DALLAS — Nestled in a woodsy neighborhood near White Rock Lake is a much sought-after rental home that doesn’t seem like it’s in Dallas at all.
From the living room of this natural refuge there’s no sign of a road, only a footbridge over a creek. The tree house feels isolated and surrounded by flora — Japanese maples, bald cypress and bamboo.
The home is hidden, but it’s also more well known than one might expect. In the past year, the tree house has hosted hundreds of guests and is Dallas’ most wish-listed location on the home rental website Airbnb.
Scott and Danielle Kaserman, both 34, bought the place in 2013.
The couple had high-stress jobs in advertising and real estate and the home, they said, relieved much of the stress.
They decided to move to a more child-friendly home in mid-2017 for their now oldest daughter but didn’t want to sell.
“Within a month of moving out, we put the place on Airbnb,” Scott said. “We wanted to share it with other people because it’s so unique.”
The first booking came within 24 hours of posting, and more kept pouring in. The tree house is now booked for nearly every weekend through February 2019 and has its furthest bookings in July 2019, said Danielle, who has managed the tree house since they moved.
The home was ranked in summer 2018 as Dallas’ top location by Airbnb based on users’ wish lists.
The ranking was a surprise to the Kasermans, who knew the tree house was popular but not that it had gained such a following in just one year.
The tree house is priced at $230 a night, more than double the average in Dallas. Most Airbnbs in the city are concentrated around the downtown area, with an average nightly price of $105, according to Airbnb.
Though downtown Dallas has a higher concentration of Airbnbs, most properties in the city are spread across neighborhoods that lack hotels, creating a rental supply gap Airbnb is able to fill.
The tree house attracts a number of people looking to celebrate life events, but most renters are couples on romantic getaways, Danielle said. The place is sought after because of its “peacefulness and tranquility, she said, and it has been host to everything from proposals and anniversaries to girls’ nights and international trips.
The home itself is almost camouflaged among the trees with stucco and dark metals that naturally complement the wooded area in the front. To get to the front door, visitors follow stone steps through a frenzy of greenery — except in fall, when the Japanese maples turn a bright red — to a footbridge that arches over a brook.
The Kasermans changed little when they bought the house.
The tree house’s original incarnation was as an artist’s studio with soaring ceilings built in 1988. The second owner expanded the house beyond what is now the living room to add a kitchen and dining area hand-crafted with dark woods and repurposed materials. A multitude of windows brightens the house with natural light.
Between the two prior owners, the landscaping evolved to take on a more natural appearance with a Japanese-influenced front garden.
That’s part of what initially drew the Kasermans to the home, Danielle said. On their first visit to the property, the two toured the house and grounds and, an hour later, knew they loved the place.
“We just said, how can we make it work?” she said. “We knew it was a unique property.”
Though the Kasermans don’t go to the tree house often anymore, they said visiting brings its own form of nostalgia. Scott said they never plan to sell, and will likely move back when their children are older.
“I can’t believe we really do own it,” he said. “It’s a once in a lifetime property.”
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