Around the Bend – D Magazine

Ella Castle

If anyone understands the snowball effect that good design, a little strategic styling, and the magic of marketing can have, it’s Amber Venz Box. Now the founder of rewardStyle—the platform that effectively launched the influencer industry overnight—is applying her aesthetic approach to real estate. But don’t think brick and mortar; […]

If anyone understands the snowball effect that good design, a little strategic styling, and the magic of marketing can have, it’s Amber Venz Box. Now the founder of rewardStyle—the platform that effectively launched the influencer industry overnight—is applying her aesthetic approach to real estate. But don’t think brick and mortar; more like raw wood beams and tarps.

Box and her husband and business partner, Baxter, discovered the ghost town of Terlingua seven years ago on a road trip through West Texas. The couple fell in love with the area, which is on the Western boundary of Big Bend National Park. The remoteness was at the heart of its appeal. “It’s such a unique experience from what we get in Dallas,” Box says. “Almost everyone lives off the grid and there’s just this ability to start from scratch out there.”

They found themselves returning often and decided to create an oasis that could serve as both a getaway for their growing family and a means of introducing their favorite escape with others. The isolated nature of the area meant simply sourcing materials and crews for construction was a challenge. The solution was shipping in low-footprint, ready-to-build yurts that could be easily assembled with local labor.

Each of The Local Chapter’s yurts are generously sized at nearly 600 square feet and also boast running water and electricity. The large bathrooms feature a CB2 mirror, DL Designworks sconce, and pendant lights from Lighting World.

Dubbed The Local Chapter, the development boasts five luxe yurts—the Box family’s private dwelling and four that they rent out—each designed with comfort and relaxation in mind. The yurts are spaced across a 392-acre mesa, providing guests with unobstructed, 360-degree views of the national park. Each is outfitted with an outdoor fire pit, plush Stori Modern outdoor furniture, and a telescope for stargazing—though being so far removed from city lights, you hardly need one.

Inside, Box created inviting sanctuaries using as many Texas-based products as possible. Each 573-square-foot yurt boasts a king bed, indoor fireplace, large bathroom with oversized shower, cozy reading nooks, and an assortment of creature comforts (read: Dyson supersonic hair dryers). “It is really something for the design-minded adventurer,” she says.

With plans for more destinations in the works, The Local Chapter has become deeply personal for the Box family. Whether it be hiking, stargazing, or floating in the river, it offers them a place of solitude to reflect and reconnect. “My oldest, who’s 4 and a half, loves archery, and we collect rocks,” Box says. “It’s things that you don’t find yourself doing in a city that are so simple.”

Amber Venz Box Big Bend Yurt

Box furnished the dwellings with local brands whenever possible, including Stori Modern outdoor furniture.

Elizabeth Lavin

Home Away from Home

Box’s tips for making your rental property really shine.

Live in your space. “By being your own guest, you can really observe what’s missing,” Box notes. Spend a weekend on property and take notes of your stay—then, identify opportunities to improve and refine.

Create an experience people want to talk about. “Referrals make the best guests because they show up excited about what they are about to experience,” she says.

Help your guests experience the local flavor. “There’s nothing like a tour from a local,” says Box, who provides city guides with tips on what to see, where to eat, and what to order.

Give it up for the ‘Gram. Though Box encourages guests to unplug, she knows social media is key to business generation. She fosters content creation with Instagrammable moments and decor, with plenty of inspiration via The Local Chapter’s own Instagram account (@thelocalchapter): “I’m showing people how to see the space and the potential memories they might want to create,” she says.

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