Discussions: Kathy From Eastside Inn

8 01 2009

4450707If you guys haven’t noticed, East Austin is coming up. We are home to a ton of great restaurants, shops, bars, art studios and great people. You can find some of the country’s best bands in our neighborhood during SXSW. We now have one of the best looking bed and breakfasts in Austin right down the street on Cesar Chavez. Kathy, the owner of Eastside Inn, was nice enough to talk to us about her awesome diggs. We could only dream of having a home like that. Okay… I am off to buy a lottery ticket!

EA: Your house looks amazing. What conditions was it in when you first got your hands on it?

KS: Thanks! We purchased the house in August and are temporarily renting it as a vacation rental through the end of March.

The bigger news is, we are working to convert the property into a 5-room independent inn. I don’t care for the term B&B because the term conjures images of doilies and tea sets, but most folks are familiar with that business model… perhaps you could call us an urban B&B; a modern, comfortable “inn.” 5 rooms with their own baths. Private entrances to all the rooms, so it won’t be like staying inside another family’s home. Clean design. Upscale without being uppity.

The business will be called Eastside Inn.

EA: When will you be open?

KS: We are hoping to be open by fall 2009.

The house will be available for rent in its current state as a 2-bedroom/ 2 bath home through at least the end of March. We are already booked for SXSW, so that’s exciting. We’d love to find renters for January and February — we can certainly offer a neighborhood discount if someone mentions finding out about us here.

EA: Why did you choose this property?

KS: We purchased the house because of its location and its condition. We were specifically looking for property on the Eastside. The previous owner deserves all the credit for the remodel. She did a great job keeping with the original design vernacular while making key updates.

For example, the house’s original flooring is long-leaf pine. For the kitchen remodel and a small addition to the back, she used reclaimed wood that keeps with the nature of the original material and is eco-friendly.

Most of the Craftsman details have been preserved — high ceilings, wood detailing, bead board wainscoting. There’s also a claw-foot tub which attracts a lot of attention. We will be looking to bring this same warm, high-quality detail to the guest rooms.

We are also happy with some of the home’s less sexy details like the on-demand hot water system We plan to be as green as possible with our construction and how we run our business.

We also want to promote Austin artists and plan to use our space to showcase their work, ideally with an emphasis on our Eastside neighbors.

EA: Why the Eastside in particular?

KS: We have lived on the Eastside, south of the river, for almost a decade. I love that East Austin is earning a reputation as a great place for creative folks to live and work. I love the energy of Cesar Chavez and the number of locally-owned businesses that surround us. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that we don’t have a Starbucks on our side of the highway. That creates a great opportunity for more interesting businesses like Cafe Mundi, Progress… I’m dying to see the former Azul rented to another fantastic coffee shop and cafe.

We are intentionally promoting the Eastside in our businesses name. We are proud of East Austin and glad to be part of the community!

EA: Did you always plan on renting it out, or did you ever plan on living in it yourself?

KS: We will eventually live on site once the construction is complete. (We being me, my husband George, our border collie Hatch and our grumpy cat Knuckles.) Our home will be the house that’s there today. The guest rooms will be added on as a second story. We are so eager to move in. We’re especially looking forward to living in such a walkable neighborhood!

EA: What sort of feedback do you get from the people who have stayed in your place regarding the neighborhood and the city?

KS: Past guests have liked the location because of its proximity to downtown of course, plus the ability to walk to galleries and businesses on our side of the highway. OK Mountain, Domy Books, Big Red Sun, Mr. Natural, Progress Coffee … these are the big hits within easy walking distance of our place. We and our guests also really love that East Side Pies delivers to us! (Thanks ESP!)

My favorite guest comment so far included this, “If you needed a piñata or moonwalk there are 3 stores on this street that carry em’” — In my opinion, it’s hard not to love a street with an ample supply of piñatas!

I receive about 3 rental requests per day, probably around 100 folks have contacted me since September. There have only been 3 occasions so far when someone has specifically said that they are not comfortable with the eastside or specifically with the location on Cesar Chavez. I am upfront about the location, I call it “East Downtown Austin” in my ads, which I think is accurate and appeals to out-of-towners plus attracts folks who are looking for an Eastside location.

EA: Thanks for talking with us Kathy. I have to say, that last part really gets to some of us. I must be honest and tell you about a co-worker of mine. We had a Holiday party and we were talking about where we lived. I mentioned that I lived in East Austin and she said, “Eaastt Austtinn Uuggghhh”. Needless to say, she is on my shit list. But she just moved here from Houston so I will cut her a little slack.

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-JF

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3 responses

8 01 2009
DD

I think you should say it’s in the heart of the Moon Bounce District… that’s how our friends from NYC told me how to get to our house during SWSX 🙂

8 01 2009
kathy - eastside inn

Not bad! MoBo for short?

9 01 2009
Tammy

YIPPPEEE! I am so happy to hear about this project. Finally somewhere cool to stay in East Austin. I am sending the story to my out of towner LA and San Fran friends who always end up staying at some dull downtown hotel chain.

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