Winning Airbnb’s OMG! Fund Contest

Winning Airbnb’s OMG! Fund Contest

Back in the summer of 2022, Airbnb introduced their OMG! Fund — an opportunity for 100 people to each win a $100k grant to build the "craziest places on earth."

Airbnb OMG! Fund contest announcement

Vivian and I (Olivia) are honored and still in shock at being selected as one of the winners of the Airbnb OMG! Fund and we can't wait to bring our vision to life!

That said, a lot of work was involved throughout the multiple stages of the contest and, for anyone who is curious to know how our idea developed at each round, here's a walkthrough of each of the milestones:

  1. The Airbnb OMG! Fund Opportunity
  2. First Round: Concept
  3. Second Round: Design
  4. Third Round: Budget and Timeline
  5. Getting the News!

The Airbnb OMG! Fund Opportunity

At the time we heard about the Airbnb OMG! Fund, we were still living out of our suitcases and traveling across the country with all of our belongings packed into a Honda Civic (check out our story here). However, we had a destination in mind based on our earlier travels to the East Coast and we were headed toward a 3-acre property in upstate South Carolina that we had bought only months earlier.

Our vision was to eventually build a unique structure on the land, so the prompt for the Airbnb OMG! Fund contest to submit a "jaw-dropping idea" that could win $100k to bring it to life sounded like a dream come true.

Airbnb's OMG! category is filled with some of the most inventive and quirkiest homes across the globe, so we were eager to pitch an idea that pushed the limits of our imaginations. 

Airbnb OMG! category home examples.

As board game enthusiasts who love the experience of getting transported into different worlds when playing games, we knew this was a theme that we wanted to focus on.

In addition, coming from an art background with a special love for sculpting, I wanted to create something surreal but also representational, similar to other works in my portfolio:  


This would set the foundation of our initial concept and the development of our idea.

First Round: Concept

The first round simply involved describing an idea that would be original, feasible, provide a memorable experience to guests, and also takes sustainability into consideration. 

Keeping our board game theme in mind, we zeroed in on a common element familiar to all game lovers — dice. The roll of a pair of dice could mean the introduction of new dangers in a fantasy game, the opportunity to advance in a strategic game, or the chance to win big when you're up for a gamble, among countless other possibilities.

Accordingly, we wanted to playfully represent the feeling of becoming fully immersed in a game by allowing our guests to literally live within a giant pair of dice filled with board games.

Initial draft of dice house idea for Airbnb OMG! Fund Contest.

By stacking the dice and building upwards, we would only need a foundation of around 144 sq ft (the dimensions of each die would be a perfect cube and have wall lengths of 12 ft each). The total structure of both dice combined would roughly equal 288 sq ft. 

This unique but simple structure would permit us to both create larger-than-life dice while simultaneously occupying a small footprint. 

We submitted a brief essay describing our overall vision and inspiration for the structure and hoped for the best.

Second Round: Design

We were thrilled to find out a month later that we had moved on to the second round! Now, we had to visually demonstrate what we had described in the first round with a combination of videos, sketches, floor plans and mood boards.

We had a little less than 2 weeks to do this and it was somewhat daunting as we were both novices to interior design and architecture generally, but we decided to DIY as much as we could since it was still early in the selection process.

After playing around with a few blocks of clay that I shaped into dice to get a sense for the best orientation of the structure, I eventually stumbled through teaching myself how to use a 3D modeling tool called SketchUp to create the first rendering:

progression of dice house drawing to 3d model on sketchup

We built out the floor plan and interior design of the Tiny Dice House on SketchUp as well.

Our final deliverable included creating a scrappy video that incorporated stop-motion animation with the clay blocks I had formed that transitioned into the amateur SketchUp model to showcase how the Dice House could look in real life.

Airbnb omg wow fund video submission

We also scoped out potential locations on our property where the Dice House could be situated:


Despite overcoming a steep learning curve, the exercise of 3D modeling the entire Dice House from scratch ensured that we were intentional about every square inch of the structure. The Dice House became more real for us as we crossed our fingers to see if we made it to the next round.

Third Round: Budget and Timeline

After several weeks, we were overjoyed to find out that we had made it to the last round! For this final stage, we had to create a budget estimate and general construction timeline, along with a video to introduce yours truly and explain how the Airbnb OMG! Fund could help bring the Dice House to life.

Airbnb omg fund third round submission process

We buckled down, made calls to the county, local contractors, and builders and also researched extensively to gather as much information as we could to understand the potential costs of the build.

The relatively small size of the Dice House allowed us to allocate the budget toward eco-friendly building materials and also created buffer for cool landscaping and unexpected costs that might arise.

Overall, based on the feedback we had received from experts that we reached out to, we were pretty confident that the Dice House could be, like, a real thing by August 2023!

Getting the News!

When we found out that we were one of the winners a month later, we were ecstatic! See below for a reenactment of me finding out the news during work and covertly excusing myself:

Going through each stage of the contest and having our idea evolve and resonate with the judges and the Airbnb team was such an honor in itself. It goes without saying that we are immensely grateful to have been selected among 100 other mind-blowing builds that we can't wait to check out.

After finding out that we won, we've been working with BLOM Design Studio, a local Greenville design and architect company, to help us fully flesh out the technical details, design, and construction aspects of the Tiny Dice House.

You can check out the latest interior and exterior renderings in our post here

Over the next eight months, we'll be deep into the process of creating the construction docs, permitting, building, landscaping, and furnishing the Tiny Dice House.

Follow us on social to get the latest updates and watch the Tiny Dice House come to life!

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