Dan and Carrie Couch pay attention to the details while traveling and staying at short-term rentals.
Sometimes, for example, the kitchen is difficult to navigate, leading to a hunt for a wine glass or the right-sized bowl.
They wanted their place to be different, and the accessibility of open shelving in the kitchen was one small piece.
The Couches purchased the home at 328 Bolivar St. in January 2019 with the goal of turning it into an Airbnb, but it needed a lot of TLC first.
Their renovation of the historic home proved successful — the property has been booked most weekends for the last year, and more recently, the couple was awarded the May 2021 Golden Hammer Award from the Historic City of Jefferson for their work.
The Golden Hammer Award recognizes individuals in Jefferson City who have restored historic structures at least 50 years old, preserving them for years to come and showing the pride the community has for its past.
The Bolivar Street home's history dates back almost a century, according to a history of the home compiled by Deborah Goldammer with the Historic City of Jefferson.
It was built about 1924 by Joseph and Florence Luebbert, and while numerous tenants have lived in the home over the years, as it was once divided into apartments, only two families have consistently owned the home before the Couches.
The property's history dates back to the 1840s, but the first mention of the home was in a wedding announcement for the Luebberts that appeared in the Aug. 19, 1924, Daily Democrat-Tribune.
After their wedding, which featured a breakfast at the Bolivar Street home, the Luebberts lived there through 1963. They did not appear to have children, but according to Goldammer's research, they took in boarders.
Joseph Luebbert, a carpenter, sold the home in 1964 to Victor and Delores Wansing who lived there until 1969. The Wansings are thought to have divided the home into apartments; at one point, there were at least four units in the home.
Commercially-zoned, part of the home was also used as a beauty parlor in the late 1960s and '70s, in addition to renters residing there.
The Wansings lost ownership of the home for three years in the 1970s. Two other couples purchased the home for $25,000 in 1972 and were supposed to pay the Wansings $300 a month, plus $22 to cover insurance, until the balance was paid off. They failed to meet the obligation, and the Wansings took back possession of the property.
The Wansings — Victor worked for an auto supply company, and Delores was a beautician — lived in the house again in the 1980s with their sons, Wayne and Kevin.
Victor died in 1995 and Delores in 2001. Records show Kevin Wansing, along with various renters, living in the home in the late 1990s.
Ownership was transferred to Kevin in 2002, and representatives from his estate sold it to the Couches in 2019.
The property was in disrepair when Dan and Carrie Couch took ownership. Dan — along with a lot of muscle power from his daughter, Abigail Couch, and best friend, Jason Fox — began the demo work shortly after purchasing.
They removed partition walls to return it to a single-family residence. Dumpster loads of old plaster were torn out, and the upstairs, which the Couches said was barely livable when they arrived, required reinforcing the floor boards and adding insulation.
Dan, who manages numerous rental properties in the area and previously owned a construction company in addition to renovating other homes, did most of the work himself. The home had entirely new wiring and plumbing installed; the roof, gutters and windows were replaced; and concrete for a new driveway and sidewalks was poured.
Referring to himself as a preservationist, Dan said he made an effort to maintain as much of the original home as possible, while keeping in mind the need to modernize it for the Airbnb crowd.
The hardwood floors, which he refinished, are original to the home.
They're a little rough, he noted, but "it gives it a lot of character," his wife, Carrie, added.
Some of the original doors in the home were also repurposed. Dan added them to rollers in the two bedrooms; he also built a coffee bar in the kitchen out of old doors.
And an old sink and cabinet that were thought to be a part of a previous unit in the home were kept in their original location, which now is a parlor, encouraging guests to set their drinks on the sink's countertop instead of the pool table in the room, Carrie said.
"We've stayed in other Airbnbs all over the country, and every time we stayed someplace, I always thought it would be kind of neat to have one in Jefferson City so this has been kind of our trial run," Dan said.
The renovation at 328 Bolivar St. was completed around the summer of 2019, though it took them several months to collect everything need to furnish the home.
"We spent a lot of hours thinking about places we stayed and things we liked and things we didn't like," Dan said.
"Bungalow 328," as it's called on Airbnb, hosted its first tenants in February 2020, and despite the pandemic that took over much of the 2020 conversation, the Couches said the home has been booked most weekends since.
They noted some people may have felt more comfortable staying in Airbnbs than hotels because of the strict cleaning standards the company requires. (The Couches do the top-to-bottom deep cleaning of the home themselves between tenants.)
Last year, the bungalow saw numerous guests in town for work, including a group of roofers who stayed at the home after a hail storm last year caused extensive damage in the community. In 2021, as the country begins to reopen, the Couches said, travelers have been coming for weddings, graduations and family reunions.
To see more details on the Airbnb property — which has two bedrooms, two full baths, a bonus upstairs room with three twin beds and rents for $175 per night — search Bungalow 328 in Jefferson City on airbnb.com.