A groovy little hostel on Anna Maria Island that opened late last year recently caught our eye, so we caught up with one of the owners to find out how they’ve made Joie Inn super cute and full of holiday atmosphere.
Ashley and Dino Petrone, parents of four, are one of those #rvlife families who have brightened up Instagram feeds with their chic 180 square foot house on wheels that they renovated and lived in for a year. Off the road, they’ve renovated several homes while living there in California, and with their experience as Airbnb hosts, opening a beachfront hostel in Florida was a perfect way to settle down.
Last February, the Petrone family went on vacation to Anna Maria Island thanks to a friend’s recommendation and fell in love. And looking for a house, they found the inn. He had strong bones, but was a bit run down. It fired the couple’s imagination.
“We moved back to California and moved into the hostel two months later and lived there while we redid everything,” says Ashley Petrone.
It took about six months, but the couple didn’t have to tear down any walls. “We are so happy that we were able to keep the original building,” says Ashley. “A lot of the cute little houses here are being demolished right now and I love the old places. They just have so much character.
The couple have built on that character with brand new landscaping, lots of fresh paint, new tile in the bathrooms and kitchens, and updated fixtures throughout. Ashley and her mother stenciled the patios and hand-painted murals inside and out, including a rainbow image outside that became a photo opp sensation. They even made their own cornhole set for hostel guests and hand painted them with orange fruit.
Inside, each of the boutique hostel’s four units is cheerful (hence the name Joie, French for “joy”) and has its own color theme that “takes from the sunsets and seashells of the region. It’s my way of representing the beach and the local geography,” says Ashley.
There’s The Blush Room (a pretty dusty pink), The Sage Room (a light grey-green), The Terra-Cotta Room (a rich, earthy brown), and The Sun Room (a cheerful yellow). The colors of the rooms match the tiles and the bedding.
Inside, decorative touches include plenty of rattan and beach rattan pieces matched with mid-century-inspired furniture and organic grass-woven rugs. Walls are adorned with retro artwork, and bedrooms have mix-and-match headboards and light fixtures for a creative, homey feel.
“I want guests to feel like it’s not random,” Ashley says. “I try to think of everything I would like.” In fact, online booking includes questions about whether you’re a coffee drinker, “How can we make your special?” and, “Yes or no for rosé?” to store your unit accordingly.
Stays are made even better with homemade Graze Street AMI cookies also waiting for guests. And, parents rejoice, the hostel also offers sound machines, high chairs, and portable cribs. “We just try to make it inclusive and special,” says Ashley.
The Petrones’ renovations have transformed the hostel into a brand and a business, with a blog called Arrows and Bow and a strong social media presence brimming with tips and DIY ideas.
Ashley’s interior design skills are not for rent, but she did share some tips with us on how we can recreate the hostel look at home:
“Create an inviting space by setting up a hammock, rocking chairs, and potted plants,” says Ashley. “Something that says, ‘I’m going to stay a while.'”
Embrace the power of paint
Murals and stencils are a cost effective and creative way to be crafty and fun. If a mural is long, opt for stencils.
“If there’s an old fence you can paint or a cinder block wall, paint it to give it a different vibe,” Ashley says. “I love black and white. It’s still my favorite.”
Set up outdoor games
Games bring everyone together. Setting up a ring toss, screwing on a wall hook and buying a ring, or carving out a place for the cornhole, is an easy way for people of all ages to have fun.
Go organic with texture
Whether it’s a light fixture, a headboard or a wall basket, rattan and rattan are classic and relaxing neutral materials that sing with other colors.
Be a saver
“I’ve always done garage sales, and the thrift stores here are amazing,” Ashley says.
Joie Inn is booked out until mid-August, so you have plenty of time to plan your own getaway home before you can get there, and you’re always welcome for a photo under the rainbow mural .
Joy Inn is located at 3501 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. For more information, visit the hostel’s website.