Dayna Winter loves two things: Prince Edward County and Wes Anderson.
So when she was searching for an investment property, she combined the two.
Winter is the host of Mr. Anderson's House, an AirBnB in Picton, Ont. The century-old, two-bedroom house features rooms inspired by films such as The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic and Moonrise Kingdom.
"I like his aesthetic and I was really inspired by him as a designer," said Winter.
Anderson is known for his attention to detail. The costumes and props are specific and deliberately chosen to evoke a surreal atmosphere. A distinct colour palette defines each film.
The idea came to her when she was trying to differentiate herself from other options in the area.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time," she said with a laugh.
Trying to recreate the detailed design Anderson is known for has been a challenge for Winter, who lives in the house in-between bookings.
"He's a major director," said Winter. "He has budgets galore and people working for him finding all of these things."
"It's me and my hatchback in southern Ontario."
Winter has handcrafted most of the home's decor. She has given wishlists of items to veteran antiquers. Her retired parents even lend a hand.
Two rooms stand out for Winter: one, a small bedroom styled like a country cabin, the other, a cozy dormer complete with a 1950s hotel lobby armchair. Both draw from Moonrise Kingdom, a coming-of-age story set in the wilderness.
The furnishings are rustic but playful. A small tent she once built for her dog — he didn't like it — sits in a corner of the bedroom. A pink record player offers a soundtrack to guests in the small nook.
"There's a lot of personal touch in it that I really like," she said. "I feel really proud of them."
In search of the perfect Insta-selfie
When Winter first opened her home to reservations, most bookings were from people simply looking for a place to stay in Picton. But she knew she wanted to draw a different clientele.
"I think that if you're doing something like this, you also have to build a bit of a brand for yourself," Winter said of her strategy. She turned to Instagram.
When designing the home, she wanted guests to take photos and share them on social media. Often, when guests leave, they tag Mr. Anderson's Home in their selfies. One guest even recorded himself playing guitar in the "very Instagrammable" nook.
Those posts have garnered attention from publications and websites. They've been the driving force behind her recent bookings.
"I have invested a lot of time into Instagram and engaging with fans to get more of those people out."
That investment has attracted travellers from Chicago and even Italy to stay in the colourful home.
Millennials in a small-town
Winter says Mr. Anderson's House was fully booked this summer and she's going into a busy September. She acknowledges that Picton isn't a big town and the main draws are beaches and wineries during the summer.
"It's not a world-renowned destination, but a lot of Toronto people come; a lot of Montreal people come."
Still, according to Winter, many of her guests are millennials — travellers in their mid-20s and early 30s — who want a unique experience. She believes her location attracts a different clientele to the community.
"I do think that older people coming to [Prince Edward County] are looking for the classic, white cottage." She believes her colourful abode might be a bit bold for some.
So for anyone curious, but not familiar with Anderson's work, Winter has an option:
"Not that anyone watches DVDs, but I have all the DVDs and a Playstation, so people can [watch the movies] if they want to."
Winter is taking bookings for the late fall and winter months.