How a Red Wing Church Turned Into a Luxurious Airbnb – Post Bulletin
RED WING — When Kelley Josephine saw the former St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Red Wing was up for sale, he knew he had to have it.
“I don’t know why, I can’t explain it,” the 45-year-old from Minneapolis said.
What caught Josephine’s eye in 2014 was how the old church had been renovated from a religious sanctuary to a place vacationers would be lucky enough to call home for a weekend.
“The experience inside just creates a bit of sanctuary in a way that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere,” he said. “I have never stayed anywhere like this in my life and I hope people who choose to come have a similar experience.”
The church was renovated by Shelly Billiet and her husband. Billiet, who is an estate agent, said once she bought the property she knew she wanted to transform it.
“It was the first vision I had. I literally got chills,” she said.
The two men spent the next eight years renovating the building, creating the spacious first-floor living room with ample room for tables, generous living room furniture, a full kitchen, dining area and even a pool table.
The church offices and Sunday school rooms have been transformed into three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and the lower level has become a second living space with a ping-pong table, sofas and a television.
Billiet found it gratifying to see his vision come to fruition.
“A lot of people were like, ‘What is she doing? Is she crazy? What is she thinking? And for me, that was very rewarding,'” Billiet said. a fun project and I’m so glad people are enjoying it. It was a vacant building in a beautiful city and people are enjoying it now. It’s really wonderful.
When a new project idea was born, Billiet decided it was time to move on. She put the property up for sale and Josephine reached out.
Joséphine knew what he wanted to do with the transformed space.
“We just realized it’s something to share,” he said. “It’s not the kind of property you just keep locked up – like it should be shared with other people…It’s a bit cliché, but you’re not putting a piece of art in the garage .”
A night at the old church will cost $382, according to its Airbnb page. Josephine said that, like most vacation rentals, St. Peter’s has the most customers during the summer, but it’s also frequently booked up in the fall once the leaves start to color. There are guests, he estimates, 150 days a year.
The old church was also used for smaller events and even weddings. For his own family, there have been birthday parties with a bouncy house where the altar once stood, fantasy football draft parties and other get-togethers.
“It’s about sharing it with the people we care about,” he said, “and just being able to make memories in a space where it’s easy to make memories.”