To the delight of science fiction fans, Kirby and Patricia Swatosh created an Airbnb at their home in Brush Prairie in the shape of a UFO in August of last year.
Growing up in the 1960s, Kirby was inspired to fulfill one of his childhood dreams that was spurred by his favorite sci-fi shows and movies.
“I could say (it was inspired) from the abduction, but that wouldn’t be accurate,” said Kirby with a laugh. “It was basically born out of a childhood dream growing up in the ‘60s in the NASA generation with shows like ‘Lost in Space’ and ‘Star Trek.’ I was hit at an early age with optimism of anything being possible.”
Kirby said a direct inspiration for the design was seeing the “Jupiter 2” spaceship in Lost in Space.
“I was always enamored with the design of that ship. We practically needed a space to put our lawn equipment and the cars my teenage boys ended up getting, so we built a garage and the idea was to put a shop on top of it,” he said. “The shop turned into the spaceship, and for that, I can thank my wife for encouraging me.”
Kirby admitted the original intention was to craft the spaceship into a “man cave” or “party space.” Since Kirby is a musician, he also considered using it as a recording studio or renting it out to other bands, but that never came to fruition.
It took the Swatoshs a total of seven years to build the UFO. Once they completed it in August, they listed the space on Airbnb and, “the rest, as they say, is history,” Kirby said.
The spaceship is made of “traditional stick-frame construction” and is on top of a two-car garage with a “daylight basement style,” he said. The outer walls are made of torch down material, which he said is typically used for flat roofs, which he then painted silver.
The spaceship was the first time Kirby took on a construction project of this size. His cousin helped with the labor, while Kirby crafted the blueprint. Other family members and friends also helped with the roof and the plumbing.
There’s been a great demand for reservations, Kirby said. Most of July has been booked out and the Airbnb usually has a “smattering of bookings” in August and October.
“It’s been pretty popular, and honestly, it kind of gets to where it feels weird when somebody isn’t there. It’s been a nice surprise,” Kirby said. “We didn’t anticipate it to be as popular as it has been. We didn’t think people would love it as much as we do, but it turns out, there’s a lot of like-minded people out there who like the fantasy aspect of it.”
He said the inside of the spaceship features a mixture of a retro futuristic 1960s aesthetic with silver, gray, and red accents.
“There are homages to Star Wars, Star Trek, and obviously the Lost in Space aspect heavily influenced it. There’s parts of the interior that reflect how it looked on the ship from the show,” Kirby explained.
The space also features a bar, TV, Blu-ray player, bathroom, and shower.
Besides Star Wars, Star Trek, and Lost in Space, Kirby said he’s also fond of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which he said he has on Laserdisc.
The Airbnb listing and more information can be found online at tinyurl.com/4h9byer7.
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