Hosting company this winter? There are several unique options for accommodations in the Umpqua Valley, including the new Bell Sister Flats in downtown Roseburg and The Wine Room in historic Oakland.
Story by Jennifer Grafiada Photos by Thomas Boyd
Let’s say your in-laws are coming to town and they need a place to stay (because, let’s face it, your place is just too crowded). There’s no shortage of options for traditional accommodations, but more and
more home and business owners are converting rooms in their residences or buildings into unique spaces they make available through Airbnb, an online vacation and short-term rental company.
Douglas County offers dozens of listings that include everything from yurts in the forest to backyard RVs to riverside residences. So the next time family wants to visit or you simply need a staycation, check out the local listings at airbnb.com
Here are two unique rentals available locally:
THE WINE ROOM, TRIPLE OAK WINE VAULT
When Betty Tamm (top of page) and her late husband bought the Oakland building that is now the Triple Oak Wine Vault, it had been a bank for more than 100 years.
“It was a mercantile before that,” Tamm says. “But everyone kept wanting to store gold in the owner’s safe, so they figured they’d go into the banking business.”
With Oakland now a popular destination for history buffs and wine lovers, Tamm has made it her mission to “carve out new uses in this big old historic building.”
In the back of her tasting room is a guest room listed on Airbnb as The Wine Room. It features high ceilings, a bathroom with heated floors and free wine tasting. Guests get goat’s-milk- felted soap homemade by Tamm. Locally made goods like jewelry, paintings, pottery, royal wine jelly and olive oil are available for purchase, along with wine from Tamm’s Triple Oak Winery.
The Wine Room owner Betty Tamm says some of her guests have reported sensing “happy spirits.”
If old buildings could talk, they would tell a lot of tales, and Tamm’s is no exception. “Oh, there were robberies,” Tamm says.
But that was in the bank downstairs. The upper floor is where the real action was. Once an open stage for roving theater companies in the 1800s, it was converted in the 1910s to a high school basketball court. The sturdy 125-year-old fir floor is still in fine form. The stairwell wall bears handwritten game scores and other scrawls, like “Creswell vs Oakland 1/4/13” (as in 1913), in thick orange crayon.
Tamm says some of her guests have even reported sensing “happy spirits” and “whizzing energy.”
BELL SISTER FLATS
In 2000, when Paul Bentley acquired the historic building at 620 S.E. Main St. in Roseburg that now houses his architecture firm, two apartments above his office space had been empty, and without heat or air conditioning, for more than 50 years.
The plaster was falling off, the roof leaked, it was just in shambles,” says Bentley.
Today, the Bell Sister Flats is a gorgeous vacation or overnight rental.
Bentley and his wife, Terry, both grew up in downtown Roseburg — she off Main Street, he on Malheur.
“Downtown was full of life,” she recalls. “It was the place to go. We want to help maintain that vibrancy.”
The two conceived of renovating the upstairs apartments into two upscale Airbnb guesthouses. “We tried to make it an upper- end experience while keeping historical elements of the space intact,” Terry explains.
Photos lining the exposed brick hallway walls show Minnie and Mineta Bell, the two sisters who ran a hat and dress shop in the building in the early 1900s.
“For 1909 they were very entrepreneurial and progressive,” says Terry. “We wanted to honor them.”
The suites offer king-size beds and fireplaces as well as a long list of creature comforts, such as blackout shades, walk-in showers, a spacious kitchen and complimentary wine and chocolate. They’re adorned with local art and furnished with locally purchased furniture.
There’s soap from Roseburg Book & Stationery, shampoo from the Hair Garage and treats from Umpqua Sweets & Treats.
“We want to partner with local businesses and promote the local economy,” says Paul.
For reservations, search Airbnb for Bell Sister Flats or go to BellSisterFlats.com.