HONOLULU (KHON2) — From an adobe fossilized dinosaur skull in the desert, to a lighthouse in Sweden that you can only get to by boat, Airbnb has selected 100 out-of-this-world ideas to fund into actual listings. Tens of thousands of entries from around the world were sent in, with only 100 lucky recipients to share in the $10 million OMG! Fund.
And out of the 100 recipients from 20 countries, there was only one idea chosen for Hawaii.
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Imagine staying inside a volcano on the Big Island. From the outside, it looks like a cinder cone volcano with lava about to spew from the top. The door is hidden in a shape of a large rock. When you step inside, the room is cast in red and orange from the stained glass skylight. The floor looks like metallic lava, and the walls are made from pigmented limestone.
It’s a concept that 25-year-old Cassandra Dalla Riva will bring to life using the $100,000 award.
“My biggest goal and dream with this property is to work with the county to legally permit the earthbag structure. It is much more ecofriendly and affordable than any traditional builds and quite easy to build with a team or community,” she said.
Dalla Riva lives near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island but is originally from Florida. She moved to Hawaii about four years ago to build a tiny house and live off the grid. She’s currently a real estate agent.
“There was one earthbag structure permitted in Pahoa in 2011, so I know it’s been done before,” said Dalla Riva. “I am hoping that if I can get it done with the county, it will make it easier for other people to come after me and legally build with the super adobe earthbag system. Once it’s built, I am excited to have a cool and unique space to give guests an Airbnb experience like no other.”
Walls will be painted with smoke and texture to make guests feel like they’re really inside the earth, with lights dripping like lava down from the skylight. Guests will have to travel through an earthbag tunnel cave that opens into a light and airy bathroom where a stone hot tub awaits. The off-the-grid property will also come with simple appliances like a mini fridge, coffee maker and other items to make your stay comfortable.
Over the next 10 months, Dalla Riva — among 99 other recipients — will design and construct the space to be guest-ready by summer 2023. It will eventually be listed in the OMG! Category here.
“When I first got the email that I won, I thought maybe it was a scam, so I was waiting to be excited until it was announced publicly,” said Dalla Riva. “Although I did travel to CalEarth in California… to take a building course and learn the super adobe process, it was quite enlightening, and I think the building process will go smoothly as long as I have the right team.”
She added that the winners won’t get the first payout until Dec. 31, so the building phase will begin in January.
According to Airbnb, out of the tens of thousands of entries, certain natural elements and architectural features proved to be popular:
- 400 ideas offered spectacular stargazing experiences
- 961 ideas marched to the beat of their own drum, incorporating music in some way
- 777 juicy designs were inspired by fruit
- 680 ideas were wine-inspired
- 7,931 entrants proposed using solar panels for sustainable energy
- High in the sky, 1,214 ideas involved treehouses and 389 featured suspended structures
- 509 mushroom-inspired listings were ready to sprout from the earth
Click here to see the other 99 winning ideas.
“What an incredible journey it has been to be a part of the OMG! Fund judging process,” said Airbnb Superhost Kristie Wolfe. “There were so many inspiring stories and destinations that I had never heard of before that I’m now eager to visit. As a builder myself, I can’t wait to watch these ideas come to life.”
Wolfe knows a thing or two about unique properties. She’s the Host of the most wish-listed stay in Hawaii: Dreamy Tropical Tree House. Click here to read her story.
The OMG! Fund gives recipients the opportunity to see the economic benefits of hosting on Airbnb. Wolfe experienced this firsthand when she invested $32,000 to create her unique property “Big Idaho Potato Hotel” and saw $208,000 in earnings in less than three years.
From 2019 to 2021, nights booked at unique properties increased by over 49% globally, according to Airbnb, and soon, Dalla Riva and others will be part of the growth when they’re listed under Airbnb’s OMG! Category here.
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“I am definitely a little surprised but grateful,” said Dalla Riva. “I’m most excited to start laying the bags and make this dream become a reality.”