A luxury escape in a carbon neutral cabin

In 2023, Ruth & Guy Wimpory, decided to tackle a problem: the carbon impact of holidays. An estimated 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions are due to tourism and this figure is predicted to double by 2050. One of the main culprits is flights, but hotels also fare badly. Ruth & Guy wanted to show the industry that it doesn’t have to be this way. Holidays can be good for the planet, rather than bad.

As owners of Skoolie Stays, a converted American school bus based in West Sussex that has been recognised in the national press as a top glamping break, Ruth & Guy knew that the key to encouraging people to swap a European city break for an off-grid staycation, was to carefully balance style and comfort with their eco aims. It had to feel special and luxurious – a design-led space that could surprise and inspire guests.

“People love that they can enjoy all the best bits of camping – the starry nights, s’mores on the fire, waking up to the sounds of birds and kids running around in the fresh air – but stay in accommodation more akin to a luxury hotel “ Ruth Wimpory

Ruth & Guy secured funding from LoCASE (Low Carbon Across the South East) towards the development of a cabin on wheels that could be built efficiently, function solely with off-grid energy and produce minimal CO2 emissions. They balanced the use of eco-technology with repurposed materials and chose to work with companies that were leading the way in sustainable design, the aim being to showcase products and influence guest’s own interior choices.

It was whilst researching bathrooms they found Showerwall.

“Having a beautiful bathroom is key to luxury accommodation but using tiles in a vehicle that moves can be problematic – both because of weight and flex. Showerwall a company with strong eco-credentials, provided us with an eye-catching alternative: an acrylic wall panel that was easy to install, required no grout, was easy to clean and offered a more modern style of luxury. The end result makes it feel as if you are walking into the bathroom of a boutique hotel.”  Ruth Wimpory

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They chose the Deco Tile White / Mustard because it reflected the angled motifs found throughout the cabin. Inspired by American a-frame cabins, a huge triangular picture window draws light inside and a chevron wooden floor literally blends into a stunning triangular feature bar area.

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Alongside the aesthetics of beautiful design sits the eco-tech. Fully insulated with sheep’s wool and with double glazed windows, skylight and a bifold door, the cabin incorporates water-saving technology and runs off of solar panels. Heating comes from the bio-ethanol burner and infrared underfloor heating and you can comfortably stay at any time of year without leaving a carbon footprint.

Of course, to be truly eco-friendly it is important to repurpose and reuse where you can. The cabin has been lovingly hand-built using a mixture of plywood, an environmentally-friendly material, and recovered wood such as oak and larch. But it is also full of surprising initiatives that you may not have seen before. A ‘coloured-pencil’ epoxy kitchen counter, made from 2014 repurposed pencils;  a bookcase door, leading to a secret room, created from abandoned books and even the offcuts from the sofa, made itself from plastic bottles, turned into a beautiful, distinctive headboard for the master bed.

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The Vacationist Eco Cabin launched in 2023. Set in its own private field in East Sussex, it sleeps 4 and has a bathroom, full kitchen and dining area, private deck, outdoor firepit and a cosy lounge. It is a unique, special and carbon-neutral destination.

To find out more about The Vacationist Eco Cabin, check out their website, Facebook or Instagram.

To find out more about Showerwall’s Deco tiles, visit: https://showerwall.co.uk/product/deco-tile-white-mustard/