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Escape to the fantastical Bloomhouse in hills west of Austin

For a true one-of-a-kind travel experience, you do not want to miss reserving a stay at the restored Bloomhouse in the hills west of Austin. Featured in an exhibit on modern homes at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the home comes with a fine arts pedigree but also is just a cool place to hang out as evidenced by its inclusion in Austin’s 2018 Weird Homes Tour™. Spending time here is like taking a vacation inside of a work of art. Now fully restored, the Bloomhouse is offered for vacation stays exclusively through Top Trip Rentals.

Situated on a secluded lot and wonderfully restored by new owners Austinites Dave and Susan Claunch, the Bloomhouse is a celebration of all things wonderful and whimsical.

Photo Credit: Laura Levilly-Deola

Fairytale setting for a magical home

The word magical is used with too much frequency from the mouths of real estate hawkers everywhere. Very few places in this world are truly magical. Yet, the location for the Bloomhouse in the 1970s was one of those places that delivered on the hype. Hippies of all stripes were drawn to the hills west of Austin for its rugged beauty and relative isolation just outside of the Austin city limits. Into that setting came a UT architecture student, Charles Harker, and a man with a mission, Dalton Bloom, to build a home away from society that would be a monument to the idea of craftsmanship and ecological living immersed in nature.

The goal was a home that would not only protect you from the elements but allow you to live in harmony with the environment. This quixotic vision meant to provide the home dweller a place apart, a palace of peace, a place at one with nature, a place so removed and separate that for many years there was no address, just a location.

And then the hippie dream disappeared into the 1980s Austin real estate boom, like so much pot smoke wafting away in the hot Central Texas breeze. And there in the hills, the Bloomhouse waited. It would need just the right person who could see the home’s potential to bring this work of art back from the brink.

Bloomhouse Reborn

And then the home’s fortunes shifted on a chance event. In 2017 Dave Claunch, owner of Liaison Creative+Marketing and a former mayor of West Lake Hills, Texas, saw a real estate ad fall out of an Austin Business Journal for the Bloomhouse — a local legend that he had learned about during his time as Mayor. Claunch was struck with a mission at that moment to save and preserve this one-of-a-kind house. Since buying the home, Claunch has spent more than a year meticulously restoring the home with period details considered and included.

Living inside a dream or visiting the Bloomhouse? Hard to tell. Photo Credit: Laura Levilly-Deola

It’s an adventure

When you drive away from the shores of the Lake Austin heading through West Lake Hills on your way to the Bloomhouse, you are not certain where you are headed but you know it’s up. Up, up, up, and up the high road. The Bloomhouse is literally located off of a road called High Road. With unbelievable views of downtown Austin receding in your rearview mirror, you find the side street where the house awaits in a valley nestled within the heavily wooded landscape.

Bumping along the gravel road, you see her, the fantastical beast in the clearing and you laugh out loud at the ridiculousness, the joy, the sheer courage of a house built to please. Is it a white wolf in the clearing? A merengue sculpture? A mirage? You appear to have entered another planet’s architectural heritage.

Happily Ever After

When you stay at the Bloomhouse, you are entering a setting where magic can and should happen. Without one straight line or corner in the entire structure, your thoughts are free of the constraints that our angular world creates. At the Bloomhouse, we have left behind the place of modernity, the place of logic, we are living in whimsy. We are alive in a fairy tale of our own making. Let the story begin.

To reserve your happily ever after, visit Top Trip Rentals.

 

by René Craft, Top Trip Rentals’ Lifestyle blogger

 

August 24, 2018

Seaholm Development Brings New Shops, Restaurants to Downtown Austin

View of the decommissioned Seaholm Power Plant

It’s been a long time coming, but one of Austin’s newest transformations is the Seaholm EcoDistrict near West Avenue and 3rd Street. (Sure; the district’s bigger, but if you want to tell a driver where to drop you off, that’s a good corner.) Commissioned in 1948, the Seaholm Power Plant produced power until 1989. It closed in 1996 and became a Texas Historic Landmark and National Historic Place. Now, it’s becoming a downtown destination.

View of the decommissioned Seaholm Power PlantEstablished highlights of this downtown area already exist: salons (Jackson Ruiz has a location in this development), grocery stores like Trader Joe’s, and restaurants, including True Foods Kitchen. You can enjoy a lovely outdoor dining experience with a view of the decommissioned power plant steam pipes. The Seaholm Power Plant sign is still there. Commissioned in 1948, Seaholm produced power until 1989. The plant closed in 1996 and became a Texas Historic Landmark and National Historic Place.

A quick trip these days reveals an ongoing construction site. The new Austin Central Library is in final stages (that completion date keeps changing); the entire area, once completed, will be a pretty cool spot and interesting mixture of iconic and cutting-edge Austin architecture.

Austin Central Library sign lit up in early morning.
Austin’s new Central Library waits behind construction fences for new patrons. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

Once the dust has settled, the Seaholm District will be an amazing gem of a destination for locals and travelers alike.

 

April 28, 2016

Austin’s 410 E. 6th Street Available as Rental

Living room of Austin's Graeber House, vacation rental home, at 410 E. 6th Street

Former 19th Century Saloon and 20th Century Architect’s Private Home now 21st Century Private Rental Available through Top Trip Rentals

March 5, 2014, Austin, Texas—For the first time in more than 60 years, this tucked-away private residence on Austin’s 6th Street is available for over-night rentals and special events. Top Trip Rentals, an Austin-based vacation rental company, represents the property. 

Graeber House History

Entrance to 410 E. 6th Street in Austin
Next time you’re on Austin’s 6th St., look for The Graeber Home’s entrance. Photo Credit: Twist Tours

The 19th century limestone building at 410 E. 6th Street began life  as the rough-and-tumble Shamrock Saloon. More recently, it was the private residence of David Graeber, Austin architect, urban planner, and founder of GSC Architects.  

An LA-based digital media company became its first guests after reserving for this week’s SXSW Interactive Conference. Chereen Fisher, owner of Top Trip Rentals, explained why this was such a perfect fit for the client:

 “Space plays an important role in the creative process. Our SXSW guests were interested in the house’s unique character, history, and location. These stand-out characteristics gave them a chance to connect with business partners and entertain clients in a memorable space right on 6th Street.” 

 

Location, Location, Location

Interior view of The Graeber House in Austin on 6th St.
Family living room in the multi-story Graeber Home on Austin’s 6th St. Photo Credit: Twist Tours

The Graeber House has all the feel of a small boutique hotel. Yet this protected Austin Historic Landmark is located in the heart of Austin’s famed 6th Street Entertainment District.

Within its 4,623 sq. ft., there are 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 separate wings, an indoor pool facing the 19th century structure, and 2 kitchens, all spread across two floors of living space. Walls are decorated with original art provided by IEI Austin.

Fisher spoke fondly of this uniquely special Austin home:

“The building at 410 E. 6th Street is a time capsule, with references to times and lives lived over 130 years in this one location. When guests stay with us, they too add to this home’s story, so we hope they have a great time and make it a good story.”