Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimberly Richards.
Hi Kimberly, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I am the owner of Dwell Well. I live in the beautiful city of Kerrville, TX.
Under the Dwell Well umbrella, I have my vacation rental management, design consulting and remodel and design for all things VR. A one stop shop, so to speak, for all things short-term rental.
My degree is actually in Theology. I graduated from Trinity College of Florida in 1990.
I married my first husband, Mike Davidson, in 1991. He was youth minister at Trinity Baptist, here in Kerrville. Together we ministered to the youth in our community.
During this time, I was also director of a nonprofit organization helping women in crisis.
In 1995 I gave birth to my first daughter. It was at this point that I decided to become a stay at home mom. Although there was still quite a bit of ministry taking place on the side, my focus was really my family. My second daughter came along in 1997, and in 1998, surprise you’re having twins! Two more girls on the way!
On April 25, 1998 at 4 o’clock in the morning there was a knock at the door. There stood my pastor and my parents. My father looks at me and says, “honey, we’ve lost Mike”. It’s difficult to describe that moment. It was like something out of a movie. I remember looking at my dad and saying, “no, you’re lying”. I was in total shock.
Mike had been away for a week, directing a youth camp just outside of Dallas. As he had always done, pouring himself into others. The week before he left, I had been in the hospital in pre-labor with the twins. I was put on bed rest at 32 weeks into the pregnancy. Because of this, a pilot in the church he was visiting offered to fly them both to and from the camp on his small private plane. On their way back home, there was a very bad storm. The local airport had shut down and their flight was rerouted to Fredericksburg, 22 miles away.
Unfortunately, due to low visibility, the aircraft hit a deer blind and then power lines which instantly took the life of all three men on the plane. The story made national news and was extensively covered in the larger cities in Texas over the course of the next year. The twins arrived June 1st, Just a few weeks after Mike’s death.
There are so many stories that came out of this time period, too many for right now, but there is a strength and depth of character, for me personally, that came as a result of walking this road. You very quickly find out who you are, at the core of your being. You also find out the depth of character of those around you. The outpouring of love and support quite literally throughout our nation. It was a very humbling experience but also an experience that taught me so much about what “true hospitality” means. The art of pouring into others.
I remarried an amazing man, Greg Richards who was a local attorney I met through my church group. He was just crazy enough to take on a widow and four babies. That should tell you so much about his heart. He also had a daughter, six months older than my oldest. God put us together and created such a beautiful family unit. The next 20-something years were poured into raising our daughters into the beautiful young women they have become today.
Now it was my turn. At 50, when most people are starting to think about “slowing down“ I, like a crazy person, went into high gear and started a new business!
I have always had a heart for all things construction, design and the world of hospitality. Even back in college, I would find creative ways to make my dorm room unique, colorful and a place you would want to spend all your time. I poured my heart into my first little 500 ft.² home. It was in the middle of an orange grove, I wish I could write about the smell of the orange blossoms that surrounded me every day. I captured the feeling of my world around me and poured it into my little cottage. The lace curtains, the touches of pink and pigments of orange and white throughout the house embodied my surroundings. Although it was small, it was my little dream house.
Along with my love of building and design, I dreamed of owning and running a boutique hotel. For 20 years, I had a binder full of drawings, clippings and ideas. Sometimes I would sit for hours drawing out plans, dreaming of locations and thinking about amenities. The dream then developed into having casitas or individual homes, all on one piece of land. Keep in mind, this was before vacation rentals were even a thing.
This is how Dwell Well came to be. A place where all of my dreams can come together under one umbrella.
In 2017, I purchased my first cottage. It was a 1925 Sears kit home. I took the next seven months and painstakingly restored the home, keeping the historical qualities but adding in the much-needed modern amenities.
I listed the home on VRBO/Airbnb just to test the market and to my surprise, it immediately filled up and stayed consistently booked, it was crazy! Since then, I have restored two additional homes, another 1927 Sears kit home, as well as a 1939 bungalow.
This grew into restoring, remodeling and designing vacation rentals and homes for others, which then led to consulting others, helping them set up their rentals.
My husband and I have always made a point to go on a date once a week, every week, for our entire 23 years of marriage. We also have always made it a priority to go on some kind of vacation at least once every three months to reconnect over the course of a weekend or a week’s vacation. I came to realize how incredibly important these times away were both to our marriage and to be better parents. Over the years, I have taken note of all the details, experience, amenities, services that were offered that made our time away “more than just a stay”. I have taken all of those things and tried to roll them into giving each person that stays at one of my rentals an experience to remember. Again, the art of pouring into others.
Hence my motto – “more than just a place to stay, it’s an experience”.
I wanted to create spaces that people felt like were “done just for them.“ I wanted each home to be part of the experience of their vacation. Although my rentals are packed full of amazing amenities, it’s the details that have become a huge part of what helped to create “the experience”. The little thoughtful things no one else does. It seems to be working. We have a large percentage of repeat guests.
Often people go into vacation rentals just to make money, with little to no thought for hospitality. I approach it more from the hospitable side. If you give people a great experience, then the money will be a natural by-product.
I love what I do, it never feels like work to me. I am constantly looking for the next treasure home to add to my collection.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Learning not question myself. Of course, the numbers and business plans have to make sense, but there are also the things you know in your heart will work! Trusting my vision, locations, furnishings and design. Even with all the planning, research, and counsel, It’s still a leap of faith! Is the timing in the market good, will people love your product, etc.
Realizing I can’t do it all, nor am I good at everything. That does not make me a failure, it makes me smart. As my husband (a business attorney) always says, “Do what you do best and hire out the rest”. I have learned to rely on the expertise of others. That will make for a strong company.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I have three vacation rentals. I consult for those setting up rentals. I do remodeling and design for vacation rentals.
I specialize in managing my own properties and helping others in the area set up theirs. My properties are well known for being the best place to stay in the community. Each property has tons of amenities, very well-appointed kitchens (you can cook a Thanksgiving dinner) and lots of extras and perks, including an honor bar to surprise guests on their arrival. We have a lot of repeat guests.
I am known for very high quality and high standards in my remodeling, restoration and vacation rentals. I don’t compromise! Whether it is a home I plan on using as a VR or a VR for a client, you know that every inch has been done to the highest standards. These homes will be around for another 100 years. My community loves that I help preserve these old homes and give them a new lease on life. I’m helping to preserve the charm of our city, one house at a time.
A 100 years old, run down house does not scare me. I can walk in and almost immediately see its potential. It’s like the house is telling me the story of its life, past, present and future. I literally get giddy! Demo day is my favorite day. It is the day the “bones” of the house are revealed. The angels are singing!
The thing that sets me apart from others is my passion for pouring into others and my heart for hospitality. I have relationships that started out because of hosting that have turned into lifelong friendships. I love relationships!
The thing I am most proud of is turning my dream into a vision and making it a reality. I love inspiring people. The inspiration that has the most meaning for me is that of inspiring my daughters! I love being an inspiration to them and a living embodiment of what it means to pursue dreams, re-create yourself, find your voice and pursue the thing that speaks to your heart.
Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
I have absolutely had some incredible mentors, counselors and all around cheerleaders! Probably the biggest mentor is my sweet friend Dawsie Meek. She has been a wealth of information both before I started and throughout the process. She and her husband have 16 rentals and growing. Not only is she a wealth of knowledge, she also challenges me and has encouraged me to stick to my guns when I feel something is necessary and push back on me when it’s not.
My husband Greg has been my right-hand man! He is a business and real-estate attorney and absolutely invaluable to what I do. He has an incredible mind for business and numbers. It really is the perfect match! We have been truly blessed in our real estate endeavors. He has also become one of my biggest cheerleaders! He has a lot of confidence in me (that’s huge) and the product I turn out. He pushes me to think big and pushes back on me when there is a better way. Well, it is also pretty awesome that he could set up my LLC for me for free.
My five girls have been cheering me on from the beginning! They love to watch me pursue my vision. They are proud of what I have built. Several of them have jobs in similar fields, so it’s fun to talk shop together.
My besties are amazing sounding boards, encouragers and voices of reason. I have had the privilege of helping several of them set up their own VR’s and witnessed their amazing success.
There is no way I could do what I do without my amazing carpenter, Juvenal Lopez! He is a Jack of all trades and all around magician!
My amazing housekeepers are a huge part of why I can do what I do!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: dwellwellexperience.com
- Instagram: @dwellwellexperience
- Facebook: @dwellwellexperience
Sarah Carpenter Jonathan Mills Stacy Anderson