Typically when we travel, we:

– Do NOT want to be in a one-room hotel room with our children, and
– Often travel with other people.

As such, we usually find rental houses or condos using VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner – also known as HomeAway.) I’m a pro and sifting through their not-so-easy-to-navigate website, but I’m not always the best at planning ahead enough to snag the highest quality properties.

I have this theory that VRBO is like that giant kid’s consignment sale: the early shoppers get the best stuff at the cheapest price, because not all the sellers know how to price at full value.

(At least this is what my insane friends who volunteer at those sales just so they can shop first tell me. I am not that dedicated to the art of saving money or providing the best for my children.)

But I digress.

This past trip, I started shopping early enough that I found a great house. Other than the front and back door that beeped loudly every time someone came and went, the front door key that didn’t like working unless you had just the right amount of finesse, the fancy European fridge that sounded an alarm if you left it open for more than 45 seconds (try unloading groceries to the sound of an urgent alarm. It’s very relaxing), and a dryer right outside the children’s bedroom that, you guessed it, had an exceptionally loud beep.

So other than being the most beeping house ever, it was perfect.

Over the years, however, we have had quite the unique house finds. I took pictures of many of the custom touches and filed them away in a folder called “VRBO oddities”. I feel that now is the time to share my collection.

You’re welcome, world.

One thing I love to be greeted with is a bouquet of fresh flowers. But nothing says “welcome!” like a vintage arrangement of the 1995 Michael’s clearance aisle.


I also adore being showered with words of affirmation while I’m on vacation.

IMG_0298I sure am, ceramic puppy momma!

And the excitement that comes from finding a surprise gift in the kitchen, it’s really just indescribable.


Ooooooh…this actually makes sense. If I were a toaster kind of girl, I wouldn’t want to smell burning dust every time I toasted. Everyone should own a toaster snuggie.


Anytime a rental house has a wall that doesn’t quite reach the ceiling, you can be assured it will earn a décor gold medal. This one was no exception.


And yes, that IS an air freshener between every other piece of tschotske.


But three air fresheners cannot be enough for that murky oxygen that gets caught up by the ceiling. You must also add an unopened box of potpourri to ensure freshness for the sensitive disposition of your ceramic turtle.


And grey-haired deer.


And if you’re going to let dogs on the mantle, better make sure there’s something to cover the odor.


I love a good theme bedroom. Modern, woodsy, cozy, quaint. But a DOUBLE theme – you can’t just find that anywhere. This bed/headboard ensemble is titled Little House on the 50 Shades of Grey.


The problem with modern technology is that it’s minimalist. TVs are so wide that they beg to be put on an open stand instead of in an armoire, and then you end up with all this SPACE. What to do with the space?


Easy. Shove three different kinds of fake greenery into a basket and call it a newly discovered (artificial) plant.


But nothing says sweet dreams like Baby Jesus pumping a Barbell.


And in case the moment is too touching, He comes fully accessorized with Lightning McQueen Kleenex.


This feature is one of my favorites. It’s just an oval, plain, coffee table. What could go wrong?


But no. It’s a trap to keep your security deposit.


The gradual rising to the center of this deceptively un-level coffee table means that when your drink creates condensation, your glass will suddenly slide off the table and splash onto the couch and rug. You can be two rooms over when this happens. Or you can be sitting there and get in on the moisting. And the fact that the table doesn’t look rounded means that you will do it again the next day.

And maybe one more time before you leave.

Somebody got a little too excited after reading the Harry Potter series and decided to add a little magic to their back porch sink. I don’t know about you but my hands feel magically clean.


The effort that went into tiling this throne pedestal is only matched by the gorgeous aesthetics of the phone jack.


Is it a Palm Tree? A shorn Christmas Tree? A hybrid? The world will never know. Because my photo is too blurry.IMG_0530


Although all of the above houses were special, there was one rental experience that I did not, could not photograph – because I was too afraid.

…The story in full, coming tomorrow.


5 thoughts on “Crown Jewels of the Rental World.

  1. The only thing that would make weight lifting Baby Jesus better would be if the arms of the cross were actually a clock. The hour marks are already there….

  2. I’m dying. Those are great. My parents turned their four bedroom house into a rental on VRBO when they had to start moving around for my dad’s job and my mom was absolutely obsessed with making it look PERFECT. We were all chuckling at her because she got so stressed about it. But if you ever come to Colorado Springs, you should rent my parents’ house. It’s not terrifying. But the terrifying ones do make for good stories. :-)

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