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Africa Community creativity Hospitality Ministry Travel

reverie guesthouse


In the beginning of last year, I started a new little venture in the world of guesthouse businesses. I never really aspired to do something like this, but I’m so glad I did. I realized how much I love creating inviting spaces filled with beautiful things that make people smile. One of my favorite things is to see people’s reaction as they walk in and {positively} comment on the space.

January 2016, I listed BEAUTIFUL ARTSY AFRICAN RETREAT on Airbnb. I was ready for business! We didn’t get a booking until March. I wondered if this was a good idea after all. I didn’t get into this for my own sake.

I did it to provide an income for others while at the same time teaching business skills and imparting my high standard for excellence in everything you do.


I did it to invite people of all walks of life to come to this place where we invite Jesus to abide. Our strict policy from the beginning has been that we don’t discriminate against ANYONE.

And, unashamedly, I did it to make money. Is a business successful if it doesn’t make any money? We have a beautiful property here in S. Africa. It’s a win win to use our space to make a little extra rands for running costs.

I guess all we needed was a booking to get the momentum going.

By July, because of the number of trips we had hosted and our excellent ratings, we had risen to Superhost status (and have maintained it since).


In October, we added our second listing, BEAUTIFUL OASIS IN THE AFRICAN BUSH (these photos are a glimpse of that space).

Sometime, in the last quarter of 2016, our two listings made it to the top two spots when you google top White River Airbnb accommodations.

By December 31st, 2016, we had hosted 130 guests from 20 nations!

As I review my reasons for getting into this, I’m pleased that I’m right on track as we enter our second year. I’m so glad I get to do this guesthouse thing with this lovely lady who constantly makes me laugh and amazes me with her growth posture and shared drive to make a space that is clean, clean, clean.


We’ve certainly hosted people from all walks of life! One night we had a husband and wife Muslim couple staying with us who said one of the best things they loved about staying at our place was the people (we do have a pretty spectacular bunch) and how it’s always great to meet people like us. The very next night we had a gay Jewish couple stay with us who thanked us for our warm hospitality. I believe Jesus calls us to be a lover of people, and I’m so glad that people who meet us for the first time feel that when they sleep in our beds.

And we did make money! It’s always nice to recoup your startup costs AND make money on top of that.

Here’s to a successful 2016 and an even better 2017!

Community creativity Fun

a bar of a party

The beginning of April we celebrated our interns who had been with us for a year and who were now moving on to the next season of their lives. Because of their incredible investment, we knew we wanted to celebrate BIG. That’s when the idea of “bars” all around came into being. We had a pizza bar, soda bar, and cupcake bar. It.was.a.blast.

Pizza Bar

Pizza Bar

We sealed pizza dough in plastic baggies and had everything prepped and sliced. The fun part about the pizza bar was that we baked our pies on the fire. They tasted amazing. Here’s how we did it.

  1. Grab a wooden cutting board and oil it down with olive oil.
  2. Plop your dough down on it, and work it into a pizza crust.
  3. Slide it onto the fire, and let it cook for a few minutes.
  4. Take it off the fire, sliding it back onto your cutting board, cooked side up.
  5. Load the cooked side up with your toppings.
  6. Slide it back onto the fire and let it cook another few minutes.
  7. Eat and enjoy.

Pizza Bar Toppings

Soda Bar

Soda Bar

Soda Bar Instructions

For drinks we put together a soda bar. We had Coke and Coke Zero and homemade Cream Soda. THEN people had the option of adding cherry, vanilla, orange, or lemon simple syrup to it. We also had lemons and limes that you could squeeze in for extra measure.


Cream Soda

Cupcake Bar

Pimp Your Cupcake

Finally, for dessert, we offered a cupcake bar where everyone could pimp out their own cupcake. We had chocolate, vanilla, Italian creme, and red velvet cupcakes with vanilla, chocolate, cream cheese, and mocha frostings. Not only that but we had sprinkles, coconut, and nuts for more pimping!

This party was such fun. The best part about it was that everyone cooked their own food!

Crafts creativity

the walls

Round two of simple creativity for our apartment walls consisted of empty wine bottles, clipboards, feathers, and sticks! I seriously spent hardly any money on the stuff I made for the walls. I balanced things out above the bed by mounting a piece of board with a wine bottle attached to it onto the wall. The tutorial for these are here. I did have to get creative since I couldn’t get some of the supplies here in SA, but they still turned out great. Unfortunately, these photos don’t show flowers in the vases, but they really pop with those bits of color in there.


Next up was the simple way of hanging photos using clipboards. I taped off half a section (diagonally) on each clipboard and painted it using paint I had lying around. Then I just clipped some art to it. Easy! (Those printables are found here and here, if you’re interested.)

clipboard art

Then there was the feathers. My dog hates these, but I love them. I found a wooden lad (that’s what we call them, anyways) left from another project and simply tied feathers to it. I love how these blow in the cool breeze.

feather art

The last bit of wall art consisted of a branch I found outside surrounded by various framed art. I swear the guys hanging that branch thought I was crazy, but I love the texture and shape of a branch hanging on the wall. Best of all, it was FREE!

wall art

That’s the wall art for our lovely, little apartment!

creativity Travel

the chairs

Last week I showed you my very fun creative project with our artsy Africa apartment that we have listed on Airbnb. It has been a busy week for us as we’ve hosted 4 different sets of guests with 2 more sets coming this week! What fun it has been meeting people from all over South Africa, The Netherlands, and France! I love it!

I mentioned showing off the inexpensive way we decorated this space. Part of the creativity in it for me is not only making things but finding ways I can re-purpose or make something beautiful out of stuff I just have lying around. That’s how the chairs got a breath of new life. Can we say ugly? I mean, seriously, how much tan can you pack into one piece of furniture?

Chair before

Even though these chairs are old, I loved the bamboo and the shape, so I set out to give them new life. First, was simply spray painting them white. I love how white gives such a clean feel which is why I chose it a lot. (Tip: a glossy finish also makes it super easy to clean!) Next, I found this fabric, which I love, and recovered those pillows. The covers come off easily for washing, if need be.

Chair after

I was going to find fabric to cover pillows, but when I happened upon these black and white feather pillows for the equivalent of $2 each, I knew they were the perfect addition to these chairs and the room, AND it saved me time!


I absolutely love how they complement the room, but even better, I love that I was able to re-purpose something ugly and make it beautiful!

creativity Hospitality Travel

our beautiful african artsy apartment

One thing I’ve learned about myself over the years is that, if I don’t have some kind of fun, creative project going on, I feel like I’m suffocating inside. The ability to create and think outside the box, to make something beautiful, just feels so good. 



The end of last year I found myself in the middle of a creative project that was just plain fun. An apartment opened up on our property, and we decided to turn it into really nice guest housing that we could profit fun. It was already quite beautiful. A little paint on the walls to lighten it up and some tasteful decor to complement was all it needed to create a comfortable place for guests to stay.



I sewed the shower curtains, the window curtain, bed pillow covers, and new covers for the chairs. I also got to work plotting and planning artwork that I (or someone else) could make without breaking the bank. My favorite piece is the kudu head. While I wish I could take credit for that one, the only thing I did was put the boards together and communicate what I wanted on it. My talented friend, Phoebe, did the beautiful part. She also painted the 3 piece scene of Cape Town above the bed.


living room

I painted an old bunkbed ladder and hung Masai blankets from my recent travels to Kenya. I also took a branch I dried out and screwed that into the wall for FREE art! While the walls still need more (a map, for one, because I sure do love maps), I’m so happy with the way this space turned out. I’ll be sharing more later this week about the simple and inexpensive art projects I did to create eye candy for these walls.

living room view 2

living room view 1

In the meantime, do check out our listing on Airbnb and visit the article I wrote on making travel affordable at Petit Elefant. Not only has this project been incredibly fun, but we’ve met some great people traveling through on their way to Kruger and it has provided income for others and Ten Thousand Homes. Win, win!

Please feel free to come stay with us when you’re in South Africa and please pin, tweet, and promote our listing to your little heart’s delight! That’s my shameless plug!