The Art of Receiving: A host transforms his home, his work—and his life

Jonathan is a single dad raising three kids in Echo Park, Los Angeles. For years he worked 60-80 hour weeks at a job that was unfulfilling, scrambled to care for his three children, and had let his own ceramics studio fall by the wayside. When his schedule was cut back at work, Jonathan decided to list an extra room in his home on Airbnb. His first guest gave him such a positive review that more lined up, and he was soon renting out a second room as well.

“This was the change that made it all possible.”

Hosting has become not only an extra source of income, it’s also allowed him to be more available to his own family. Whereas before Jonathan would have to leave fires burning at work to rush across town to get his kids from school, he can now easily pick his daughter up and spend time with her. And even have extra energy left over for his guests, who, in the end, feel like family, too.

“The most profound thing I think is what Airbnb means for humans. It’s an evolutionary leap, to reestablish trust and a sort of intimacy with people you’ve never known before. The technological tools, this transaction that takes place, and the experience that follows it, means really good things, for everyone.”

His new schedule also paved the way for Jonathan to pursue his work as a ceramicist. Previously he had always worked on his art in fits and starts because he’d never had the time or resources to make it fly. Now, while he still works part-time at his old job, he is able to devote more than three full days per week to his ceramics. He can care for his home and take the time to travel (and spends the rest of his time “getting bagels and changing sheets.”) The line of ceramic lamps he designs has become popular in Los Angeles boutiques. He has received seed investment to expand, has already done one collaboration with Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, and is talking to other home-goods chains about retailing nationally.

Jonathan’s life has gained in space, and in relevance since he began hosting through Airbnb. Bringing new people into his home and making sure they are cared for has also drawn in more joy, more interesting experiences—as a result, he is simply happier.

“Ceramics were something that I always did as a kid, and it became a hobby as an adult.”

“Ceramics were something that I always did as a kid, and it became a hobby as an adult.”


Prior to hosting, Jonathan had little time for his studio.

Prior to hosting, Jonathan had little time for his studio.

Today, it has become a viable vocation.

Today, it has become a viable vocation.


Jonathan is now committed to his passion—designing and producing his own line of short run, limited edition, slipcast lamps.

Jonathan is now committed to his passion—designing and producing his own line of short run, limited edition, slipcast lamps.


“I’ve received a lot of positive reinforcement in the things I value, whether that’s the way I live in my home or the way I value my neighborhood.”

“I’ve received a lot of positive reinforcement in the things I value, whether that’s the way I live in my home or the way I value my neighborhood.”

“A lot of guests visit from the other side of the world and they have the usual impression of Los Angeles: a lot of freeways, Beverly Hills, the beach. When they discover the east side, it’s really unexpected—and it’s been fun sharing that with them.”

“A lot of guests visit from the other side of the world and they have the usual impression of Los Angeles: a lot of freeways, Beverly Hills, the beach. When they discover the east side, it’s really unexpected—and it’s been fun sharing that with them.”

Airbnb teams up with local directors and photographers to bring these stories to life. Thanks to Leela Cyd for capturing this story.


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