Watch: The Stardust Inn is a homey homage to Willie Nelson
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Developers of short-term rentals are going big on theming.
A growing number of themed vacation rentals are luring guests with immersive experiences and Instagram appeal. Airbnb even launched a fund to help hosts develop their own wild concepts.
For builders, there’s an opportunity to create unique properties, equipped with high-performance, propane-fueled appliances, where rentals are in demand.
Take the Stardust Inn.
“Hello walls” might be the first thing you say when you step inside the new Willie Nelson-inspired short-term rental in Dripping Springs, Texas.
Developed by Chris and Wendy Elder, the property greets guests with a mural of the Red Headed Stranger on the exterior of the three-story house. Inside, nods to the country music legend, including suites named after his chart-toppers and interior décor inspired by his iconic style, will make Willie fans feel right at home.
Watch the video below for a tour of the Stardust Inn.
Outside Austin City Limits
The Elders chose four acres 40 miles outside of Austin to develop their short-term rental collection. It’s a smart place for a vacation rental, they explain. Dripping Springs is the wedding capital of Texas with few options for lodging. They expect their four-bedroom, three-bathroom rental will be booked throughout wedding season and beyond.
“It’s just imperative that they have other places for people to rent when they’re out here for those events,” says Chris Elder, a speculative homebuilder.
Building in a rural location meant there was no connection to natural gas, but the Elders insisted on top-tier amenities such as a gas stovetop and fireplace for their guests, so they opted for propane.
“When my husband built this, he was like, ‘Hands down, we’re doing this for our cooking people,’” says Wendy Elder, a realtor.
Likewise, a propane fireplace is safer than a woodburning type in a home built to host large parties. Plus, using a direct-vent model meant Chris Elder could build without a chimney, in keeping with the house’s modern farmhouse style.
Another advantage of building outside a major city: more freedom. Chris Elder doubts the Willie Nelson mural, painted by his artist friend Sam Welty, would fly in an HOA-controlled neighborhood.
Other amenities include a large firepit and decks offering sweeping views of Texas Hill Country.
Nelson’s influence looms large in Central Texas.
In 1973, the native Texan held his inaugural Fourth of July Picnic at a Dripping Springs ranch. The festival featured Waylon Jennings, John Prine and Kris Kristofferson, among other country music “outlaws.” The event continues to draw crowds more than 40 years later.
“He has so much content and color and history that we were able to get these artists in here and produce something that had a fantastic theme local to the community,” Chris Elder says.