Home Travel ‘Part Willy Wonka, part Big Lebowski’: Inside the ‘giant seashell unicorn’ Airbnb in Texas that was created by hippies and is ‘unlike anywhere else’

‘Part Willy Wonka, part Big Lebowski’: Inside the ‘giant seashell unicorn’ Airbnb in Texas that was created by hippies and is ‘unlike anywhere else’

by Merry
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The Bloomhouse (above) was created in the 1970s and took 11 years to complete. Located in West Lake Hills in Austin, Texas, it now operates as a rental property.

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“This magical work of art is part Willy Wonka, part Big Lebowski, and totally unlike anywhere else.”

So says the Airbnb listing for The Bloomhouse, a “fairytale escape” nestled in the woods of West Lake Hills in Austin, Texas.

The house was created in the 1970s by, as the ad says, “some hippies and a dream.” Dalton Bloom, its original owner and namesake, commissioned his friend and architectural student Charles Harker to design it. Together, they spent 11 years in the hills of Austin completing the whimsical structure.

The result is difficult to describe. Even Charles has never admitted what the 1,000-square-foot space is inspired by, although his Airbnb listing compares it to a “giant shell unicorn.”

The Bloomhouse (above) was created in the 1970s and took 11 years to complete. Located in West Lake Hills in Austin, Texas, it now operates as a rental property.

The Bloomhouse (above) was created in the 1970s and took 11 years to complete. Located in West Lake Hills in Austin, Texas, it now operates as a rental property.

The listing describes it as a “magical work of art” and “totally different from anywhere else in the world.”

It represents the “symbiotic interaction between man and nature”, according to his website. “Its organic form, rising from the earth, mimics the flow of air, the curve of the wind and the gentle rise and fall of nature’s melody,” he adds.

The methods and materials used to build The Bloomhouse were as unique as the concept.

Charles began by making basic shapes from steel bars. He covered it with layers of polyurethane foam and used a hand-held pruning saw to sculpt the curves. He then finished the structure with layers of concrete stucco inside and out.

The design is intended to represent the “interaction between man and nature.”

The architect has never admitted what inspired the shape. But the Airbnb listing describes it as a “giant shell unicorn.” The image above shows the entrance to the property.

The interior of Bloomhouse is as striking as the exterior.

This is how the local Austin magazine described it. Tribeza as “like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland: fascinating and psychedelic.”

It features cherry wood details, shelves and cabinets carefully carved into the natural shapes of the home.

There is not a single straight line or corner on the property. Each room connects perfectly to the next. The bathroom door is the only separation.

Although the structure received recognition since its initial construction, it fell into disrepair in the 1980s. That was until 2017, when David and Susan Claunch purchased the property and saved it from abandonment.

The interior of The Bloomhouse has been described as “like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland.”

The furniture is carefully carved into the natural shapes of the property.

The furniture is carefully carved into the natural shapes of the property.

The bathroom door is the only barrier in the entire house

The bathroom door is the only barrier in the entire house

The furniture is carefully carved into the natural shapes of the property. The bathroom door is the only barrier in the entire house

There is not a single straight line or corner on the property. Each room connects perfectly to the next.

There is not a single straight line or corner on the property. Each room connects perfectly to the next.

There is not a single straight line or corner on the property. Each room connects perfectly to the next.

The couple spent 18 months renovating the property and put it online for rental in 2019. It sleeps four people and features a private patio, a balcony, and views of downtown Austin.

The space is now available for short- and long-term rentals by Austin company Lodgewell and is often booked for weeks at a time. Their Airbnb listing says: “When you stay at The Bloomhouse, you are entering a place where magic can and will happen.”

‘In The Bloomhouse, you leave behind the confines of modernity and the rules of logic, to live only in fantasy. We are alive in a fairy tale that we ourselves have created. Let the story begin.

But experiencing the magic isn’t cheap. A night at The Bloomhouse starts at $400 (£315).

To book a stay visit www.airbnb.co.uk either www.booklodgewell.co/The-Bloomhouse/.

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