Here’s Why This Home Was Just Named the Coolest Airbnb in Massachusetts


The 4,500 square foot Old Rectory was built in 1850.

The Filomena in West Stockbridge was just named the coolest Airbnb in Massachusetts by Conde Nast Traveler. James John Jetel

When New York native Michael Bolognino and Texas native Nick Spain first met at a party in New York on Valentine’s Day eight years ago, they had no idea that a 19th century Berkshire property would completely change their lives.

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Within two years, the Brooklyn couple purchased the historic West Stockbridge home, then spent two years meticulously renovating the property before listing it on Airbnb where it caught the attention of national publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, who just named it the coolest Airbnb in Massachusetts. Plus: The project launched a new career for Spain, provided a meaningful backdrop for their 2018 wedding reception and inspired a relocation to Massachusetts.

The Filomene, named after Bolognino’s grandmother and also dubbed “the most designer home in the Berkshires” by Conde Nast Traveler, is a 4,500 square foot former rectory built in 1850 with 13 foot ceilings, six bedrooms, a chef’s kitchen and four bathrooms on one acre of land with gardens. It’s walking distance to town.

“Statewide, being selected as the coolest was an incredible achievement,” said Bolognino, 42, a marketing manager at Google and a certified life coach. “It made me proud.”

“I hope it was chosen because it maybe redefines what a historic renovation should look like, especially in the context of New England,” said Spain, 33, who started a career interior design from the project. “We made a lot of choices that I’m really proud of and that are quite atypical when it comes to historic renovations.”

Spain said it always respects the ownership structure while making choices that are “different and fun and colorful and vibrant.

The choices helped land the house in The New York Times, Berkshire magazine, and Architectural Summary over the years.

The staircase inside the Filomena. James John Jetel

When they bought the house in 2016, HGTV enthusiasts yearned for a design project and were drawn to the Berkshires after spending time there visiting an old friend.

“The plan was, let’s make something ours, that’s out of town, that we can share with people we love, and we can share with people we don’t know and make it a business,” said Bolognino.

They originally imagined buying a small property, but the big house – and the quaint town of West Stockbridge – stole their hearts.

“Main Street is exactly what you imagine when you think of a main street in New England,” Bolognino said.

The couple set to work on the renovation.

“We did everything we could ourselves that didn’t require a permit,” Bolognino said.

In modernizing the property, they have taken care to preserve its historic details.

“There are lots of beautiful window frames, door frames, original moldings,” Spain said. “The banister, the original staircase is still intact. Most of the original floors are intact.

The Pink Lounge inside the Filomena. Photographed by Dane Tashima; Styled by Kiera Coffee

Conde Nast Traveler praised the house’s “millennial pink living room.”

“We actually call the room ‘The Ladies Who Lunch Room,'” Bolognino said. “Because we collected paintings and portraits of random women from estate sales, and the room probably contains eight or nine different portraits.”

The pink salon was a Spanish idea.

“He wanted a contrast,” Bolognino said. “We knew we wanted a dark, masculine, moody, black dining room, which is on one side of the hallway. The hallway itself is a very nice neutral light gray. And then opposite is this feminine room, soft, warm, pink. And so his vision was kind of to balance those two sides of the house, and he did that throughout the house.

Asked about the coolest part of the house, Bolognino chose the gardens and unique hardwood ceilings found in some rooms.

“When I think about why I wanted to buy this house, it sealed the deal for me,” he said.

For Spain, it’s the kitchen, which the couple moved from the back of the house to the front of the house.

“I love our kitchen,” Spain said. “It just makes me happy, and it’s a lovely space to start your day.”

The kitchen inside the Filomena. Photographed by Dane Tashima; Styled by Kiera Coffee

The men had no intention of living in the house full time, but the coronavirus pandemic has changed that.

“We had to work from home and we had a little studio in Brooklyn and we were like, ‘Why not spend it here in our big house? said Bolognino.

They moved in and never moved. But they still have an apartment in Brooklyn since they often work in town. The Filomena is now for rent at certain times of the year: long weekends, major holidays and all of August, Bolognino said. When the tenants are there, the couple leaves the premises.

A bedroom inside the Filomena. James John Jetel

Bolognino’s advice to other Airbnb hosts: “Make it an experience.

“And it can be as simple as leaving out some local cheese and a bottle of wine, or fresh cut flowers,” he said. “Make the person feel connected to the house so that it’s more than just a house they stay in and it’s more of an experience of where they are. . And get a really good cleaning crew. We couldn’t do this without a cleaning crew.

The dining room inside the Filomena. James John Jetel

The Airbnb is not far from world-class music venue Tanglewood, which just released its 2022 lineup. Guests can also enjoy the arts at TurnPark art space, a former quarry transformed into a sculpture park recommended by Conde Nast Traveler (and where Bolognino and Spain married before returning to La Filomena with family and friends to celebrate).

Conde Nast Traveler called the getaway a “superb choice for an elegant family reunion.”

“Not your average Airbnb,” Bolognino said. “It’s actually an experience. It’s super unique. There are 13 rooms, and they are all incredibly different from each other, yet they are related. There are unexpected pieces of furniture, unexpected color choices. There is art in every room. I think you come here because you appreciate design and you appreciate beauty.

The Airbnb costs $750 per night.

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