Photo by David Heitur
One Lewes Airbnb apartment offers a one-of-a-kind escape that oozes comfort and charm inside Second Street’s oldest existing building.
Deanna Wagamon has never spent a night in her one-bedroom apartment tucked within a 1790 row house in Lewes, but from her obvious devotion to it, you’d never know it. “I never stay there, but I do all the cleaning myself,” Wagamon says. “I can’t trust that housekeepers will leave it the way I want it. I don’t want anything out of place.”
Enviably situated on bustling Second Street, the historic three-story building boasts its original shingles and tin roof, and hosts a baby store on the first floor. Upstairs, the two-story apartment serves as a pure—and lucrative—investment property that Wagamon has owned for 4 1/2 years. The homeowner is thrilled when the hideaway regularly pops up as one of the best Airbnbs in the state, which keeps it perpetually occupied. “We’ve been booked solid,” she says. “We usually don’t have as many people in the wintertime, but as soon as the pandemic hit, we had someone from New York stay for a whole month in February and March to quarantine herself.”
Wagamon says it’s the oldest existing building on Second Street, which is lined with high-end boutiques, gift shops and restaurants like Jerry’s Seafood, Notting Hill Coffee and Touch of Italy. Inside, guests find a transporting experience, a singular sanctuary defined by its exposed brick and wooden beams. “We’ve been told that the brick is from the ballast of an old ship,” Wagamon says, which makes sense given the town’s lineage as a whaling and trading post—and the first European settlement in the state.
The wood-floored living room oozes coziness; the furniture (oatmeal tufted sofa; wood and matte metal tables), selected by the previous owner, was chosen mainly for comfort, much of it from Pier 1 and Ikea. The rule is “No kitsch,” Wagamon says. “We’re trying to make it look clean, without a lot of knickknacks.”
Against the eggshell walls, the moldings and chair rails are white. If you look closely, you can see the original nails in the wooden beams, while the asymmetrical brick fireplace (now sealed) set against a brick wall looks like layers of the past. The office right off the living area continues the brick, wood and metal theme.
One thing the owner did change out was the kitchen, which had an incongruous contemporary look when she bought the place. Today, it’s the beneficiary of a renovation executed by Wagamon’s fiancé, and features a butcher-block-topped island and countertops. Both the ceiling and the island’s walls are clad in evocative white beadboard. There’s a homey bookshelf above the refrigerator and a washer-dryer tucked into the corner. In the dining room, a mix of cane and upholstered chairs surround a roughhewn wooden table with metal accents.
After climbing a split staircase surrounded by bookcases, guests find themselves in an ample and romantic bedroom topped by a steeply pitched ceiling. At one end are glass sliders that lead to an adorable deck with bay views. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine among the flower boxes, high above the street scene.