Meet Philip Sterling
What is Amigo Motor Lodge and where are you guys located?
The Amigo Motor Lodge is a 17 room motel in Salida, CO, originally built in 1958. We purchased in late 2015 and have been renovating ever since. Our first rooms opened in July 2016 and we are currently working on landscaping and expanding the back of our lot of including some renovated trailers and tents as seasonal accommodations.
Can you tell us what led you to purchase the old space and take on such a big project?
Kaitlyn and I (Philip) talked about an idea like this on our first date and it's just something that stuck with us. I really liked the idea of restoring an older property and we both really thought it was the right time for something like this. Travel really defines a lot of people these days and there is a new surge of revived or reimagined accommodations starting to show up around the US outside of major cities. We thought Salida really needed something like that. I was really itching to make a big change and finally pulled the trigger when we found the property in Salida. Kaitlyn was crazy enough to leave her job and follow me to this small mountain town. She's taken the lead on the branding and design of the property while I have taken the lead as something of a general contractor.
What was the design and renovation process like?
It's been a very humbling, long and repetitive process really. Being originally built in 1958, the buildings had their share of problems to address. Overall the building was in decent shape, but we tore everything back to the studs and went from there. I did most of the work that you don't see (with the help of a key carpenter and some subs for tile and flooring) and Kaitlyn was responsible for making the interior design in the rooms and throughout the property. It took us about 7 months to get the first 8 rooms open in July 2016 and then 7 more opened in January 2017. Each of the rooms has a very similar layout, hence the repetitiveness, but we have decorated each of the rooms in a unique manner pulling from stuff we had in our old houses to things we'd find on Instagram. It was a pretty free-form process. We still have landscaping and some other projects that will keep us busy through the end of 2017. We are really excited to have some renovated trailers as well as yurts in the back of the lot, which should finish out the property nicely.
What were you doing before purchasing and renovating Amigo?
Kaitlyn was/is a graphic designer and writer, I ran a retail business for 8 years before selling it, selling my house and putting 50K miles on a truck traveling around the US for about 18 months.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A lot from our travels. We have definitely taken inspiration from a lot of places we have stayed and visited. We wanted to freshen up the 50's motel with a simple mountain southwest vibe.
What's a typical day like for you?
Well, it's definitely not glamorous. We trade off early morning coffee making duties to one another. Then, after a quick breakfast, we are generally cleaning, doing laundry or errands until about 1-2pm. After that we have a little fee time which might be skiing, hitting the river or the trails and then it's back for check-ins and manning the lobby until 10pm close. Add to that, we are still working on the property so I squeeze in time for things like landscaping and prepping the final rooms for remodeling. We have just added some more great staff, but it's still makes for very long and often repetitive days.
Well, we are trying to have things finished by about this Fall with the addition of 2-3 trailers and some yurt-type tents. That will make roughly 2 years of work, so we are planning to take some extended time off traveling. Hopefully we'll get some good rest and find some inspiration. We go back and forth on what we want to do next. There are a few