Caroline and Mike Parrish built an Airbnb resembling a tent with a hidden 12-foot slide.
The slide in the Asheville, North Carolina, Airbnb — called “Alchemy” — leads to an underground home.
The couple’s company Treehouses of Serenity builds unique accommodations in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Mike and Caroline Parrish, married 16 years, own a vacation treehouse community near the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
The Parishes launched their company, Treehouses of Serenitywhich builds unique travel destinations along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2016. They’ve built seven properties so far — including the whimsical “Wizard’s Hollow“and”The Perch“that’s an elevated treehouse — on land they initially didn’t know what to do with, they told Insider.
“We were sitting around watching ‘Treehouse Masters’ one night and Caroline said, ‘Why don’t we try an Airbnb treehouse because it’s Asheville and it’s such a cool little town?'” Mike, 65, told Insider.
“We started talking about it in 2015,” Caroline, 45, said. “And at that point, the thought was just traditional treehouses, but it’s evolved from there.”
The couple later appeared on season two of DIY Network’s “The Treehouse Guys” and built their first treehouse, “Sanctuary.” They completed their newest addition, “Alchemy,” an underground house with a hidden slide, this February.
The Parrishes began building “Alchemy” in August 2021 and officially opened it to Airbnb guests in February 2022.
Mike told Insider they were inspired to build”Alchemy“during a Pinterest search when they stumbled upon a photo of an underground bunker. The couple wanted to create an unexpected entrance for the underground home, so they settled on a camping tent.
“We thought, how cool would it be to have a tent sitting there and people pull up and think, what in the world is going on here?” he said of building the underground home. “And then they come into the tent and find the slide.”
Caroline added that they wanted the Airbnb to look “solely like a tent” outside.
Caroline and Mike said it takes them six to eight months to build a fully equipped treehouse, but that time varies depending on the project. They said “Alchemy” cost about $300,000 to build.
As of Friday, the property is available to rent on Airbnb for a nightly rate of $396.
During the building phase, Mike and Caroline said they used the mountain’s sloping terrain to their advantage.
Mike said the slopes on their land initially seemed like an obstacle.
“Our land is really sloping and that’s why, initially, our land planner didn’t think that property was good for anything,” Mike said. “But it’s perfect for giving people that treehouse feel or that underground feel.”
While their first property, “Sanctuary,” is built like a traditional treehouse, others like “The Aerie” are built on stilts. “Dragon’s Knoll” and “Alchemy” are both underground builds.
Caroline said creating an underground home like “Alchemy” was similar to a building a basement.
There were some challenges along the way, including pandemic-related supply delays.
One challenge Mike and Caroline said they faced with their business, like many others, was the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, they said that when a contract worker contracted COVID-19, the project was shut down for two weeks. They also had issues getting materials they needed, Mike said, due to supply shortages.
Another challenge was creating the property’s roof, which they said needed extra attention to ensure its measurements and placement were correct. Mike said they made a framework for the roof, enforced it with steel beams, and then poured the concrete into the framework.
“It’s critical,” he added. “A steel beam is not like a wooden beam that can do different things. Once you’ve cut that steel beam, it’s cut and it better be right and in place.”
“Alchemy” looks like an unassuming tent at first, but pull back the flaps and you’re met with a 12-foot slide that leads to the underground home.
The tent is placed atop the home’s roof, so guests can venture into the tent and then slide into the Airbnb: a one-bedroom house that sleeps four guests with a queen-sized bed and a foldout futon.
Inside, quirky decor meant to mimic a colorful tent canvas welcomes guests.
Caroline told Insider that she and Mike wanted the tent motif to extend inside the home, so they covered the ceiling and walls with various fabrics from a warehouse in South Carolina.
“Keeping in mind that the inside should appear to be a tent, we surely didn’t want to use Sheetrock walls,” Caroline said. “I bought yards and yards of fabric to put on the walls.”
“We tied knots in the fabric and put flags around the top to make it more whimsical,” Caroline added.
Although compact, Mike and Caroline utilized the space so guests can have modern appliances and amenities.
Like all of the couple’s properties, the Airbnb has heat, electricity, air conditioning, and full plumbing, they told Insider.
The kitchen has cooking utensils, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a coffee machine, according to the Airbnb listing. Guests can sit near the counter or at a table near the windows.
The home also has a bathroom with a shower.
“Alchemy,” like the other properties the Parrishes have built, has views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Caroline and Mike said “Alchemy” was outfitted with expansive windows in the kitchen so guests can catch a glimpse of the Blue Ridge Mountains each day.
The home’s interior design includes DIY items.
In addition to hanging fabric on the walls to make the underground home feel like a tent, Caroline and Mike overlapped several rugs on the ground to give the space a cozy feel.
Caroline said she cut old rugs and laid them across the room, then hot glued them into place.
The tent theme continues in an outdoor sitting area that the Parrishes have called “Enchantment.”
Near a side entrance of the home — which guests can use if they would rather not use the slide to get into the underground Airbnb space — is “Enchantment,” a separate tent pitched next to an outdoor sitting area with a firepit.
Guests have left glowing reviews of “Alchemy” on Airbnb, and one TikTok video about the accommodation has had millions of views.
“People have really taken to it,” Caroline said of visitors’ response to the property.
“Magical stay! There is no place like this!” one former guest wrote in a review from June published on the property’s Airbnb listing. “Home was extravagantly decorated but also extremely clean. Views were breathtaking and slide entrance provided much fun!”
A former guest wrote in another review from May: “My kids and husband were so surprised when they saw the tent and thought that was it. The slide and all the fun details WOWed not only my kids but us adults as well.”
TikTok user @hannahsshoes, a friend of the Parrishes, has also praised the property. She shared a video of her stay at “Alchemy” in March 2022 to her 78,000 followers. As of Tuesday, her video has 3.6 million views and 721,000 likes.
Read the original article on Insider