This Old Town Alexandria Home Was Named America’s Most Popular Vacation Rental
“We are not your usual Airbnb. That’s not what we’re here for,” says Cameron Foster. In 2017, he and his wife, Noelle, residents of Seattle, had a daughter attending George Washington University. “We wanted to see our daughter more regularly,” Cameron says. So they decided to buy a house in the old town of Alexandria.
They chose one, built in 1860, out of sight. It turned out to be more of a fix than the couple had hoped. “You could see through the outside walls,” Cameron recalls.
“At the start, we thought it was the worst investment we’ve ever made as a couple,” adds Noelle. But now they say it was a fluke. The couple hired an architect and contractor familiar with the Alexandria City Architectural Review Board. They worked with Noelle, an interior designer by trade, to revitalize the two-bedroom into a livable home for the couple. They also added some extra flair. Because the BAR prohibits structural changes to the exterior of the house, they painted it an assertive color. “Liberty blue,” says Noelle.
“I called it ‘blueberry’,” jokes Cameron.
Within a year, the Fosters were splitting their time between Seattle and Alexandria. Now that their daughter has graduated, the couple are spending a little less time in Old Town, but say they put too much effort into the house and have too good a relationship with their neighbors to consider moving on. sale. “We come back every month or two for at least a week at a time,” says Noelle.
It was last March that they decided to try their hand at renting their house on Airbnb. Less than a year later, they heard from London-based Eviivo. “I got a call from the company saying we were finalists,” says Cameron. They were up for Eviivo’s International Host Week award for America’s Hottest Property. A week later, they received a Zoom call letting them know they had won.
What makes it a winner? On the one hand, at the time of going to press, Liberty House had five stars out of the 51 guests who rated it. That’s because they’ve made it a point to have the amenities they enjoy at five-star hotels, the couple say. “We like nice towels. We love beautiful dresses,” Cameron says as an example.
But Noelle’s design, which combines antiques with all-new touches, is what keeps guests booking the house and what impressed the judges. “I wanted it not to be quirky, not eclectic, but to have visual interest,” she explains. “I wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing everywhere you look in the house – full of conversation starters.” These include the original house coat, but also high-speed Wi-Fi and a smart TV.
Liberty House’s latest development is the inclusion of local experiences and products. The Alexandria Manse boutique offers products for sale in the house. Now Noelle says she wants to build relationships with local vendors, from chefs to florists, to add amenities to the rental, which raises her Airbnb status far beyond the ordinary.
This story originally appeared in our June issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.