Airbnb: Emily Stygall quit her 9-5 job for a lucrative business after turning a former art studio into a stunning yurt-style cabin

A computer scientist has detailed how she gave up her 9 to 5 job after transforming a former art studio into a stunning yurt-style cabin – complete with mud-brick walls, an outdoor kitchenette and a wood-burning fireplace.

Emily Stygall rents her beautiful straw villa hidden on a 16-hectare farm in Emerald, less than an hour from Melbourne.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Look inside the Alkira Eco-Glamping Retreat.

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The side hustle led to a lucrative business after earning an extra $50,000 in less than a year while juggling a full-time job.

“I was able to create a home office space – more traffic and more 9 to 5 office,” Emily told 7Life.

“The extra income has been amazing. It gave me flexibility, freedom and a chance to think outside the box on my own terms. I’m my own boss and it feels so good.

A computer scientist went into detail about how she transformed an old art studio into a stunning yurt-style cabin. Credit: Emilie Stygall
Emily Stygall, pictured with her husband, rents her beautiful straw villa on a 16 hectare farm. Credit: Emilie Stygall

Guests at the Alkira Eco-Glamping Retreat have described their stay at the farm outside Australia’s major city as a “magical slice of paradise” after “felt transported to another world”.

Emily offers her cozy straw bale yurt on Airbnb as a one-stop lodging option starting at $387 per night.

“The yurt is unique because no one else has anything like it,” she explains.

Alkira was once a small art studio for use by artists.

Brought back to life

“The space was generally used during the day to house the artists,” she says.

“There was no insulation, the walls were clad in recycled wood, the windows had shutters to keep in the light but not the breeze, and they also took up most of the room when open.

“The location not only offered stunning views of the mountain ranges in the distance, but was also surrounded by the most amazing birds, making it the perfect place to create art.”

Alkira came to life after six months of renovations.

Alkira came to life after six months of renovations. Credit: Emilie Stygall
The family “worked together” to coat the walls with mud and straw bales. Credit: Emilie Stygall

“The first thing we took away was the shutters – it gave the room a lot more light and made it look a lot more open,” she says.

“My parents had a few mudbrick houses in their day, so we all worked together as a family to plaster the walls. We saved a lot of money by making the yurt ourselves.

“The straw bale process wasn’t easy because it’s not a common material to build with.”

Welcoming space

After spending years traveling the world, Emily says she was able to “bring home so many ideas” to create a “unique place right here” in Victoria.

“I’m all about earthy tones and creating a warm, inviting environment,” she says.

“Lighting also plays a very important role in making a space welcoming. I have been blessed to travel to so many amazing places in my life.

After years of traveling the world, Emily was able to “bring home so many ideas” to create her “one-of-a-kind place”. Credit: Emilie Stygall
The yurt has an outdoor fire pit and farm animals to entertain guests. Credit: Emilie Stygall

When it comes to interior design, Emily says she owes her style to her mother.

“I’m very lucky to have such a creative mother who has accumulated collectibles and antiques and purchased a large number of items over the years, which I have used throughout the build. “, she says.

“From old stained glass doors, reclaimed windows to rustic sinks – you name it, my mom probably had it.”

Warm environment

For the final touch, she used precious objects that she collected during her travels around the world.

Emily says there are many benefits to staying in a straw hut.

“The yurt stays super cozy in the winter and super cool in the summer,” she says.

For the final touch, she used precious objects she collected during her travels. Credit: Emilie Stygall
The yurt stays super cozy in the winter and super cool in the summer. Credit: Emilie Stygall

After creating her dream space, Emily says she struggles to find the words to describe her feelings about the cabin.

“You can’t explain it until you enter this yurt,” she explains.

Place to relax

“You instantly feel relaxed, calm and at peace.

“The room has this special feeling and I know so many others feel the same when they stay because they always tell me how ‘special’ this place is.

“It’s a place to relax, disconnect and connect with nature and leave all your worries behind. Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy the moment.

The yurt has heating, a queen-size bed, a kitchenette with cooking appliances, a bathroom with a rain shower, a fire pit and seating.

There is an outdoor kitchenette with everything you need for cooking. Credit: Emilie Stygall

It even has farm animals to entertain guests.

The Cabin received a near-perfect 470 reviews – with many guests describing the ‘secret getaway’ as ‘magical’.

“We loved staying at Alkira. It really is heaven on earth – the scenery was amazing and we loved walking around the farm,” said one guest.

‘Another world’

Another wrote: “This place is simply everything…and it’s as amazing as it looks in the pictures. A truly unique and beautiful place to stay.

“The yurt is quite tricky, once you take a closer look it is obvious that it was not at all easy to build, but the result was excellent.”

One revealed, “It felt like a secret getaway that was so peaceful, serene and tranquil even though it was barely an hour from the city! The yurt looked exactly like the pictures – and the farm animals were so friendly and adorable!”

Another said: “I felt transported to another world. Didn’t want to leave the yurt, didn’t want to leave the shower, but the scenic views and sounds of wildlife were calling.

Guests at the Alkira Eco-Glamping Retreat have described how they “felt transported to another world” during their stay. Credit: Emilie Stygall

One added: “Our expectations for the yurt were beyond our expectations. This slice of magical paradise was very easily located, on absolutely stunning grounds, so beautifully landscaped…and we felt like we were transported to another realm.”

While another revealed: “I lived in a yurt in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia for 18 months.

“However, this yurt is a little different! It was beautiful, magical, peaceful, and just what my husband and I needed!”

“Above and Beyond”

For those considering renting out their own space, Emily believes it’s not always the location of the accommodation, but the “unique attributes” of what a property offers that clients are looking for.

“You have to be different and you have to put effort into whatever you decide to create,” she says.

“I go above and beyond for each guest to provide them with the best possible experience.

“It’s not just the stay that’s important, it’s the whole experience from start to finish.”

The Cabin received a near-perfect 470 reviews – with many guests describing the ‘secret getaway’ as ‘magical’. Credit: Emilie Stygall

Since becoming the host of one of Australia’s “most wanted single” lists, Emily no longer works full-time in IT.

“I currently work part-time with an Apple reseller. I’ve been in the business for 18 years,” she says.

“Initially I was working full time, but A’kira has given me the flexibility to work part time now.”

She adds, “I can work outside in the fresh air, create and style my space the way I like it, and share it with like-minded people who enjoy its beauty.”

Alkira was voted the second best “Unique Place to Stay in Australia” on Airbnb’s “Most Wanted Stays”.

Editor’s note: 7NEWS.com.au received no monetary benefit from this content.

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Surprising discovery of the traveler behind the library.

Surprising discovery of the traveler behind the library.

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