Got a big dream? Start with one room.
All Dino wanted to do was run his own hotel.
He was perfectly qualified, too. He already had a thriving espresso business, a background in design and a flair for the arts.
Oh, and did I mention he’s also a celebrity chef? The ultimate trifecta for any aspiring hotelier!
But when he confessed his grand vision to his wife, Maria, she told him:
“That sounds wonderful, honey.”
“Why don’t you start with one room?”
So that’s precisely what he did.
First, Dino transformed one room of their Portland home into a vacation rental unit. He poured his whole heart into that one room — making sure it was immaculate, peaceful and furnished with everything a weary guest might need. Fluffy towels, a white terrycloth bathrobe — even a canister of his signature espresso beans.
Before long, that one room turned into two rooms. Then three rooms — a whole basement conversion.
He added a digital entry system, a map of the city of Portland with iconic local spots to visit and a few extra bicycles for visitors to cruise around town.
The backyard patio? Landscaped to perfection.
Soon, Dino and Maria decided to turn their entire home into a rental property — moving across town, so their daughter could be in the school district they wanted.
And just like that, the boutique hotel of Dino’s dreams had come to life — with plans for a second location in the works.
When Dino told me this story, he was beaming with pride. And a little bit sweaty. Because he was rushing around his backyard, trimming and sprucing the flowers, in preparation for a very special guest:
A rep from one of the biggest lifestyle and home decor magazines in the world.
And that wasn’t the only piece of good news — he’d just gotten an email from a major travel company, inquiring about featuring his property in a big, glorious spotlight. Momentum = building. Attention = commanded.
I had the pleasure of staying at Dino and Maria’s place for two weeks, and I could immediately feel how much passion and care had been poured into the space.
The whole place rang with a simple reminder:
Hold the big vision, but focus your love and attention.
Don’t start with a skyscraper. Start with one room.
The next time you get a BIG idea, cherish it.
Then, strip it down to Zen simplicity.
And ask yourself:
What’s the first room?