How a Red Wing church turned into a luxury Airbnb


“I don’t know why, I can’t explain it,” said the 45-year-old from Minneapolis.

What caught Josephine’s attention in 2014 was the way the old church had been renovated from a religious shrine to a place vacationers would be lucky enough to call home for a weekend. end.

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“The experience inside just creates a bit of sanctuary in a way that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere,” he said. “I have never stayed in a place like this in my life and I hope that people who choose to come have a similar experience.”

The church was renovated by Shelly Billiet and her husband. Billiet, who is a real estate agent, said that once she bought the property, she knew she wanted to transform it.

“It was the first sight I had. I literally got chills, ”she said.


The 1880s Norwegian Lutheran St. Peter's Church in Red Wing has been converted into a house and rented out as a vacation rental.  Contribution / Kelley Joséphine

The 1880s Norwegian Lutheran St. Peter’s Church in Red Wing has been converted into a house and rented out as a vacation rental. Contribution / Kelley Joséphine

The two spent the next eight years renovating the building, creating the spacious first-floor living room with ample room for tables, generous living room furniture, a full kitchen, dining area, and even a pool table.

The church offices and Sunday school rooms were transformed into three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and the lower level became a second living room with a ping-pong table, sofas and a TV.

Billiet found it gratifying to see his vision come to fruition.

“A lot of people were like, ‘What is she doing? Is she crazy? What is she thinking? And for me that was very rewarding,” Billiet said. “It was a fun project and I’m so happy people are enjoying it.It was a vacant building in a beautiful city and people are enjoying it now.It’s really wonderful.

When a new project idea was born, Billiet decided it was time to move on. She put the property up for sale and Joséphine contacted.


The 1880s Norwegian Lutheran St. Peter's Church in Red Wing has been converted into a house and rented out as a vacation rental.  Contribution / Kelley Joséphine

The 1880s Norwegian Lutheran St. Peter’s Church in Red Wing has been converted into a house and rented out as a vacation rental. Contribution / Kelley Joséphine

Josephine knew what he wanted to do with the transformed space.

“We just realized this is something to share,” he said. “It’s not the kind of property that you keep locked up – as it should be shared with other people… It’s kind of a cliché, but you don’t put a work of art in the garage.”

A night in the old church will cost $ 382, ​​according to its Airbnb page. Josephine said that like most vacation rentals, St. Peter’s has the most guests during the summer, but it’s also frequently booked in the fall once the leaves start to change color. There are guests, he estimates, 150 days a year.

The old church was also used for smaller events and even weddings. For his own family, there have been birthday parties with a bouncy house where the altar once stood, fantasy football draft parties, and other get-togethers.

“It’s about sharing it with the people who are dear to us,” he said, “and just being able to create memories in a space where it is easy to create memories.”


The 1880s Norwegian Lutheran St. Peter's Church in Red Wing has been converted into a house and rented out as a vacation rental.  Contribution / Kelley Joséphine

The 1880s Norwegian Lutheran St. Peter’s Church in Red Wing has been converted into a house and rented out as a vacation rental. Contribution / Kelley Joséphine


The 1880s Norwegian Lutheran St. Peter's Church in Red Wing has been converted into a house and rented out as a vacation rental.  Contribution / Kelley Joséphine

The 1880s Norwegian Lutheran St. Peter’s Church in Red Wing has been converted into a house and rented out as a vacation rental. Contribution / Kelley Joséphine


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