Livery yard owner, Nicky Sutcliffe, 36, and her retired fabricator husband Jordan Sutcliffe, 39, of Stilington, Yorkshire, used lockdown as an opportunity to create their own personal getaway destination on their land.
By making a cosy Airbnb getaway out of an old shipping container, the couple also managed to create a viable business option by charging £120 a night to stay.
Originally, the storage container – named Apple Crate Container – was intended to be be used by the couple only as a place to escape from day to day life.
However, after some consideration, the pair decided to list the quirky stay on Airbnb and it has now become a considerable source of income.
The shipping container home cost £11,000 to renovate and a year to complete.
‘This all began as just a fun lockdown project for us to have somewhere nice to relax,’ Nicky said.
‘It wasn’t until we were discussing with friends who also offer Airbnb locations on their land that we decided to give it a go.
‘The container is now almost always fully booked, which is incredible.’
Included in the 20ft long shipping container is a kitchen, a king-size bed and a bathroom.
‘We wanted to give it lots of home comforts, but with a quirky aesthetic, sourced from second-hand sites and upcycled materials,’ Nicky explained.
‘We knew we wanted to be as eco-friendly as possible, so you will find unique additions all around the container such as the shower, which is a carriage wheel, and the tub is an extra-large whiskey barrel cut in half.
’There are also things like the cupboards that are made from pallets, which we really enjoyed utilising as well.’
After Jordan dug up an orchard on the property, the couple had their lightbulb idea moment.
‘We originally had an old orchard on our land which we never really used and had become overgrown with weeds,’ Nicky recalled.
‘Jordan dug up the site and it wasn’t until I came down to see the results that I stopped to actually appreciate how good the area was.
‘It was right alongside the river that runs through the land and was surrounded by apple trees, which we both started to think would make for a great area to turn into a place where we could come and relax.’
Both Nicky and Jordan brainstormed various living quarter ideas before deciding on the shipping container.
Jordan noted: ‘I just originally wanted a decking area where we could get away from the farm on the odd occasion.
‘We have a busy life at the farm, and we thought it would be really nice to have somewhere on the land we can use for our own getaways.
‘I originally pondered a storage tankard, but they weighed about 11 and a half tonnes and just proved impossible to get to us, so the shipping container was what we ended up deciding on.’
The container cost the couple £1,200 and upon purchasing, they visited a nearby metal works specialist who cut out the shapes of the doors and windows.
‘It was brought to the farm and from here it was a casual process of sorting the stud walls, insulation, flooring and then sourcing the reclaimed materials for the interior, which came to around £10,000 in total,’ Nicky explained.
‘Sorting out the central heating and the electrics cost about £1,000, doors and windows costing another £1,200 and other materials needed for the construction process costing about £3,000, with all the rest going to the furniture and appliances.
‘It took us about a year to get everything sorted, as we only had our weekends to work on the container, but it was good as it meant the cost of materials was vastly spread out, so we didn’t seem to really struggle.’
For those who visit, the commute to the shipping container takes you on a beautiful walk along the riverbank.
‘When you arrive you walk up onto the decking, which we made entirely from reclaimed wood, and enter through the front doors,’ Nicky said.
‘From here, the bathroom is on your left and in front is your kitchen area, with the sofa/bed area on your right, with cupboards and a fire with a pizza oven.
‘You have full amenities here, and chairs to sit out and enjoy the decking, and the sliding doors open fully to enjoy the fresh air in the summer.’
When the couple first began the project, family members were confused at what they were trying to achieve, but now they have warmed up to the idea.
‘People definitely thought it was strange at first, but I think it’s largely because they just could not visualise the end goal like we could,’ Nicky added.
‘Now everyone seems to love it, and our guests have been leaving amazing reviews.’
The savvy couple has also been building a shepherd’s hut on the land and intend to open it to Airbnb users when finished.
‘We are really excited for this to be finished as well in the near furniture,’ Nicky said.
‘It is amazing that this all came about because we got bored in lockdown.
‘It has been really fun to build these two little projects.’
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