Well, we’re almost at exactly a year of hosting an Airbnb on the Rappahannock River! We bought the cottage in September 2021, spent the fall doing renovations, went live on the platform last year on November 26 for an opening date of December 13.
It’s been an amazing year and we’ve met so many incredible people. I’ve written two posts on hosting on Airbnb, but I thought today I’d actually spend some time introducing you to the cottage. That’s something I realize I’ve never actually done. I’ve talked about hosting logistics, I got into the nitty gritty of some of the design projects, but, as far as actually talking about the cottage itself, that’s remained largely a mystery.
Today I wanted to give y’all the details. If you follow on Instagram, you may know a lot of this already, but we’re going to cover the location, space, decor, and future plans.
Rosehill Cottage: Our Airbnb on the Rappahnnock River
Rosehill Cottage, our Airbnb on the Rappahannock River, is located on the “big water,” with expansive views across the river to the Northern Neck, and the Chesapeake Bay to one side, the iconic blue Norris Bridge to the other. Rosehill Cottage is down a private rural road with a few other river cottages, with woods and farming fields greeting you as you drive in. One of our biggest priorities was the view — as soon as we walked in, we were sold. The entire back of the house is windows, and we replaced the front door with a full lite door so you get that view before you even step foot in the cottage.
Where we are, the river can be super shallow, which is awesome for actually getting in. We have steps into the water, and guests have had a blast swimming, taking out their kayaks and paddleboards, and enjoying the water. We made it through the summer with only one reported jellyfish sting…and that’s a huge win, right?
Our closest town is Urbanna, which is an 8-minute drive into town. We’re also less than 10 minutes from Merroir in Topping, a favorite restaurant of all our guests. We’re about 15 minutes to Deltaville, and just under 15 minutes into White Stone, and a little under 20 to Irvington. There are so, so many towns to visit around the area, but those are the ones we visit the most often.
Rosehill Cottage is on an acres with a sweeping hill down to the water (hence the ‘hill’ part of the name!) and a picturesque front yard with the most lovely views of the woods. The setting feels incredibly private. I had a highly specific vision of what I wanted in a setting — I can’t do sun, so I wanted a shaded yard, but I did not want a wooded lot. Somehow, we found exactly that balance. The towering trees that surround the house provide so much shade but it’s not woodsy (and, yes, there’s also plenty of sun for those who enjoy basking in the rays!).
The cottage is three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and two of the bedrooms are located off the main living area. You walk up the front porch and through the front door into the kitchen and breakfast area, then into the large main living space, with a living room, sitting room, and dining room. There’s a bedroom and bathroom on each side (which several groups have mentioned is particularly helpful when traveling with two sets of grandparents!).
The back door takes you either out to the water or you follow a short path up to a stairway, which takes you to the second floor (it’s a quirk that the previous owners did!), which is a huge room with a sitting area, desk area, and two full beds, along with a bathroom. It’s the most relaxing, peaceful space.
There is a pool in the front yard that feels secluded and quiet, and, down by the water, are adirondack chairs, perfect for relaxing with a cup of coffee or a cocktail. There’s also a fire pit for those nights when there’s a chill in the air.
I’m not a beachy girl, so even though the cottage is on the water, beachy didn’t feel right. Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of a crisp white and turquoise waterfront home for someone else, but it doesn’t feel like me. So, while this is an Airbnb on the Rappahannock River, it’s also our home. And I wanted it to reflect that.
I went with a classic grandmillennial look, with lots of blue and white, brown, and antiques I’ve sourced over the years, everywhere from roadside thrift shops to fancy antique stores to a lot of Facebook Marketplace. This was a labor of love, and, during our renovation, we had a storage unit filled to the brim with finds so we’d be ready to go as soon as it was done. It’s always a work in progress thanks to my love of decorating and redecorating, but I’ve had so much fun with it. The blue bedroom has a moodier nautical look, the green bedroom is a Laura Ashley dream (this is a favorite of so many guests!), and the wallpapered hydrangea room was a wild idea I had that turned out even better than expected.
Meanwhile, downstairs, everything is super cozy, without feeling too casual. I wanted it to be elegant yet approachable, and a favorite detail of mine is the wall of blue willow plates — a close friend of the previous owners, who passed away before we bought the house, told us that they also had blue willow plates displayed, but on the wall right next to it, and I love that continuation.
Oh my, I have so many future projects planned for our Airbnb on the Rappahannock River. My top priority is the bathroom for the blue bedroom. It’s a big space and could be utilized in so many different ways, though I’m leaning towards a big walk-in shower with a bench and waterfall shower head. Originally, we planned on doing it this December, but costs have skyrocketed. We spent way, way more than we expected on the upstairs bathroom (we were going off last year’s green bathroom reno), and our contractor told us that if we can wait, we should. So we will.
Next up will likely be a deck off the back of the house. I love sitting out on the adirondack chairs, but it would be so nice to be able to just step outside and sit at a table, without putting shoes on (okay, yes, I’m weird about stepping on grass). I think we’d do a deck off the far right, where the dining area is, and add a door there. TBD on timing there, and we may end up just putting a picnic table in that spot in the interim.
Eventually, we have plans to open up the kitchen a bit more. Look, I’m not usually an open floor plan fan but a river house has different needs than a normal home. It’s a place for gathering and, when I was making scratch biscuits while a few friends were visiting recently, I found myself using the breakfast table as a prep surface so I could still chat with them as they sat drinking their coffee in the living room. Plus, right now, the kitchen doesn’t have a view…it’s the only room besides the bathrooms that doesn’t have a direct river view. But it’ll be a big project that probably involves rearranging fridge, oven, and stove, so it’s not on the immediate agenda.
And, of course, there’s upstairs. I don’t see us connecting it to downstairs anytime soon because there is not an easy way to do that beyond blocking the view to the blue bedroom, which I’m not willing to do. Perhaps we could do a spiral staircase somewhere downstairs, but then we’d need to somehow create a space for a door up there. It’s just like each solution creates more issues (and cost). BUT, one thing we do want to do up there is finish off the part of the second floor that is on the river side. It’s over the sitting room/dining area, and it could be the most darling bedroom space. It would add a fourth bedroom, and would be ideal for when you have parents and kids staying up there, because you’d be able to shut one group in a separate area. We’d probably fill it with four double beds (bunks won’t work with the angled ceilings).
Then, there are smaller things — I’d love to do crown molding throughout the house. Can I figure that out on my own? Maybe! We’ll see. I would also like to clean out and paint the interior of the potting shed…though we probably won’t use it as a potting shed. Instead, it could be used to store toys for the guests, like kayaks or paddleboards.
Interested in booking our Airbnb on the Rappahannock River? You can find our website here, which has both the Airbnb and VRBO links (whichever you prefer!), or you can reach out directly.