CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — A Central Texas nonprofit is one of 100 recipients named a winner of Airbnb’s OMG! Fund, receiving up to $100,000 to design an eccentric and unusual short-term rental space.
Central Texas Pig Rescue will construct a pig sanctuary over the next 10 months, with a projected Airbnb opening date in August 2023. CTPR’s founder Dan Illescas and director Tracey Stabile collaborated on the design, utilizing their respective architecture and marketing backgrounds to land on the final piece.
“When we first saw the contest, I think we pretty much mutually and independently agreed that it needed to be a pig,” Stabile said. “That would just be the most exciting thing and the most relevant thing that we could do.”
CTPR launched in 2016 and is home to almost 200 pigs, Stabile and Illescas said. Part of its mission is to destigmatize pigs and help people see and care for them differently. The sanctuary operates off a 26-acre property in Bastrop, where this Airbnb will be built.
The sanctuary will be constructed to resemble a pig, covered with plants and a pollinator rooftop, along with a trellis element in the pig’s snout.
“What we landed on was using the head of the structure as the trellis element and creating sort of a 3-D trellis using some of our local cedar branches to create and fill out the shade,” Illescas said. “So people will be able to come out of the room through a glass door into this private moment, inside a cocoon of warm wood and with light and air.”
With an August 2023 opening date, Illescas said they would prioritize getting the majority of the exterior construction done during the cooler months, with final interior details completed in the summertime before its opening date.
Not only do Illescas and Stabile want the design elements to blend in with the meadow’s natural landscape, but they want future guests to feel connected to the property and its rescue pigs.
The property is off the grid, solar-powered and 100% plant-based. Both discussed the possibility of collaborating with local vegan businesses on snack or product partnerships for items stocked in the Airbnb. They’ve also floated the idea of free tours or volunteer opportunities for guests to mingle with the pigs and foster connections.
“We are sanctuary to a species that’s not really seen sympathetically and empathetically in the world,” Stabile said. “So, any opportunity that we have to get in front of new eyes and to change new minds and hearts is such a tremendous opportunity for us.”