- Daniel Jitchaku
- One of Airbnb's local listings that caters to weed consumers.
The Fredericks initially began renting rooms in their spacious, four-bedroom house on Airbnb, but say they didn’t decide to green their business until a visit from one memorable guest: a female ex-police officer, whose debilitating arthritis left her unable to function without medical marijuana for pain relief.
“Chauncey was active duty military at the time, and I worked in corporate America,” says Kari. “So we didn’t even think about marijuana. It just wasn’t a part of our lives.”
Curious about the medicinal properties of cannabis, the Fredericks chose to enroll in marijuana cooking classes at Studio A64 to better understand the healing the plant provides.
“We saw this huge need and it just pulled on our heartstrings,” says Kari. “We also noticed that people who smoked marijuana, their personalities, the way they are, the way they carry themselves … they’re the best guests. So why don’t we just cater to these people? They’re wonderful. So we did, and we’ve never looked back.”
Since December 2015, Lofty Living has operated as an Airbnb with two rooms for rent at a time, as is allowed in unincorporated areas of the county as a home occupation. In order to rent out all three rooms that they have available, they would need to qualify as a “bed and breakfast inn,” which comes with an additional parking requirement, signage rules and need for a special use permit from El Paso County Planning & Community Development.
- Daniel Jitchaku
- A space created around weed.
Kari says they don’t intend to pursue that due to those requirements.
“It was definitely a learning experience,” says Chauncey of establishing the business.
Kari is a Buddhist who adheres to non-harming practices, so she says they meet criticism from surrounding residents “with as much love as possible because if someone’s angry they’re feeling pain. So if our neighbors ask us to do this or that, we do it tenfold.”
Certain homeowners want to ensure that they don’t see, hear or smell anything, which the Fredericks say they completely understand and respect. Lofty Living takes care to spell out their protocols about the areas where guests can legally partake.
A quaint, tiled sun room acts as the ventilated indoor smoking area, and humidifiers are present throughout the house. A shelving unit against the wall is stocked full with pipes, bongs, lighters, grinders, honey straws, dab rigs and leftover bud from previous guests. The greenery serves as a metaphysical donation to the miniature, golden Buddha statue that watches over the space.
“Whatever happens to the spiritual offerings … it’s just between them and Buddha,” says Kari. “People leave money, rocks and weed.”
Vaping is allowed inside the bedrooms, which are all named after stages of plant growth: the flowering cave, the vegetative loft (which delivers lots of natural light), and the glass room. Rooms cost $80 to $100 per night. Guests can hang out in the living/media room and enjoy two separate kitchen areas where snacks are available for purchase.
- Daniel Jitchaku
- Relaxing in a private space.
The relaxing and scenic property sits on just over half an acre with access to a large backyard, where chickens roam freely and produce fresh eggs for the seasonal breakfasts that the Fredericks prepare daily. A spa with outdoor dining and lounging areas creates a relaxing, earth-mama atmosphere. A privacy fence limits any outside attention.
Lofty Living is outside city limits though the location is just off Austin Bluffs Boulevard. “It’s just a little spot in the city, that’s not the city,” says Kari. “It’s just really mellow. People call it ‘the temple’ because it’s really a quiet, meditative type place.”
The Fredericks insist that their property does not promote or reflect a “party palace,” and say guests are often surprised by the relaxing atmosphere. “They can see how we run our business, what goes on here and how it looks inside so it’s not this big, scary mystery,” says Kari. “We’ve all been through the D.A.R.E. programs and they’ve told us since childhood that drugs are bad. Even though the doctor gives you tons of drugs that are really, really bad. You have to reprogram yourself to realize that not all drugs are.”
Numerous guests diagnosed with cancer have chosen Lofty Living, as some solely seek out medicinal marijuana for treatment, while others might supplement their chemo with THC/CBD therapy.
Kari says watching those patients has completely changed her opinion about cannabis over the years. “Now I feel like everybody should be able to get marijuana after you see all the good it’s done,” she says. “It’s beautiful to watch people heal. It’s a really wonderful life and we get to provide an amazing service to people who need it.”