Wrecking Ball Collective's Jessica Jamison Turns Airbnb into Liveable Art

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Photos courtesy Jessica Jamison, Wrecking Ball Collective.

Full disclosure: Jessica Jamison is my sister-in-law. Not only did I know I could interrupt her holiday for the interview, I also know that no one meets Jessica without being disarmed and charmed by her.

Jessica Jamison, Wrecking Ball Collective. 

Jessica Jamison’s work life is … complicated. Part-time decorator/stager, part-time vintage furniture rehabber, and part-time innkeeper, she’s never in one place for very long. The miles she turns over on the family’s truck doing furniture runs makes her grimace. But she does what needs doing to keep the business running. She also happens to love it.

“Hunting vintage furniture is my true passion,” she said. “It’s what I do when I can’t sleep. When I’m bored or stressed. It’s all about the find. Some days it’s amazing, some days it’s not. But you do it for the amazing.”

Since Jamison, 39, is also a full-time mom, her 6-year-old daughter often tags along for the trip. Jamison’s Instagram features cameos of the grinning girl wedged next to vintage finds in the family truck.

“She’s my ride or die,” Jamison said with a laugh. “We had a pick-up on Sunday and she was so excited. Like, ‘We’re going thrifting!’ What kid gets excited about thrifting?”

She Came in Like a … Wrecking Ball

Under her belt, Jamison has more than a decade of design experience in retail, creatingdisplays for stores like Oakley and Anthropologie. Along the way, she picked up side gigs consulting and designing interiors for small businesses and residential projects. A spa in McKinney. An ultra-chic nursery in Dallas. She even ran a successful Etsy shop, selling handmade goods. But her true love has always been vintage everything, and in 2016, she formed Wrecking Ball Collective, a one-woman shop for vintage goods and furniture.

Vintage furniture that’s been heavily used gets a facelift by Jamison whose love of color brightens even the most unpolished gem. Photo courtesy Jessica Jamison.

Moderation has never been Jamison’s thing. She threw herself headlong into Wrecking Ball, amassing (and selling) a huge collection of yesteryear treasures. When space at the family’s apartment ran out and she maxed out her parents’ garage, and then a storage unit, Jamison got an idea. Why not rent a second apartment, stage it with rehabbed, yet-to-be-sold furniture, and list it as an Airbnb?

The idea was solid gold.

Jamison’s Airbnb listing features a rotation of vintage gems, from (her preferred) midcentury modern to late 70s glam. “You don’t pass up on an amazing piece because it isn’t midcentury.” Photo courtesy Jessica Jamison.

Art, But Make It Instagram-Worthy

Not that it came easy. Weeks of prep work on an already hectic schedule stretched Jamison thin. “I was a moron!” she said with a chuckle. “I decided to paint everything white. And anyone who works with white paint knows you have to use like, five coats to get it perfect.” But Jamison shrugs. “It was totally worth it.”

Her venture, which got underway in September, already pays for itself. The “vintage haven” scores a direct hit with travelers and even the occasional Instagram influencer who loves that no visual detail goes unattended to. “The feedback has been super positive. That’s what’s so great about the Airbnb—it’s the same feeling I get when someone picks up a piece of furniture I’ve found and they’re so happy.”

Jamison loves a detail. Photo courtesy Jessica Jamison.

Much in the way she created store displays, each item in the Airbnb is intentional and meant to evoke an emotional response.

“The dishes are vintage. The glasses are vintage. The details are there not just to look good, but to make a great experience,” Jamison said. “Everything is placed in a certain way for a reason. It’s like art to me.”

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Heather Hunter

In addition to a 15-year career in marketing and communications, Heather is an accomplished freelance writer and has contributed to The New York Times’ “Modern Love” column and “The United States of Dating” on National Public Radio. Her blog, This Fish Needs a Bicycle, was syndicated by NBC Universal (iVillage) for four years. As a ghostwriter, her work has appeared in publications such as WIRED and Stadia Magazine

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