Scoop, Stay and Savor

By Skylla Mumana

A sweet 16 ice-cream dream come true

Nestled in the heart of Central Texas is a rental space full of love, intention and sweet treats. Casa Kumwesu is Waco’s newest themed Airbnb — created by digital content creator Jessica Serna and her husband, Dallas lifestyle blogger Ismail Mpiana — that is all about ice cream.

When Serna purchased the home, her goal was to create a unique rental space that would easily attract tourists, vacationers and travelers. She wanted a special theme to create an unforgettable experience that would bring guests back time and time again. Something that was not only pretty, but memorable.

“It used to be that everything needed to be Instagram-worthy,” Serna said. “You actually really have to go beyond that now and make something that’s interactive. People used to want to get a picture, but now they want to tell a story and feel that story.”

It was while giving a guest lecture at a conference that she got the idea.

“[At the conference] I ended up just talking about how if you had an ice-cream town how you would have to go all out with it,” Serna said. “The conference was right around when we bought the house, so I was like ‘Hey! Let’s make something ice-cream-themed. There’s nothing in the U.S. like that.’”

Then, with some hard work, creativity and the assistance of Houston interior designer, Erica Dike of Erica Ooh Designs, Casa Kumwesu was born. This two-story home sits on five acres of land and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The entire home features ice-cream-themed furniture and art curated from Etsy, Texas artists and furniture retailers. Serna focused mainly on a pastel color scheme, finding that it helped match their sweet theme, but also incorporated bolder reds, pinks and teals throughout for some balance and variety.

Starting with the outside of the home, the couple placed a custom-built ice-cream cart draped in flowers and small ornaments with a set of matching swings that hang from the front porch. They kept the colors simple, only painting the windowsills, pillars and door, but also added details to keep the patio fun.

Inside, guests are immediately welcomed by a wide variety of bright colors and ice-cream-themed pieces. The living room area has plenty of seating, such as the hot pink couch with ice-cream pillows, the smaller hot pink settee or the colorful pouf, to name a few. The ice-cream parlor along the back wall gives guests a retro feel with a pink antique rotary dial landline, yet keeps things abstract with the large, pink melting ice-cream stool and wall of prop treats. For coffee lovers, Serna placed a coffee bar adjacent to the ice-cream parlor.

The kitchen features both modern and vintage appliances. Serna had Texas artist Volta Voloshin-Smith design the ice-cream pull-out drawers and included ice-cream plant holders on the shelf to add a pop of green.

The primary bedroom in the house is a little tamer, with Serna instead opting for more subtle ice cream touches, such as the wall art and the small ice-cream table in the reading nook.

The two other bedrooms are more ice-cream-themed. The pink twin bedroom wall is decorated with ice-cream stickers and the bed covers look like dripping ice-cream cones. The pale mint bedroom has ice-cream artwork, a fuzzy ice-cream blanket and a line of ice-cream cone pillows.

When Serna first saw the spiral staircase, she knew that she wanted to add a pop of color, so with the help of her husband, the pair utilized pastel vinyl to get that rainbow effect.

“The spiral staircase was a huge draw for us, and adding the pastel rainbow colors to it really helps draw people in,” Serna said.

The stairs lead to the upstairs loft that’s filled with games and activities to pass the time, including a large Pac-Man arcade machine. The chairs in the space can also fold out flat, providing extra sleeping space if needed.

This iconic home can be rented out for all kinds of events, from birthday parties to girls’ trips, conferences and staycations. Serna hopes that it’ll be a rental that anyone and everyone can enjoy and have fun in.

“We really want this to be something that people can really come visit,” Serna said.