Couple rebuilt homes as Airbnb's to revitalize north Houston neighborhood

A Houston couple is taking a new approach to revitalizing an old neighborhood as they replaced two run-down, old homes with new ones that are specifically designed to be Airbnb's.

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The family says they rebuilt to bring new life to the neighborhood while paying tribute to the legacy of their family and the community.

Stepping into two new, adjacent homes on East 38th Street in north Houston is like stepping into a piece of art.

"I decided to do a bookshelf staircase. Just wanted to make it fun, different, creative," said interior designer Renee Jefferson Smith.

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"We can hear them on the Ring camera when they walk in. They’re like, oh my gosh, and they have their phone out, and they’re recording," said homeowner Ashley Jackson.

But the homes didn't always look like this.

"My family has been in the Independence Heights neighborhood for generations now," said homeowner Jonathan Jackson.  "We wanted this to be an example of what you can do when you want to invest back in the neighborhood."

As the homes passed from father to son, they rebuilt them and designed them to be Airbnb's.

"We didn't want to build a home and sell it to someone who had no ties to the community," said Jackson.  

They brought in Smith to make the homes appeal to visitors.

"This is my pillow line. This pillow is called See No Color," she showed us. "I decided to carry on the design from the pillow onto the wall."

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The Jackson's wanted the homes to become Airbnb rentals, rather than homes they would sell or rent to tenants.

"Long-term renters, the profit is the same every month. Whereas with an Airbnb, it could fluctuate. With a hotel, they can charge a nightly rate, and it could vary depending on what’s going on," said Ashley. "And there's less wear and tear on the property."

"The artwork is absolutely beautify and bold and amazing," said Jefferson Smith.

"Some guests book the entire place, some book the garage apartment by itself," said Jonathan Jackson.  

The owners say they're already booking up, and building up dreams of doing another one, to help rebuild the life and legacy of the neighborhood.