Little Forest thrills

Little Forest Hills is known for being one of the funkiest neighborhoods in Dallas, and thanks to the growth of short-term rental property apps like Airbnb and VRBO, neighbors and visitors can enjoy one-of-a-kind abodes near White Rock Lake. For those who want to stay in the city and aren’t interested in luxurious five-star treatment, these properties are fun ways to hide away.

Photos by Danny Fulgencio.

Asian garden getaway

A wall of green greets guests as they pull up to the Treehouse in Little Forest Hills. Walking down the gravel pathway, they are transported out of urban Dallas. An 80-year-old pecan tree stands watch near the street, backed by dozens of colorful Japanese maples, 15 bald cypress trees and a bois d’arc tree that shade the grounds.

A pond, fountain and large metal sculptures add to the experience, and a wooden bridge in the front yard takes guests over a small tributary of Ash Creek. When it rains, a small waterfall rushes through the ravine. The Asian garden is completed with a gong near the bridge.

“It’s inside-outside kind of living,” owner Danielle Kaserman says. “There is a peace that you get walking into the house. It’s magical, and you don’t feel like you are in Dallas.”

Though hidden by foliage, the home boasts floor to ceiling windows and a front porch where a guest might watch the local barn owl, armadillos or a family of raccoons who often travel through the wooded yard.

Inside, dozens of plants hang in the vaulted space with pulleys and rope that allow for easier watering. The original owner, a sculptor, built the older half of the home and left many of his works on the grounds. He accessed his lofted bedroom by climbing a makeshift ladder and returned to the living area on a fireman’s pole, which is now gone.

Photos by Danny Fulgencio.

The interior is a mix of reclaimed materials; the exposed beams and natural limestone give a Tuscan vibe. Iron pieces and driftwood are highlighted by skylights. The home’s second owner expanded its footprint, adding a kitchen, dining area and master suite. Windows open to a babbling brook and singing bullfrogs.

Lakewood neighbor Danielle and her husband, Scott, bought the home and lived there for a couple of years, but the levels, rushing creek and spiral staircase didn’t make the best environment for their active 2-year-old daughter, Isabella. They couldn’t imagine parting with the property and have rented it since they moved out.

The home, which has been booked every weekend between January and June, is only available for two weekends between now and October. It is usually occupied more than 20 days a month by everyone from international travelers to staycationers.

The Kasermans say prospective renters have asked about good hiking spots on the property and if they could bring all terrain vehicles, unaware that the forested oasis is a normal-sized lot in East Dallas. The property hosts frequent marriage proposals, photo shoots and even actors doing yoga on the porch for a Subaru commercial.

The Kasermans visit the property often, and Isabella bursts with excitement when she hears about trips to the Treehouse. “Even when you have been here a lot, there are moments when you are in awe,” Danielle says.

9002 San Leandro Ave. 

Airstream dream

Photo by Danny Fulgencio.

For the traveler who appreciates vintage efficiency, the Airstream trailer that sits at the back of Michell and Keith Sosnoskie’s home in Little Forest Hills is perfect.

Emma, as she is known, is a 1987 beauty that is 28-feet long and sleeps four people. Its backyard setting is full of life, from bird swings and trees to a fence designed to let the breeze flow through the yard.

Inside, the trailer looks more 1887 than 1987. The former owner remodeled the interior, and it now boasts reclaimed wood floors, cabinets and shelves. Not to worry — the rustic décor is simply a design choice. The Airstream has cable television, a refrigerator and a working bathroom.

The Sosnoskies originally bought the trailer as a place for guests to stay, but they often sleep there when they have company because they enjoy the escape. The couple loves to entertain and are happy to provide wine and coffee for guests, prompting many to ask for a longer stay.

When approached to shoot a scene from a horror movie in their back yard, they had to say no. They didn’t want to bring any negative vibes to their beloved Little Forest Hills neighborhood. The Sosnoskies love how many stars they can see from the back yard, the sunsets over the lake, and they even find the neighborhood train comforting.

Guests who book the Airstream can liken themselves to actor Matthew McConaughey, who some say kicked off the Airstream trend with his customized trailer.   They can also expect to be invited to neighborhood events. “It’s a real sense of community,” Michell says of the neighborhood, which has yoga gatherings, wine parties and other neighborhood functions. “You could book yourself up daily.”

8907 San Leandro Ave. 

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