How This Couple Transformed a 19th Century Berkshires Home Into the Most Charming Airbnb

The Filomena sits on over an acre of land in West Stockbridge, “a crunchy little town with a river running through it sandwiched between I-90 and the mountains,” says Spain. They fell in love with West Stockbridge—and its quaint, quirky shops like Six Depot Roastery & Cafe and Sandy Klempner at Home—after visiting one of Spain’s childhood friends in the area. After many repeat visits, Bolognino, a marketing manager at Google, and Spain, the owner of an interior and landscaping firm, decided to take the plunge into homeownership.

But a turnkey country escape wasn’t their style. “As two gay men who grew up in conservative environments, we’re always rooting for the underdog, so when a listing for a derelict old manse on the edge of town with many of the original historical details still intact landed in our inbox, our interest was immediately piqued,” says Bolognino. The two started bingeing home renovation shows and Youtube videos, studying how to do all the fixer-upper tasks one can do without a permit. Over the next 24 months, Spain tackled the creative and design while Bolognino took over logistics like budget tracking and contractor payments. “The whole thing ended up being a true amalgamation of the two of us,” says Spain.

Photo: By James John Jetel
Photo: By John James Jetel

The project wasn’t without its emotional and fiscal strains. “We’re always a little dubious when we read renovation stories where couples say everything was a breeze and it all went seamlessly,” says Bolognino. “Although without stories like those maybe we wouldn’t have been foolish enough to do it in the first place.” Yet the result was worth it. “All we could do was hope that it would result in something magic that we could create together to enjoy and share with friends, family, guests, and the community,” Bolognino adds. Four years later, those hopes have come true.

Photo: Michael Bolognino

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