Life in our Foothills June 2023 – Green Creek Shipyard – Green Creek siblings offer unique vacation rentals
Published 3:02 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Siblings Heather, Landon and Reece Schlabach of Green Creek give new meaning to the old saying “think outside of the box.”
In their case, the boxes are heavy-duty, metal shipping containers they’ve reimagined and converted into comfortable livable spaces.
Heather and Landon run BNB Breeze, a company that manages 76 short-term rental properties in 14 states. Landon had been pitching the idea of creating unique stays, including shipping containers, to investors for some time.
“I could see what the market’s doing, what people are renting and how good they’re doing,” says Landon. “I could see their calendar. I could see their pricing and so I said man, there’s got to be something here.”
Despite interest in the idea from some of the people Landon was pitching, no one committed.
“I remember me, Reece and Landon were just talking on our parent’s back porch one Sunday afternoon and we were like ‘Hey, we believe in this idea, we think it has a lot of potential. Let’s do it ourselves and prove that it works,’” says Heather. “So we did.”
Each sibling brings something different to their boxes. Heather handles interior design. Reece handles exterior design, including grading and landscaping. Landon is the visionary, entrepreneur and business manager.
“It’s the perfect sibling team,” says Heather. “We each contributed to the process and put a lot of energy and time into making this dream come true.”
The Schlabachs began drawing up a design for the first container, facing the daunting challenge of having such a small space to work with.
“This is less than 400 square feet so there’s a lot that goes into coming up with ways to include everything you need to include in a home while making it practical, functional and also comfortable for guests,” says Heather.
The Schlabachs found used containers for sale at a business called “The Container Guy” in Spartanburg, SC, and sent their design. The company cut out the windows and doors, painted the exterior and delivered it to the Schlabach’s three-acre site in Green Creek. Reece and a friend cleared the site, graded it, prepared a foundation and used a crane to lower the container in place. The Schlabachs then had to navigate the permitting process before doing the work to make the container livable.
“That can be a little bit of a challenge because it is somewhat of a new style of build, though it is a solid home, just like any other home,” says Landon. “They’re not going anywhere.”
Landon hired and supervised the contractors to do interior framing, drywall, electrical and plumbing. The work took a year to complete.
“We had a vision for what we wanted the interior to look like from the get-go,” says Heather.
The container unit has a very modern feel with a kitchen and dining area, a bedroom with a mini-loft overhead and a bathroom that features a glassed-in rain shower. A glass garage door opens out to a patio area with a hot tub, plenty of seating and a fire pit. A 26-foot-long deck over the top of the container on one side provides a large outdoor living space up top and covers the hot tub and seating area below so it can still be used when it rains. The Schlabachs say the unit has rented well and guest feedback has been positive.
“Once the first container was finished and just to see how successful it was we were ‘oh, yeah, we’re going to do a second one,’ so we started that one almost immediately after the first one was completed,” says Heather.
The Schlabachs say they learned from their mistakes on the first project and so the process of creating a second container unit went much more smoothly. They took advantage of the sloped landscape and cantilevered the container out from the slope and added a deck, so it provides an overhang for a swinging daybed underneath that sits over a pond at the base of a waterfall. The deck itself is off the bedroom and features a built-in hammock over the waterfall. There’s an adjacent patio with a fire pit and hot tub.
“Reece really is the one who came up with a lot of the design for the exterior of the second container,” says Heather. “He has great insight with that and is kind of our hands-on guy so he’s able to come up with some of those exterior ideas. It just turned out beautifully.”
“I come alive when it comes to exterior design and just the overall outdoor experience,” says Reece. “I like going all out with the exterior and I’m like the more amenities you can create on the outside the better the overall experience is.”
The interior of the second unit has a rustic, Southwest feel. It features a full-length sofa in front of a flat-screen TV and a custom-built, five-foot wooden bar in front of a large picture window. Guests can also gaze out a large picture window from the unit’s king-sized bed. Like the first unit, there’s a glassed-in rain shower.
“People want different,” says Landon. “They’re used to staying in regular homes but they want to go try something different and experience that, and the reviews that we get from guests, I mean that speaks for itself. People love it and really enjoy it.”
The Schlabachs say the Green Creek location is close enough to the urban centers of Spartanburg, Greenville and Asheville to draw people looking for a place to stay.
“They’ll look in those locations then see the Green Creek Shipyard and because it’s such a unique stay it’s enough of a pull to bring people to this area,” says Heather. “It’s kind of neat.”
The Tryon International Equestrian Center, several wineries, opportunities for outdoor recreation and quaint towns with restaurants and shopping are all nearby. Privacy is a draw, as well.
“We want to be able to create an experience for guests that they’re able to enjoy themselves, so both of these containers are on the same property, they share the same drive, but they are far enough away and enough foliage and trees in between that it kind of keeps them separated,” says Heather.
With their privacy and their amenities, the Schlabach siblings see their container units, which they dubbed “The Green Creek Shipyard,” as destinations for their guests in and of themselves.
“We want them to have a great time alone, to think, to be in nature, to reconnect, and if it’s a couple coming, reconnect with each other, to have a great time, to take home memories that can last a lifetime,” says Landon.
For more info and to book a stay in one of the rentals, visit greencreekshipyard.com.
Photography courtesy of Green Creek Shipyard