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.
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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.