#TravelTuesday: The Great Escape — The Graeber, Austin

by Marika Flatt on December 8, 2020 in Travels, Austin,

Lodgewell has curated the best homes for hanging out, celebrating or a simple change of scenery.

If you’re following our Escape to Nowhere and Great Escape travel series, you know we’re looking to show you where you can go to get a change of scenery and feel good about your social distancing, are able to cook in your own kitchen, and stay as far away from others as you wish.

Lodgewell has a carefully curated collection of homes around Central Texas for the picking, very dependent on your style and what you’re looking for in an escape. Each one is unique in its geography and vibe.

The Graeber started life as The Shamrock Saloon, a popular 19th century watering hole owned by an Irish immigrant. The property has come a long way, now offering 4 modern bedrooms, 2 kitchens, an indoor pool and full art collection. Photo courtesy Lodgewell

Our Pick for Those Ready to Party: The Graeber

Go big or go home! 

For those that are ready to shake off the rust and have a rockin’ time, The Graeber is located in the heart of downtown Austin nightlife, right on 6th Street. You would never know it’s there, sitting behind a nondescript wire gate, hidden from the busy world outside. This larger than life, two-story house is bold and makes a statement.

Swim inside this architectural gem located on 6th Street in Austin, The Graeber by Lodgewell. This mansion mixes 1880s stonewalls with 1970s renovations.
Photo courtesy Lodgewell

The home was purchased in 1968 by successful architect David Graeber. In the mid-1970s a massive decade-long renovation began. What was previously a run-down saloon was massively flipped into a debonair family home. Graeber’s aim was to encourage people to move (back) downtown and he even planted a cypress tree in front of the home, right on 6th Street and was later instrumental in Austin’s current downtown tree program.

Housing a $90,000 art collection from photographer Jim Waltrip, this home is one you must see to believe.

Many of the interior spaces are just as architect David Graeber created them four decades ago. The home is a time capsule with references to lives lived over 130 years in this one location. A stay here is a special and memorable one. Photo courtesy Lodgewell

The first room downstairs is a cozy library with Graeber’s personal collection of books, complete with an ornate chandelier, offering dimmed lighting. Just off the library is the only downstairs bathroom, a half bath. Also downstairs is a beautiful living room with a long dining table which serves as the main gathering space. 

Then you walk through a small downstairs kitchen that features a gorgeous red tile backsplash. Next, you enter the atrium that houses the indoor pool, which at one point was simply their backyard, turned into one of the most unique indoor home features you’ll find. The wall of the atrium is rock from 1885 and above that, glass windows from 1985, so you see a mix of building materials an entire century apart.

Two rooms adjoin in the master wing, with views of 6th Street down below. The master bathroom features a walk-in deep soaking tub with a mirrored shower. Photo courtesy Lodgewell

A circular staircase takes you up to what’s referred to as the guest quarters, featuring an impressive open kitchen which overlooks the pool, a loft area that houses two single beds, and a separate bedroom with a king bed and full bathroom.

As this home is perfectly situated for large parties who are ready to party, the home features TVs with Roku satellite access and Sonos Bluetooth speakers all throughout the home.

As with all Lodgewell homes, you’ll find the friendly red Lodgewell mat welcoming you, the Feastwell basket full of delicious Texas brands for you to sample, and reliable customer service whenever needed. This home is also set up for daily housekeeping if that is your preference.

The Lodgewell team likes to refer to the design of The Graeber as “Andy Warhol meets Davy Crockett,” touching on the modern design with rustic and southern twists. Photo courtesy Lodgewell

Know Before You Go:

~ The club next door has loud music thumping until around 2 am so be prepared to use the ear plugs provided – unless you’re at the club!

~ The kitchen downstairs is small without any natural light as opposed to the large, well-lit kitchen upstairs. However, because the dining space is near the bottom kitchen, it only makes sense to use that one as your main kitchen for serving the many people who will be there. It’s a bit of a shame that we didn’t find a use for the unique upstairs kitchen. 

~ There’s no option for getting fresh air, unless you leave the home and go for a walk. 

~ You’ll find a handy two-car garage at the back of the house that opens up into the alley. If you’re careful, you can snugly park two vehicles. Note that you could encounter some of Austin’s population experiencing homelessness in the back alley. 

This home is popular with bachelor/bachelorette parties and corporate gatherings (the house rents for as much as $10K/night during SXSW). Pre-COVID rates were $950 Sunday-Wednesday nights; $1,500 on Thursday nights; and $1,850/night on weekends. You can currently get great deals, up to 30-50% off rack rates, so their COVID loss is your gain.

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Cover photo courtesy Lodgewell

Marika Flatt is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. You can find her “escaping” all over Texas, to bring you the best and most safe places to visit. You can hear her “Weekend Trip Tips” on the statewide NPR show, Texas Standard.