Bianka Rico has turned the Asteroga House into an Airbnb location.
by Dave Warner
Bianka Rico has owned the Asteroga House for 17 years and she’s been working on giving the spot her own brand of design since the day she bought it. “I was coming up to Little Falls on the weekends, and I saw this building and fell in love with it.”
She said, “Of course, I always bite off more than I can chew because I had a house downstate and two places up here.”
Originally, she rented out the rooms until she sold her place in Jersey City. “I worked on the facade after that, and then the windows. The walls in here were all like sea waves and they were horrible. I had some friends come up from the City and they scraped it all down and redid it for me.”
The building has an atrium that goes all the way to the top. “In each apartment, both on the second and third floors, there are windows in the hallways and it brings light from the atrium into them,” she said.
“My thought down the road is to someday make it like a greenhouse on the third floor in that area.”
Rico said that she had thought about reopening it as a restaurant, but then her sister died and her nephew was six at the time and autistic and she took custody of him. “My plan was to keep my career in the City and to do this as a Mexican Restaurant maybe Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Something that I could manage.”
“That was my initial dream,” she stated.
However, with custody of her nephew, everything got turned upside down because she needed to have 24-hour care for him, which was expensive.
The Airbnb location can sleep between 10 and 12 people and Rico said that she’s configured it so that she can transition from a party to a location where people can stay over. “I made only two designated sleeping areas.”
Rico said that she feels her location is not the typical Airbnb. “This is probably going to appeal to women more. Just because it’s homey, eclectic, and artsy.”
It also lends itself to entertaining where you could have an event there, and have people come over for drinks and dinner. “It’s not sterile,” she said.
As for the furnishings, she said, “This is all my stuff. Some of the lights that I bought were just in my closet. I’d just never used them for anything.”
She kept as many of the furnishings as she could from the Pub & Cafe, but added more of her own to brighten up the inside. “It’s the original bar. Where the stovetop is, used to be where they had the beer taps. It already had the opening, so I just extended the bar out a little bit.”
Rico said that she couldn’t find much of the original history of the building when she looked, only able to go back to about 1920. “I went to the historical society, but there wasn’t much. Maybe it was a boarding house back in the day. There might have even been a furniture store, and Joe’s Cafe at one point.”
She said there are still several things that she wants to do to the location, and that she’ll tackle them as she gets the time. “I have this whole vision going down the road. In the end, it’s going to be like a boutique hotel. I want to design linen robes and sheets and towels. I want to have my own brand for the place,” she stated.
Rico said, “I see the City going in a good direction. There’s a lot of positive energy here.”
To see more as well as the listing on Airbnb go to https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/50850140