If the past half decade has taught us anything it’s that everyone can benefit from a little escape every now and again. Be it a quick 15 minutes in the car staring out the window or a complete worldwide economic shutdown, these moments away from reality are a necessary fix to get your mind right.
It’s why AirBNB has spent a lot of effort curating more than just convenient places to stay lately. As a recent Twitter thread revealed, people are pretty fed up with the obnoxious Hobby Lobby-drenched bodegas demanding you Live, Laugh and then Love on top of a $300 cleaning fee and no ice machine at the ready. Travelers want experiences. For most, leaving home is an escape from those mundane chores and nosy neighbors.
A relatively new rental available on the site offers just that: an opportunity to travel back in time like Marty McFly. Only instead of taking you back a few decades to make out with your mom like McFly did, That ‘90s Place is a faraway ranch decked to the hella with nostalgic decor.
It’s the handy work of two California based creatives named Megan Batoon and Nicol Biesek. They met through mutual friends years ago and formed a bond over design, creating and neon nostalgia. The latter was the impetus for the rental, a place both of them wanted as authentic as possible for those looking to travel back to the era.
“We were given so much from friends and coworkers,” says Biesek of sourcing ‘90s nostalgia for the pad. “One of my coworkers gave me this box that had old stickers and concert tickets, it was like a Clinton and Gore bumper sticker and Tori Amos concert tickets. That stuff is kind of useless anywhere else but it’s so cool to find a space where people can be transported and appreciate the whole picture of what we try to do.”
Its location couldn’t be any more of a release from the present, either. Nestled within California’s Johnson Valley, it sits on 5 acres itself but is close enough to iconic scenery joints like Joshua Tree, Big Bear Lake and even downtown LA (if you’re up for the multi-hour drive into the city). Plenty to do. Plenty to see. Relaxation incarnate.
Inside is where it shines though. The two held nothing back when decorating for the occasion. The living room boasts a working VHS player with tons of cheeky selections to pick through: The Mask, Ghost, a full on Disney haul — an endless supply of classics. It also has an N64 to play against your friends into the late night, vintage board games like the old LIFE, even a Bop-it.
“It doesn’t look like a house looked like in the ‘90s,” adds Biesek of the funky decor with a laugh. “It just looks like what a 30-year-old wanted their house to look like growing up in the ‘90s.”
They’re also juggling the idea to try something new with the concept. Along the way, Biesek and Batoon met plenty of local businesses like candle makers and vintage resellers wanting to sell their vintage-inspired wares to the team. If things go right, they want to offer these up in a self-service type store within their walls so that you can take a little bit of the place home with you.
It’s new versus the old. Of course, there are modern day amenities available like WiFi and updated appliances (not too smart to hook-up a 30-year-old microwave these days). But with the electronics that do still hold their original purpose some decades later, Biesek finds that just the simple act of using them slows down the everyday process of life. Manual functionality, it appears, adds a mysteriously forgotten pace harkening back to what life was like back then.
“Just the rate at which you have to move to operate the VHS player or CD player, you just naturally slow down, and I love that,” she says.
“We were both part of the last generation that lived without the Internet for a period of time, and I think as we go on and we do not step away from technology in the way we should, we’re going to see people pointing to the ‘80s and ‘90s as this magical time. The ‘before times.’”
To check it out, or to check in, view That ‘90s Place on AirBNB and let ‘em know we sent you.
[all photos courtesy Nicol Biesek & Megan Batoon]