“When I was a kid, we would take a lot of family trips to ski towns, and my favorite places to go were the ones with lofts or something cool about the house,” said Kelli Shaw, owner of Walnut & Pine Design. (Read more on Walnut & Pine here.

So when Shaw and her partner, Josh, stumbled upon a pine cabin just minutes from Custer, one of their favorite towns, she knew that experience was exactly what she wanted to create for travelers. 

Shaw explained, “I think adults like that stuff—something different. It kind of enhances your vacation”

But a specialty rental property didn’t come without complications. 

When Shaw first saw the listing for the cabin, she and Josh were just leaving for a trip to Michigan. She put it out of her mind, and when they returned, the house was already on a contract. 

“I knew it would be after two days or whatever,” she explained. 

After some encouragement from her sister, she put in a backup offer on the cabin. Ten minutes later, Shaw got a call telling her the cabin was hers. 

With the keys in hand, she and Josh began working on creating the Pine Palace. Come fall of 2020, they began renting it as an Airbnb

About Pine Palace

+2 Bed
+2 Bath
+Entire Home for Stay
+Full Kitchen

Between the loft bedroom, downstairs bedroom, and sleeper sofa, the rental sleeps five and has two bathrooms. 

“We added some different elements,” said Shaw. “The wood plays into that Scandinavian design that I already like so much.” 

The cabin was a fairly new construction, so it didn’t need too much done to it. 

“The shell was there,” she expanded. “That house just needed a lot of little things done to it like the painting and the décor.” 

One of the biggest changes in the main living space was switching out a library ladder for swiveling stairs. 

“I was thinking of changing out linens and stuff coming up and down a ladder,” explained Shaw of the decision. “[The stairs are] super small, and you can face those however you want.” 

Her favorite places to design are rentals like this one. 

“[You can use] something that you don’t want to live with every day in your everyday house, but in an Airbnb, you can theme it,” she said. “That’s where people want to stay.” 

From wall to ceiling, the majority of the Pine Palace is made of pine. To soften the place up and make it feel more cozy, Shaw added some plants and Scandinavian-influenced furniture.

“That’s why I loved that house in the first place is all that wood,” she said. 

“I just like to show off the Black Hills.”

And with the wood and the rest of the décor throughout the home, it makes for a cozy place to sit and spend time together. 

“We keep getting comments about the vibe of the place,” said Shaw. “That’s my favorite compliment.” 

Class Construction

Custer High School students constructed the top of this build in a class. Inside, they signed the year 2016, according to Shaw. 

She says she’s seen plenty of evidence of groups hanging out together, playing games, and just enjoying company in the main living space. 

But if they need a break from the home, Shaw has plenty to say. 

“For our Airbnb, I’m always giving recommendations,” she said. “It’s super important to me that you don’t come here and have nothing to do.” 

Here are a few places she recommends trying: The Custer Wolf, Skogen Kitchen, and The Custer Beacon

“I think where we live is so awesome,” said Shaw. “For me, part of the reason I’m drawn to Airbnbs is that I love the Black Hills.” 

For more information, visit walnutandpinedesign.com.


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