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Forget about Universal Orlando, this UK ‘Harry Potter’ themed Airbnb is the real deal

By Monica Athnasious

May 13, 2022

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Unlike Game of Thrones, which we have all collectively wiped from memory—we all know why—the Harry Potter obsession has never slowed. Expanding beyond the realms of the books and movies—which ended over a decade ago now—fans have continued to come up with innovative ways to bring the witch and wizardry dream to life in our muggle reality. Now, Airbnb host Hannah Chapman is the latest to be offering a window into the world of witchcraft with the perfect sorcery staycation. Tucked away in a little street in York comes a magical home that will let you disappear into the fantasy universe for a while…

Forget about Universal Orlando, this UK ‘Harry Potter’ themed Airbnb is the real deal

The home, which is a traditionally terraced house, is located on the end of a quaint street just a five minute walk from York Racecourse and is affectionately named—in true Potter fashion—‘101 House At The End’. With black exterior trimmings, Chapman wanted the property to fit in with the other houses but still retain a unique, stand-out quality that builds upon its charming surroundings. Aside from opportune access to the racecourse, you can fulfil your Hogsmeade Village fantasy with a plethora of local whimsical independent businesses, cafés, pawn shops, a butcher, local farm and of course, a pub at your disposal. Sadly however, I don’t think butterbeer will be on the menu.

While the outside may look like any ordinary home, 101 House At The End holds some magic behind its muggle doors—a real-life version of Sirius Black’s 12 Grimmauld Place if you will—enough to win the hearts of witches and wizards everywhere. The interior of the property, in all its whimsigothic glory, comes with numerous enchanting features including: floating candle lighting, a floor-to-ceiling painting that is actually a secret door, a grand bathroom fit for any Slytherin and even a warm, soft kitchen that rivals that of the Burrow. So, where did this design inspiration come from?

“I’ve always grown up with Harry Potter. And the Addams Family, Hocus Pocus. So I’ve always been attracted to an escape from reality. That magical side of things,” Chapman told SCREENSHOT. That, married with her love of the Victorian era, became the perfect cauldron concoction for a home “where both young and old can enjoy the experience and just sort of close the door” to the outside world. But don’t get it twisted, this is not some cheap merch-like encounter—according to Chapman, with 101 House At The End you’re getting the real deal.

“My idea was as if you were walking onto a set, as if you’re going onto one of these films like Sherlock Holmes or Harry Potter—as if you’re actually going into the movie; rather than going into a Florida Harry Potter theme park where it’s all plastic and merchandise and it’s all very tacky. I wanted it to be authentic and genuine and as if someone was living the real thing,” she continued.

And a real thing it is. Accessorised with piles of potion bottles crammed into ornate, vintage cabinets, cauldrons aplenty and stacks of wand boxes, Chapman has a knack for making fantasy reality. The convincing character of the property comes from the 29-year-old’s vital experience. Utilising her background in fashion design and costuming, Chapman was able to draw upon her knowledge to accurately curate the perfect Potter home.

Forget about Universal Orlando, this UK ‘Harry Potter’ themed Airbnb is the real deal

“I originally was into fashion design and costume. I came to York to study at the Northern College of Costume when I was about 20 years old. You learn all different historical paths and cutting and dress making skills which I had been doing for years—I just wanted to develop my skills further. And I fell in love with the city,” Chapman explained. Such seamstress skills helped the home’s designer actually create many original pieces herself—namely, the iconic green and grand four-poster bed.

Forget about Universal Orlando, this UK ‘Harry Potter’ themed Airbnb is the real deal

“Every room is unique and has many different qualities to offer. But every single room has been thought out meticulously.”

Noting the piece as her favourite in the property, Chapman elucidated to SCREENSHOT that due to the narrow size of the stairs and hallways, a lot of the furniture was built in-house. Crediting some of the work to help from her parents, the magic fanatic described the intricate process: “My dad created the frame, the carcass of it, and then my mum and I we covered it all in this lovely emerald green velvet, we did all the lovely trimmings around it and had to attach it up into the attic so that was an ordeal… So the fact that we made that was phenomenal. That was a very big accomplishment.”

Forget about Universal Orlando, this UK ‘Harry Potter’ themed Airbnb is the real deal

It was this appreciation for historical accuracy and integrity that motivated the interior designer to not only hand-make her own unique creations but also simultaneously make use of (and elevate) the original features of the build. This was done, as if it couldn’t get any better, with environmental consciousness at the absolute forefront of the renovation mission. “I’m very passionate about recycling and minimal waste. I hate the idea of anything going into landfill. So I do my very best to recycle what I’ve got and produce very minimal waste.”

No fake theme park plastic over here. Once Chapman stripped back what she described as horribly grey carpet and awful textured wallpaper something quite spellbinding lay underneath. “The house just started exposing these fantastic original floorboards, beautiful red quarry tiles in the dining room, all the original floorboards in the bedrooms and the stairway was original—it was fantastic,” she detailed. The biggest delight, however, was what appeared to be original Victorian wallpaper that remained intact under the numerous layers of white—with no need to purchase anything new, it made for brilliant sustainable surprise.

Forget about Universal Orlando, this UK ‘Harry Potter’ themed Airbnb is the real deal

“It was like a pot of gold. I was like ‘we have to keep this’. It was pretty much just going with what the property had to offer and going with it,” Chapman went on to say. Not only was the sustainability evident in the creation of unique features and restoration of original elements but most decorative items were sourced second-hand. According to the Airbnb host, apart from hygienic items like towels and bedlinen, a majority of her eccentric trinkets and designs came from charity shops—adding that she hopes young people will be inspired and motivated to shop more thrifty.

Forget about Universal Orlando, this UK ‘Harry Potter’ themed Airbnb is the real deal

Ultimately, her goal for the project was to create a space that would fulfil that longing for escapism in the country—to let your inner child breathe in a home of witchcraft and wizardry while you await the ever-anticipated letter from Hogwarts. “Families, friends, people that just want to have a memory and staycation of a lifetime, because travel still isn’t easy” can find that in a property that offers warmth, cobbled streets and history.

To book your witchy getaway, click here.