The Weirdest Airbnb in Austin Is Also the Most Peaceful
Austin's Bloomhouse is a work of art you can reside in.
A bizarre and beautiful house sits in the hills of West Austin, beige walls curving in strange organic shapes that make it seem almost as if it might have grown from the earth all on its own. If you were to stumble across this house in its misty wooded valley, you’d be forgiven for thinking it could be a meringue-like giant mushroom formation, or perhaps an unusual kind of cave.
To understand how the Bloomhouse came to be, we need to go back in time to the 1970s, when architecture student Charles Harker designed the structure as his graduate thesis statement. The vision for the house was to represent a balance between humanity and the natural world, serving both as a constructed shelter and a place of solitude shaped to mimic the movement of the winds and landscape. The house was intended to feel like a peaceful escape from society, an ideal that meant it for years lacked even a physical address.
The construction of the house took 11 years to complete. Its basic design was built with steel rebar that was then coated in polyurethane foam. Over a 7-month period, the foam was painstakingly shaped with a handheld pruning saw. Harker and his team finished it off with layers of concrete stucco, adding cherrywood accents inside the structure and covering the floor in circular handmade tiles.
The 1980s Austin real estate boom came and went, and over time, the Bloomhouse fell into disrepair. A few decades passed before the home was purchased by David Claunch, former mayor of West Lake Hills, Texas, who began restoring it in 2017.
Today, the Bloomhouse looks much the same as it once did, with no straight lines or corners to speak of apart from the doors. Stepping inside is much like entering a fantastically large seashell, the walls and ceiling curving pleasantly around you. Despite the unusual appearance, the home has a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and living room (with a sofa bed), all outfitted with modern furniture and everything you need for a comfortable stay. Outside, a peaceful deck and outdoor shower provide an opportunity to feel more connected to nature.
It’s undoubtedly a bizarre house, described by one Airbnb guest as “like living in your wildest imagination. Everything looks like something yet looks like nothing.”
If you have your doubts about the place, you might take your cue from another Airbnb guest, who called the rental “a truly unique experience that you will never forget,” adding, “we asked ourselves, ‘is this too weird?’ It was not.”
The Bloomhouse is available for up to four guests and is currently listed on Airbnb for $597 per night.