Salida’s Poor Farm has served several purposes throughout its 127-year life: The brick farmhouse on the banks of the Arkansas River was built as a refuge for the area’s have-nots—hence the name—before operating as a dance hall, a grange, and today, an Airbnb rental. Owners Shae Whitney and Brady Becker, the wife-husband duo behind craft beverage producer Dram Apothecary, purchased the structure in 2017 with plans to renovate its interiors while keeping its storied past alive.
“It was hard to know what direction to take it in,” Whitney says. “We scraped everything that wasn’t historic and wanted the house to show its character without being overly hokey or fussy. The previous owner had taken the Victorian theme too far.”
Ultimately, the pair—who live in a separate on-site cottage and grow herbs on the surrounding land—decided on what Whitney calls a “minimalist antique” aesthetic. The five-bedroom, six-bathroom space (starting at $545 per night on Airbnb) showcases a well-edited selection of heirloom-style pieces—think: handmade Amish, Swedish, and Mennonite furnishings—alongside more contemporary accents. In the living room, the original tin ceilings add rich texture, while built-in shelves painted a bold midnight blue hide the collapsed original fireplace. A leather sofa and chairs from Article bring in a midcentury-modern touch; taxidermy pieces, antler sheds, and portraits of a Salida family from the 1800s add a sense of place.
“We really had to sit down and talk about all the different lifestyles in Colorado that might contribute to the design elements,” Whitney says. “You’ve got the Rocky Mountains, ski towns, surfer bros here for river [activities], and the town has a Spanish name and [was settled by] Native Americans. We tried to pull from all of that in an expression of the larger history of the area.” With roots like that—and an infusion of Whitney and Becker’s signature then-and-now style—it’s no wonder this little hideaway is so rich in character.
If You Go
Here are five must-stop places to dine, drink, and browse in downtown Salida.
1. Howl Mercantile & Coffee
Purveyor of Corvus coffee, artisanal goods, and local art in a hip, minimalist setting. 130 W. First St., 719-207-4600, howlmercantile.com
2. Little Red Hen Bakery
A staple for wood-fired bagels, breads baked from heirloom grains, and legendary cinnamon rolls. 302 G St., 719-539-2401, littleredhensalida.com
3. Benson’s Tavern & Beer Garden
Go for the dive-bar classics: a dimly lit corner, some green-chili cheese fries, and a local beer. 128 N. F St., 719-539-9391, bensonssalida.com
4. Little Cambodia
Serves Southeastern Asian fare and pho, best enjoyed on the killer patio. 300 W. Sackett Ave., 719-539-8502
5. True Vintage Finds & Homegoods
A treasure trove of antique furniture, kitschy retro art, and collectible relics. 140 W. First St., 719-239-2000