Kirby and Patricia Swatosh spent seven years building a seven-foot-long, retro-futuristic spaceship in their backyard. They had previously used the building as a storage room and family clubhouse, but last month they started listing it as a bookable property on Airbnb.com. They could take off immediately.
“We put it on the market and people immediately started booking it,” said Patricia, looking at the open, circular room that was waiting for a new group of guests on Monday at 3pm. A Technics M28 Auto Reverse Stereo Cassette Deck is installed under a television that was playing an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” on Monday. Outside, a ring of color-changing LED lights that surrounds the entire perimeter completes the atmosphere.
On the other side is a pair of “freezing tubes” from the 1965 science fiction show “Lost in Space” attached to the floor with openings large enough to stand in (the tubes cannot induce cryostasis, but you make your voice sound crooked and get a good picture). It’s an elaborate homage. The construction of the project took seven years from start to finish.
Upon arrival, guests are given instructions on how to operate the lighting, heating, and internet in the room (also known as the spaceship owner’s manual). A wet bar and kitchenette, the Lunar Lounge, follows the curve of a wall. The unit sleeps up to four people, complete with two fold-out beds and a full bathroom. But it’s the quirky details that make the property stand out.
So why build a spaceship of all places? When asked whose idea it was, Kirby and Patricia immediately pointed to each other. “Sometimes you have to say something about jumping before you look because if we had any idea how big the challenge would be or how expensive it would be, I’m not sure we would have gotten into it,” said Kirby.
“Let me tell you the real story: He wanted to build a spaceship. And I said if you want to build a spaceship let’s build a warehouse just to justify it, ”Patricia said with a laugh. “Kirby is the space fanatic.” As Kirby says, the project started as a practical concern: The Swatosh family needed additional storage space to house the lawnmowers they needed to maintain their 5 acre property, as well as covered space for their children’s vehicles when they got older enough to drive. The building was originally planned as a garage with a little extra space for a workshop. Patricia remembers it differently.
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