent in Casuarina Beach look like?

We normally have a never-ending stream of friends and family which is so much fun, but, if it’s just us we do a Friday night movie, which is in our backyard these days with our new projector followed by pajamas, popcorn and wine … the days tend to be a swim in the creek or a day at our favorite nearby beach Cabarita, we love finishing off the weekend up at Cabarita Headland eating fish and chips out the back of one of our cars with blankets overlooking the ocean.

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5. What extra amenities do you provide as Airbnb hosts, that guests have appreciated the most?

I always provide a Farm and Co voucher, this enables guests to go and have an “experience”. They can collect the most delicious sourdough bread/coffee/organic produce or put the voucher towards a walk through their sunflower fields or a meal at their beautiful cafe.

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6. Your property looks perfect for families with small children. What extra amenities do you provide for parents/kids to make their vacation amazing?

I always provide highchairs, baskets of toys and books. We have little wooden belly boards by Hughies Boards that are so awesome, there is a full chalk board wall in our daughters room as well as our cubby house with it’s mezzanine inside for playing and relaxing as a kids zone.

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7. Your Instagram account has a wonderful mix of interior photos and the gorgeous beaches nearby; do you find having a solid social media presence has increased your bookings as Airbnb Hosts?

I really do think it’s has helped …I’m not big on the whole social media thing and I’m very horrible at using technology, but, it’s how business works these days. It has been a fun creative outlet for me though as I do really love photography and styling. I’m hoping my social media is relatable and tells our story. I feel like people can connect with it.

8. Any advice on hosting your home on Airbnb and raising children within the same property?

I call our garage “The Pit” …it is unavailable to guests, and it goes anything I haven’t had time for … laundry waiting for me when I get home, not very aesthetically pleasing toys, gardening tools and various items. I also lock off two of our closets with cable ties and only have a linen closet accessible. We use a laundromat for our guest linen as we have two sets of everything. I have a great house cleaner and a glass cleaner. I have tried to do all the cleaning myself and it really is impossible with the kids in tow.

Make sure you budget for these kinds of overheads when pricing your property. We are also now getting taxed 25% of our profits, so, that is also something to consider when budgeting. This year we have had so much interest in our 2 night stays which has been wonderful, but, I found it really too challenging for our kids. So, I have now put our minimum up to 4-night stays which is less disruptive for them.

9. Your home definitely channels a relaxing and modern vibe. What effect were you going for when designing your home?

Exactly that! Haha We just wanted it to have a modern yet, relaxed feel – not “too beachy”, but, cohesive and minimal. I wouldn’t say I have a specific style, but, I love textures, a soft palette and I style to set a “tone”.

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10. When decorating a room, what do you usually start with first?

I don’t have something I start with first … there is normally a piece that I have had my eyes on for a while and then I will style the room around that piece. Eg. An artwork or our couch from Jardan

11. What are your favorite places to shop for home décor?

My Dreamteam would be Jardan, Pampa & Pop and Scott all Australian designers … however, I am on the look out for some American artists as I grew up in California around Sonoma County & Carmel California. I would love to feature some art and pieces from the places I spent time in over there.

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12. What’s your favorite room in your home and why? Which room do you spend the most time in?

My favourite room would have to be on the deck overlooking the pool in one of our butterfly chairs … I sneak off there in the morning with my coffee to call my family in California while the kids are still asleep and enjoy the view and the peacefulness. However, in reality the room I spend the most time in is the kitchen or laundry haha.

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13. Your home features some gorgeous elements: natural wood, clean lines and tropical plants, no wonder it’s rented often for photo shoots. What was the thought process behind all these beautiful elements?

We just really love lush greenery as a backdrop, we talk waaay too much about plants and the garden … I have completely lost my husband to our yard! Damian has a soft spot for timber as the son of a builder and we just appreciate natural elements.

14. Tell us more about the unique artwork in your home.

We have featured local artists to Northern NSW Emma Gale and Jordanna Henry as well as Renee Enoka from the Gold Coast. We are still on the look out for more as we have some blank walls that need filling, but, I don’t rush into these things and  will wait for the right piece to come along.

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photo by Renee Enoka

15. Why did you decide to put your home on Airbnb?

To fuel my love of travel. I was a flight attendant for 11 years and I truly miss it … this enables us to pop some extra cash aside for the dream holidays and experiences we would like to take our kids on as well as obviously visit our family overseas more.

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16. What advice would you give to Airbnb hosts just starting out?

Reach out to as many other people doing it, you will be surprised how forthcoming they are about the finer details! It can be all so overwhelming! You will get into a rhythm eventually and it can be incredible lucrative. I have two very good friends that are also Air bnb hosts that have helped me navigate my way through this crazy new world, friends are everything!

@ohibeachhouse ( to follow their Instagram account)

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