Red Victorian to be Run by Culture Hacker

Jun 25 at 9am

An iPhone 3 and the Red Victorian Bed and Breakfast now have something in common: they’re both due for an update. Starting July 1, the lease for the historic Upper Haight building will be transferred to Jessy Kate Schingler, who is best known as a founding member of a communal living space called the Embassy. 

The Red Victorian will remain a bed and breakfast, but Schingler says she plans to add a modern creative’s touch. 

“I’ve been really excited to take what we’ve learned with the Embassy house — where people could come together with the strong spirit of culture-hacking and urbanism — and plop it down in a building,” she says. “So I’ve been looking for a building where I could run an actual hotel.”

The Embassy was profiled in The New York Times last year as an example of an emerging trend, where Millennial tech workers prefer collective housing over individual apartments. Schingler describes Embassy as the flagship location for a company she started around the same time, The Embassy Network. It works as a software platform for a members-only list of rooms available in shared living spaces. Sort of like a hotels.com for the creative set, where the website acts as a central payment and booking system for every room in the network. 

The Red Victorian Bed and Breakfast was founded by Sami Sunchild in 1977, who passed away last July. On the website, Sunchild said she wanted the space to be a “living peace museum.” The hotel rented 18 rooms with names like “Flower Child,” “Earth Charter,” and “Summer of Love Room.” A Peaceful World Cafe and Peaceful World Center sell gifts inspired by the 1960s counterculture.

Now a new counterculture, which comes with tiny computers and big ideas instead of peace signs and bell bottom jeans, will make its own mark. 

“We will be open to the public and be a cafe, but we’ll also be a collective-community and event space,” Schingler said. 

The building will close for renovations in July. When it reopens, booking for the bed and breakfast will go through The Embassy Network. Schingler said she’s still sorting out the details, but that people won’t have to join the network to stay there. The prices will be similar, but may have a wider range of options on the high and low ends. She stressed that affordability was important, given the building’s history. Schingler counts the hacker collective freespace, the ‘60s era free food group The Diggers, and even Sunchild among her inspirations. 

“I think what [Sunchild] stood for is awesome,” Schingler says. “I want to take her vision and do it proud.”

Staff members at the Red Victorian Bed and Breakfast confirmed the lease transfer. 

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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