THE couple behind one of the UK’s most booked Airbnbs say it took only took ten days to construct.
Architect Roderick James, 75, and his interior designer wife Amanda Markham, designed and built the AirShip 002 in 2018.
The “remote, cosy, compact, aluminium clad capsule structure” has been compared to a “futuristic air ship” and offers breath-taking Highland views from floor to ceiling.
The £165 a night accommodation in Drimnin, Scotland, was the most wish-listed Airbnb rental in the UK in 2020 and secures bookings over a year in advance.
The project built as part of their company Out of the Blue Ltd cost £100k, but it has already made its money back since creation five years ago.
The couple live nearby in another house they designed themselves called Eagle Rock.
Roderick said: “We designed the AirShip 002 just for fun at first, but then a perfect plot came up and we decided to build on it.
“At first we weren’t intending to let it. We just thought it would be an ideal location but then it became incredibly popular.
“It was a brand new design and it had never been done before. We wanted to build something that could be built anywhere and any part of the structure can be carried by two people.
“It has over 3000 components which were computer laser cut in the factory which took three to four months.
“But then the actual structure went up in ten days on site. In future all housing will become increasingly modular.
“The structure has everything you could need. It can even be off-grid with a compost toilet and rainwater can be collected from the roof and stored under the floor panels.
“The dragonfly window breaks up the view in such an extraordinary way. Everyone who stays here wishes they could stay for longer. It really is a special place.”
Getting a room in the AirShip is easier said than done, with nothing available until the winter.
Anyone wanting to stay there next summer should move fast as well, with some dates in June, July and August already booked up.
it has an overall score of 4.95/5 from more than 340 reviews, with guests amazed by what the accommodation has to offer.
One reviewer wrote: “The Airship has the wow factor.
“We will return again soon to this secret little gem of a place.”
Another said: “Just a lovely place to stay, we felt so special staying there.”
Following the success of the AirShip, the couple have embarked on two other tiny house projects to rent on Airbnb.
The Pilot House PH5, an aluminium structure with 360 degree views, was completed after just six months of building in September 2020.
This was followed by the creation of The Captain’s Cabin in January 2021. This stay even comes with the gift of a novel titled ‘The Captains Cabin’ by Alexander McCall Smith.
All profits from the book, published by Roderick and Amanda’s company Out of The Blue, go directly to the “transformational” charity Jamie’s Farm which hosts disadvantaged children for residential farm stays.
The PilotHouse and the Captains Cabin each display unique, intriguing features.
The PilotHouse PH5 is a one bed, two storey aluminium structure with a spiral staircase. It has an unusual corrugated aluminium wall finish, and its sheet aluminium exterior walls have a resonance of a submarine ‘Conning Tower’.
The latest and smallest project, the Captain’s Cabin, sits on the large balcony deck on the roof of an old chapel building on the same site as the other projects and is also proving very popular.
Whilst the exterior is similarly clad in corrugated aluminium, the interior is more textural and cosy with re-used timber and a nautical theme featuring artefacts from the book.
All of their quirky builds feature stunning views and fresh spring water, but their unique shape is what Roderick attributes some of their success to.
He said: “One of the key things we work on, even in our own house, is that they’re all based on elliptical, oval, shapes.
“We have discovered that people feel very comfortable in these plan shapes. Sandi Toksvig described it as ‘like a womb with a view!’ There are no sharp corners and as a result people feel very secure.
“The views add an enormous amount too. If you have a very small space, but a big view, it works very well.”
You can book a stay at the AirShip here.
Meanwhile, a major rule change could make things difficult for Airbnb guests.
And this couple took revenge on their Airbnb host over a petty row about the accommodation.