Tag Archives: DESIGN



We provide these wonderful towels bought from Macy’s. We carefully selected them from scores of choices from a variety of retail outlets and the colors and quality match our interior decor. We check, wash, and dry each towel before carefully folding them to store for our next guests.

One of our rules is we ask our guests not to use them to clean the floors with or leave them on the ground.

This leads me to ask my audience, how do you treat your towels at home compared to how you treat the average  hotel towel?

How much would you use your towels at home to soak up liquids, fluids or matter that is anything other than wiping your cleaned-rinsed-off-body dry?

For the most part, I believe our guests are very good at handling our towels. We provide a special towel just for the floor for wet feet. We provide a common hanging hand towel for our guests who have some guests over. We provide a hand towel and as you can see, a face towel, personal hand towel and body towel.

On top of that we provide a clothes basket to put stuff for wash and a washer dryer with hypoallergenic detergent powder.


Come on. Let’s see…

Let me know what you would use a hotel towel for that you would never use your wedding gift towels or your last bargain from COSTCO or BED, BATH and BEYOND? You know what I’m talking about… those white towels ones that can be bleached with chlorine to kingdom come after they are used for janitorial work or the latest physiology experiment.

Now that you’ve got that out of your system, please don’t stay at a BNB and exercise any of those little bad habits. We are like a hotel in good ways, but you’re still guest in someone’s home.



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Copyright © 2018-2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.

Need for two new Fruit Trees

The tree on the left and the third tree had to come down, they stopped moving water. This photo was from the fall of 2017.

Apparently, apricot trees are pretty sensitive. 

After landscaping the back yard in the summer of 2017, the two apricot trees in the backyard died.

The one large tree actually blossoms in the spring of 2018 but then suddenly went dry.

We tried to do some deep watering but that didn’t matter.

I had to chop down one the larger of the two trees last summer and just recently had to chop down the smaller of the two, realizing that it was not responding to the season and had in fact followed suit with the other, just decided to stop moving water from its roots.

With two spots open for fruit trees, what kind of fruit trees do you like?

We definitely would like to get at least one more apricot.


(No promises just yet, as to how consistently I can blog here, but giving it a shot when I have time and ideas).



Please like, share, comment, follow my blog or contact me if you have any questions, or if you’ve got some nice tips.



Copyright © 2018-2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.



What about shoes and wood floors?

We absolutely love the look, feel, and maintainability of wood floors, but do you take a chance in a BNB using them with so many different people coming and going?

We request our guests to not use their outdoor shoes in the house.

We offer them indoor slippers or let them know it’s okay to walk around in their socks, but slippers are best.

Vintage 1950’s era oak plank, refinished. Photo by Challen


When I grew up in Palo Alto, we did in an Americanized way especially since I worked out of the house for several years with my father’s roofing and industrial electric vehicle companies. Coming in and out of the house was done with shoes on.

As a result, we usually had pretty worn carpets and a floor that would probably make the traditional Chinese housewife go into mental convulsions.



It wasn’t until after I married my wife, who grew up in China, that she helped me realize how atrocious it is to wear outdoor shoes in the house (assuming you keep a clean floor). Well, you think about it, the germs and grime caught on your shoes from every public bathroom you’ve walked through is not something you really want transferred to your home floors. Moreover, the amount of dirt that is tracked into the house is quite significant, greatly increasing the wear and tear on flooring whether carpets, hardwood or even ceramic tile.



When we clean up our BNB we always vacuum and do a light mop (well rung) with a bit of mild soap to refresh the floors. It’s nice to keep any allergens down too which having carpets would just make too difficult and takes longer to clean.

I don’t meet every guest, but sometimes I get an opportunity. It’s always an exercise in ambassadorship and tact when you meet a guest who didn’t quite get that “no shoes” House Rule but the people we’ve met realize their error quickly enough with usually a slight blush. Usually you just do it (take your shoes off) and the guest gets it. By accommodating our rule, they participate in the enjoyment of a cleaner environment.

2017 Natural Oak, 3/4 x 3.5 inch planks – photo by Challen


As for the hardwood its self, since the house is not on a slab foundation, we used finished ¾” solid wood* (oak) throughout except for in the bathrooms where we used porcelain tile.   We used finished planks for the convenience of not spending a week to finish, but still have the option in the future for custom professional refinishing.

It was a big decision not to use tile in the kitchen where the chance of water damage is higher, but since our floorplan is relatively small, keeping consistent flooring across the common area makes the living space feel larger, cleaner, brighter, and better designed. Additionally, because of our smaller space, we used a “natural” white Oak instead of something lighter or darker. Too Dark colors make your space look smaller and less energetic, while too Bright colors, or something with less wood grain like Ash or Maple, are less forgiving and harder to keep looking clean as a result of any possible scratches or dings.

We almost went with a really bright Ash plank to make a modern look statement but chose not to, as Ash wood is also a bit softer than Oak and therefore more apt to damage. Although natural Oak and natural Ash or Maple, could be a similar in color, it’s the grain of the wood that can help hide imperfections while still offering a brighter result.

*Before installing wood planks, the product needs to adjust to your house’s environment by airing out for several days before installation. Ask your dealer for details.


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Copyright © 2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.


PaloAltoBNB: 2018 Post Summary


University Avenue, Downtown Palo Alto – Dec 2018. Photo by Challen


Have you ever stayed as a guest in a BNB? How was your experience?

Are you interested to learn more about starting a BNB?  What kind of questions would you like answered? 

I’ve been posting on my Palo Alto BNB (Bed and Breakfast) Page since December 17th, 2018, been involved (among other things) in the operations of this hospitality business since October 2017, and was directly involved with the renovation of the family-owned property prior.


2018 POSTS

Instead of bombarding you with real time posts on my personal daily social media feed, I’ve summarized my first 8 posts for your convenience. If you’d like to see them real-time, please go “like” my Facebook Page “Palo Alto BNB” or follow my website at www.paloaltobnb.net

There you can learn about some of the issues running a BNB and the area of Palo Alto and some real estate details of surrounding area.


Begin with a vision  – Dec 17

Why Here? Why Now? – Dec 19

Hosting Fears: Do guests trash the house? – Dec 20

Hosting Fears: Screening your Guests – Dec 21

Compelling Reasons for a Stay – Dec 23

10 Thoughts on furnishing and equipping a BNB – Dec 25

What equipment is special to a BNB? – Dec27

A Tale of two Palo Altos – Dec30



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Copyright © 2019 Challen YeeAll Rights Reserved.


10 Thoughts on furnishing and equipping a BNB

Cool, so you’ve got a place to to start your BNB?

What are your ideas to equip it?

Here’s some ideas for you to tinker with on Christmas 2018. You have your own ideas, so you can just take my insights as considerations as some will naturally be biased to my own tastes or circumstances.

1) If you are starting from scratch, you can get a lot of great deals from Craigslist. You can to be patient and you should have an idea how to design your place with an overall theme. I’ve seen all kinds of décor and you will attract certain kinds of clients with the décor you choose. If you desire to go for the fantasy island route, you will tend to get the fantasy island group of guests.

My feeling is families on vacations don’t mind the novelty of personal belongings in a house as long as they are not a safety hazard, though executives might rather not have the distraction of an array of Justin Bieber posters or the latest table designed as the prototype to Star Trek 2020.

From Craigslist, You can get super savings on such things are stylish bedframes, tables, and chairs. Some products new are a super value, so you do need to spend some time to do some comparative on-line shopping. Places like Home Depot have a large on-line only order only inventory that you may be better off buying from rather than taking the chance on a used product offering very little discount versus new. Ikea is another value stop especially for kitchenware.

2) Some items are better new, like mattresses, pillows, linen, towels and cabinetry, fixtures and faucets that are new can do much to brighten and freshen your décor.

If you need to replace bedroom and bathroom doors, a solid version will give your guest a better sense of privacy and security. Closet doors can be hollow-core. Replace the beat up door jams.


3) Appliances can be bought new on clearance sales or blems at a substantial savings.

Once you get these appliances, keep them clean. Regularly cleaning them right after they are used by a guest is easier to maintain than letting them develop baked on stains. Also, care should be used not to scratch your stainless or other metal surfaces.


TIP: If you order stuff from a retail store when they have an inventory or backroom blowout sale, plan on picking these items up yourself otherwise you risk having the move totally trash your once acceptable items. For example, we ordered a refrigerator and a range which were floor items in very nice condition, but because they were shipped without their original packaging by some demolition derby forklift driver, the end result? We inspected them upon receiving and found they both were damaged so much that we had to reject them.

4) In terms of numbers of beds, to make it comfortable, having close to a 1 to 1 ratio of beds to baths is ideal for executive and professionals, although some places offer 3x or more beds per bathrooms, and while they can attract a higher rental rate by way by housing more people, it doesn’t bode as well for you and your boss fighting over using the john in the morning (for those of you who do not know what a “john” is, that’s English slang to toilet).

Choosing the same size bed is our choice in order to make cleaning up, logistics, and upkeep more efficient (we use all queen sized beds). This, however, may not be ideal for families with several children or two families staying together or anyone trying to avoid the one comfy scene in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” starring John Candy and Steve Martin.

5) Black out capable blinds for the bedrooms can help handle little kids taking naps and adults who are cave dwellers.


6) Don’t forget all of your safety items like smoke detectors, Carbon monoxide Detectors, First Aid kits, door stops to avoid holes in your walls and dings on your new cabinet doors, even a fire extinguisher can give a guest a sense of security.

7) Allow for guests to plug in their chargers for their various electronics, in every room.

8) Short-term guests enjoy some niceties. Things like free bottled water and a K-Cup and drip coffer makers, a TV with a reasonably full set of channels, free wireless and access to a washer dryer, and free onsite parking, all can help appease their needs for amenities. A Bluetooth equipped radio is nice, so as one of our guests said, they could jam with their Ipod tunes while cooking pizza from scratch.

9) We do not offer a telephone landline. That’s the nice thing about the cell phone generation. Though we do offer a fax/printer that is Bluetooth capable and that is good for business customers or those who just want to print something from their personal device.

10) Since cleaning a place becomes a really really really (really) big deal, you may want to choose furnishings that are easy to clean. That’s another reason why we like our hardwood floors instead of carpets. It keeps the dust down and it’s easier to vacuum and light mop. We ask our guests to use our clean/disposable slippers (which we provide) and not wear outside shoes indoors.

And just an aside… Even if you hire someone to do your cleaning, be prepared for you or someone you trust to do a final check before you release the space to a new guest. Remember, no one takes responsibility as much as you the owner. An un-emptied trash can or, worse, a dirty towel with awkward body fluids or a grotesque hairball sitting on the bathroom vanity will do a lot to nuclear detonate the impression of pristine cleanliness and will likely have your guest screaming in horror as they frantically catch a LYFT ride to the next nearest clean listing.


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Copyright © 2018 Challen Yee  All Rights Reserved.