Asia Upward decided to turn the old machinery shed on her 100-year-old working apple orchard in Blackheath, NSW into an Airbnb out of necessity. She was pregnant at the time and juggling daily trips to Sydney for her photography studio work, and knew it wouldn’t be sustainable once she gave birth.
“It became clear that I needed to think outside the box to make ends meet,” she says. “Fortunately, I had some savings, and there was this incredible machine shed on our property. It was in a fantastic location, but it was filled to the brim with old machines, tools and piles of old tires.”
It took Upward eight months just to clean out the shed. She had to make multiple trips to the tip and scrap metal places to clear out all the clutter. Today, she admits she may have embarked on the venture a little naively, but says the hard work paid off.
In 2022, The Machinery Shed, the accommodation Upward shares with her now-husband Sam Edwards along with another nearby in Kanimbla, Logan Brae Retreats, made ‘The Most Wishlisted Unique Homes in Australia’.
Upward says her favourite area on the property is the outdoor treetop bath which she says offers a truly unique and memorable experience.
“There’s something incredibly rejuvenating and serene about bathing in the beauty of nature,” says Upward. “The combination of fresh air, the sounds of the surrounding environment and the warm water creates a tranquil oasis that allows you to fully unwind and connect with the outdoors.”
To make the bathing experience even more special, Upward suggests you pre-book a treatment and meal with Machinery Shed’s local partner, Layers By Lauren.
“Lauren will set up a magical bath ritual with fragrant flowers and essential oils, providing a healing and utterly relaxing experience,” says Upward. “Immerse yourself in the treetop bath, where the soothing sounds of birds and rustling leaves surround you.”
After your bath, Upward suggests you prepare dinner in the shed and then, as the sun sets over the Blue Mountains escarpments, gather by the outdoor fire pit to roast marshmallows from the basket you’re provided with.
Afterwards, inside the shed, you’ll be treated to the enchanting sight of a ceiling adorned with fairy lights. In the morning, you can collect fresh eggs from friendly chickens on the grounds and harvest fresh greens from the property’s gardens.
“You can also stroll through picturesque rows of apple trees, a stunning sight throughout the year,” says Upward. “For lunch, venture into Blackheath to discover culinary delights at Ates, Blaq, or Megalong 101. Then, dedicate part of your day to exploring the stunning natural beauty of the area. My personal favourite way is with a hike through the Grand Canyon.”
As for how Upward transformed the crammed shed into a top Airbnb, she says it’s a topic that she’s asked about so frequently she’s creating an in-depth masterclass. The masterclass will cover how to create, style, and market an Airbnb to effectively reach your target audience, as well as how to secure those coveted five-star reviews.
“The journey I embarked on to achieve this level of expertise was nothing short of intricate and detailed,” Upward says. “It’s a story that can’t easily be condensed so with the masterclass, my aim is to not only provide valuable knowledge but also to ignite inspiration and empower others within the industry as they embark on their own accommodation journeys.”