Airbnb might let travellers ‘live like locals’, but it also offers design nerds the chance to get up close and personal with some of the residential architecture gems across the world.

Architects are even offering up their own homes to aid the cause. Here are 7 of our favourite Airbnbs owned by designers.

Architect John House’s live/work space in Sydney, Australia

architect-john-house-sydney
Courtesy of Airbnb

John House created this two-storey home in the arts precinct of Sydney’s Paddington back in 2004. The property makes the most of the warm Australian climate, featuring flexible indoor-outdoor space as well as solar-powered heating and electricity.

Furniture designer Jonas Merian’s factory in Shanghai, China

shanghai-loft-001
Courtesy of Airbnb

As you might expect with a former factory, Jonas Merian’s loft space in Shanghai is a little rough around the edges. The furniture designer used reclaimed materials when renovating the place, including old bricks for the structure’s walls and recycled wood for the living room floor. Merian and his partner no longer live there but continue to use the factory as their studio space.

Designer Marta Nowicka’s converted warehouse in London, UK

Photographer: Rosella Degori
Photographer: Rosella Degori

Marta Nowicka converted this 19th-century warehouse in Clerkenwell, evolving her design around the views of the adjacent St Luke’s church. Guests can lap up its architecture from the living and dining room on the top floor, which is wrapped in glass.

Architect Linda Taalman’s off-grid itHouse in California, USA

off-grid-it-house
Courtesy of Airbnb

The arid surroundings of Pioneertown in California play host to the itHouse – a prefab glass house prototype designed by Taalman Koch Architecture. Linda Taalman and Alan Koch designed the 100% off-grid property as the perfect digital detox – there’s no TV or Wi-Fi, just uninterrupted desert vistas to entertain you…

Architect Elena Barthel’s treehouse in Tuscany, Italy

elena-barthel-treehouse-in-tuscany
Courtesy of Airbnb

Casa Barthel is a treehouse on stilts designed by architect Elena Barthel – a professor at Rural Studio, an arm of Auburn University’s design and build programme. The structure forms part of a little community where Barthel’s family have resided since 1980. This contemporary addition comes with views of the surrounding Tuscan hills as well as the nearby Duomo di Firenze.

Studiomama’s beach chalet in Kent, UK

Photography: Ben Anders
Photography: Ben Anders

Designers Nina Tolstrup and Jack Mama – the husband-and-wife duo behind Studiomamahave rethought the classic British beach hut, creating a cosy weekend getaway home on a private beach in Seasalter, Kent. The 388 sq ft seafront space has a shingle-clad exterior and warm softwood interiors.

Designer Mary Clare DeReuil’s steel treehouse in Atlanta, USA

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

This elevated house sits within a cluster of trees in Atlanta, Georgia. Designer Mary Clare DeReuil and her partner Carlos Tardio of Tardio Architecture have relied heavily on salvaged materials to construct the glass and steel home, which is flooded by natural light.

Looking for more Airbnb inspiration?

Read next: 8 cabins in extreme locations

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