Here is the Swamp Rabbit Inn’s IKEA story … Before I moved to Greenville, SC, I had lived three miles from IKEA in Oak Brook, IL but had never stepped foot in an IKEA. That changed when I decided to open a bike friendly inn in downtown Greenville, SC in 2014. I had just purchased a six bedroom house in the West End of Greenville that had been used as commercial office space. I liked the location two blocks off Main Street and knew the area had potential, but it was still a bit dodgy.
I stood on the front porch after I had the property under contract and looked across the street and saw people riding bikes on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 20+ mile paved bike trail connecting Greenville and Travelers Rest, SC. The idea came to me at that moment to open a bike friendly inn and call it the Swamp Rabbit Inn. That is how the story began and now here is how my obsession with IKEA design began…
It was a snowy Sunday, rare for Greenville, and I was sitting at my kitchen island in my jammies sipping coffee, paging through the IKEA catalogs I had brought back from my initial, tire kicking visit to IKEA in Charlotte, NC. I was looking for a low cost, high impact, durable solution to furnishing and entire six room inn so I decided to drive to the IKEA in Charlotte, NC the week before to see if the quality of the furniture would work for my new project. I was overwhelmed on my first visit but also sold on the design and quality. As I was paging through the catalogs, snowed in, I decided to start cutting out my favorite things and began putting the cuttings together to form vision boards for the guest rooms.
A theme was emerging from the patterns of the linens, rugs and pillows I chose – an animal theme. I decide to name the six rooms at the Swamp Rabbit Inn the Moose, Owl, Double Owl, Chicken, Goat and Sheep Rooms based on the IKEA furnishings I chose.
By the time I was finished with my guest room vision boards, lost in the flow, I looked up and it was 3:00. The snow had melted and I had just enough time to drive to IKEA Charlotte and put in my order. I had all the item numbers, quantities and colors written down. I found the business section of IKEA and handed them my list of items and they started entering my order and I left the store two hours later with a delivery date.
(👀 at the gallery below to see how the finished rooms turned out!)
I loved the look so much I decided to furnish all the common areas and the kitchen in IKEA as well. As you may or may not know, IKEA mostly ships unassembled, flat in boxes. At one point I had floor to ceiling boxes in the living room and dining room of the inn. Just a little overwhelming!!
Thank God for good friends and co workers who helped me assemble everything piece by piece and transform an a dull, commercial office building into a fresh, funky, modern, bike friendly inn two blocks from Main Street and two blocks from the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Since that first order I have been back several times always armed with my list, doing the prep work ahead of time. I have furnished two inns and six vacation rentals entirely in IKEA. I would describe the results as funky and functional!
I still smile when I walk into the original Swamp Rabbit Inn and I am amazed at how it all came together and wonder how the ideas came to me. It really just flowed. IKEA has been an important part of our brand, helping us carve out our niche as a hotel alternative, DIYBNB, home away from home for our guests.
Thank you, Ingvar Kamprad, for your vision and great design. You have made great design affordable and helped this small business delight it’s guests with a fun and funky vibe! Your legacy lives and continues to be enjoyed at the Swamp Rabbit Inn & Properties! #bikeinnbikeout #BIKEA
It was not exactly so, as reporters found. His home was a villa overlooking Lake Geneva, and he had an estate in Sweden and vineyards in Provence. He drove a Porsche as well as the Volvo.
This week we got creative and made some bicycle basket flower boxes. Watch the video below to learn how.
The Bike Shed at the Swamp Rabbit Inn officially opened for the season this weekend and we have been busy, between bike rentals, sprucing up the place. There were these rickety, metal baskets on our red cruiser bikes and Wendy removed them and almost threw them away, then had an idea! Watch the video below to see how the bicycle baskets were put to use in a new way.
We love doing (Pinterest worthy) projects at the Swamp Rabbit Inn and repurposing found objects in unusual ways. If you like the video please share it and Pin It!
Subscribe to our newsletter to get our videos delivered weekly to your inbox. Next week watch our upcoming video on a new use for old beer kegs. Hint, hint … it may have something to do with our upcoming Third Anniversary Party and Truck Inn Tuesday on June 13, 2017 from 6 – 9 pm. You’re all invited.
The Bike Shed at the Swamp Rabbit Inn rents bikes to ride the Swamp Rabbit Trail just out our front door. Call 864-517-4617 to rent a bike in downtown Greenville, SC.
It takes a great team …
Believe the rumors you’ve heard about this Greenville bed and breakfast! Heard of the “Swamp Rabbit Posse”? “Inn-mates”? Perhaps the “Rabbity Babes”? “Swampettes”? No? Well, call it women’s “Inn-tuition”, but one thing you hear a lot while out and about in the West End of Greenville these days is how many smart, talented women of vision are at the forefront of shaping this bustling urban neighborhood into a must-visit destination! It is truly amazing the amount of women owned businesses in the historic district we call the West End of Greenville.
The Swamp Rabbit Inn is a perfect example! At the heart of the hip, hot hoppenings is a group of awesome women, who prefer to be called “The Bunny Brain Trust”. It takes a diverse collection of skills, right and left brain acrobatics, to meet the needs of trend-setting travelers!
Once Inn Keeper Wendy Lynam had secured the property at #1 Logan Street, she began to gather her team. They were all to drawn to Greenville for different reasons and from very different places, but somehow, eventually gravitated toward this unique and euro-stylish venture to apply their gifts. Together they have created an entity that serves as gathering hub for locals and fresh yet familiar ‘home away’ experience for our guests.
Wendy Lynam, home grown in Racine, Wisconsin and an 18 year Chicagoian, is proud of her Cheesehead Midwestern roots. A.J. Maronie, our Housekeeping Queen who keeps everything sparkly clean, is a bodacious and gracious Savannah, Georgia Peach. Lisa Parks is the Bike Shed Savant, putting style in motion as only a Motor-City (Detroit) Michigan girl can. Kathleen King, Artist-at-Large, and Santa Barbarian, makes the indoor and outdoor environments interesting like you might expect of a colorful Californian. Jackie Blackwell, Georgia Bulldog originally from Charlotte and Social Media Maven, broadcasts our Inn-ovations into the netosphere in deft Millenial fashion. Marie Creel and her cleaning team at Swamp Rabbit Housekeeping tending to our Furman/Travelers Rest properties.
In the coming weeks this blog will feature each of these clever gals individually to better acquaint you with our lively Inn family.
The vibrant hues are fading as the leaves fall and local landscapes become dramatic with bare branches, signaling the approach of winter magic. Cyclists are madly packing in the miles in the mild temperatures. The ritual of endless raking has ensued and in the evenings you can see the steam from the horses’ breath as the carriages promenade through town. The “Chiller” has arrived to freeze the Village Green next to City Hall in preparation for Ice on Main. Set to be ready before Thanksgiving, this will mark the 5th year of skating fun in downtown Greenville!
For family fun this Saturday (11/14), head to Roper Mountain Science Center for their Fall Festival set in the Living History Farm. Also on Saturday, we’re proud to shout, our Jackie’s shop Shindig is having its first year anniversary party! Go grab a mimosa! Speaking of ice, Greenville Swamp Rabbits Hockey team will be taking the rink at the Well, November 12th -17th.
As holidays approach we look forward to providing a comfy annex, hosting locals’ many homeward bound guests. Warm welcome to all whom the autumn winds blow Inn!
I met this family just an hour or so after they arrived at the inn. Natasha, the mom, greeted me at the door and was worried because a milkshake had been spilled in the room and she took care of it and wanted me to know about it. It was at that point that I realized that we really are a family friendly inn. Everything wiped clean and had she not told me, we would have never known.
That is why I chose IKEA for the inn. I want families to feel at home and not worry about anything being ruined, and if it ever is … no big deal. Our guests are so gracious and fill our inn with their fun and stories and never for a minute do I worry about the furnishings. They are durable, stylish and take whatever we happens to them. I am so glad that we can have wonderful guests call us their home away from home. It was an awesome week at the inn! This family was traveling from Canada to the Southern United States to meet their online friends in real life (IRL) that they made through writing their blog. Meet Dave and Natasha and their lovely children who graced our inn this week…
We are furnishing another short term rental in Greenville, SC. This one is a 4 room mill house steps from the Swamp Rabbit Trail and just a hop, skip and jump away from downtown Greenville. It will be like the Swamp Rabbit Inn furnished entirely in IKEA. Here is a quick little video we made yesterday on our trip to IKEA.
Watch here: Another successful trip to IKEA
Subscribe to our blog to see the mill house all set up in the next few weeks.
More properties and projects coming soon!
We were thrilled to receive a 2014 GGAR Revitalization Award for the Swamp Rabbit Inn in downtown Greenville, SC. We took an old house that was being used for commercial office space in Greenville’s historic West End and converted it into a six bedroom European style, bike-friendly bed and breakfast. Opening in June of 2014 we have had an awesome stream of guests from all over the world!
You see our before and after pictures by clicking on the links below. Book you stay with us today!
Swamp Rabbit Inn Before Photos:
Swamp Rabbit Inn After Photos:
Take a look inside the inn …
The making of an inn requires skills. Furniture building skills and ours just keep getting better and better. Watch for yourself.
Here is an online sneak peek of the six bedroom European style inn that we fondly refer to as the Swamp Rabbit Inn. We welcome anyone to this inn and particularly those who like to explore on two wheels. Please enjoy this sneak peek of the Swamp Rabbit Inn which will open in June 2014 and share with your friends. Book whole house by calling 864-517-4617 or individual rooms online now!
I am resolved to make the weekly trek, ok twist my arm, to IKEA in Charlotte until each and every piece is ordered in an orderly fashion. I chose to furnish the Inn solely in IKEA for two reasons.
1) I liked the price
2) I heard the design is pretty brilliant with regards to style and function
Well, after my third trip there, I have to say I am getting the brilliance of the design. My first trip several months ago was to “kick the tires”, so to speak; to see if the quality met my standards for the inn. It was a fairly overwhelming experience because it is HUGE and, if you are not familiar with the brand, it may not seem like your style, at least not right away.
My first trip confirmed that this was definitely the style I wanted for the inn. It is simple, comes in fun colors, is super functional and has a laid back intelligence to it. I think this modern, simplistic design with be joyful, playful and create a great place to escape to explore Greenville and ride bikes. I think it will be whimsical and for a short getaway, transport guests into the right frame of mind to get on a bike and ride … childhood!
The main reason I like to ride my bike is because I am breathing in the fresh air, catching some sun and it makes me feel free! It truly is a great escape and I hope you will stop in and check out our somewhat funky, fun interior the next time you pass through town or are in the neighborhood.
We will soon have a fleet of city bikes thanks to our new friend Randy at Carolina Triathlon and our bike socials begin in April. Check back for more posts and to stay informed sign up for “News from the Inn” over there in the side bar. We’re pumped! This is going to be fun!
P.S. Here’s a preview of the guest rooms. We’ll show before and afters in the next few weeks. Kitchen cabinets arriving this week : )
More details on the rooms can be found on our Facebook page!