Last spring we had the distinct pleasure of collaborating with the talented siblings behind Cactus Moon Lodge, a beautiful 7 casita lodge, venue, retreat perched high atop a ridgetop in the rolling hills of Dripping Springs and their family ‘legacy’ project.
Creating spaces and experiences is embedded into their collective DNA. They pulled the name from their family’s roots in the native landscapes of West Texas, and in the stars overhead that their father navigated through for 36 years at NASA (with the Apollo lunar missions, including a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work that helped save Apollo 13 and beyond. Yes, men on the moon kind of thing.).
The details and curiosities embedded in the lodge came from the desire to create a reflective mood on the past. Using materials that might have been on the land 300 or 400 years ago when the land was in Mexico, and marrying them with design sensibilities in modern Texas. Also, Cindy Ollig, one of the siblings, winks “we also never shy away from scale and drama.”
The gates are Mexican punched tin in a cactus motif designed by another one of the sisters, Liz Berry, and crafted by their longtime family friends in San Miguel De Allende. The same artist, Alfredo Garcia-Lucio, designed the huge wooden chandeliers and pendants with the mesquite slats—traditionally used in historic traditional Mexican roofing—and then tipped them in gold gilt. Garcio-Lucio also dreamed up the punched tin sconces that dot the property, with each one reflecting a different star pattern found in their dark sky. The siblings turned to Austin furniture design house, Four Hands, to furnish most of the Lodge, paired with found objects picked at Comfort Texas’ renowned 8th St Market. Photography throughout is by Texans Laura Morsman, Ashley Sawtelle, Sarah Doliver & Scott Newton.
Within this environment that feels like a kind of “cabinet of curiosities’ for adults, it’s natural to extend to the colorful community that orbits the family’s world. This was the inspiration behind opening up their doors and inviting their community in for the first post-COVID celebration, as an opportunity to celebrate and gather.
Guests included Stacy Franklin of Franklin BBQ, Mariam Parker of the Austin Food and Wine Festival, Chef Fiore Tedesco and co-owner Adam Orman of Loca D’oro, Grammy-winning songstress Pauleene Reese, local winemakers and many more.
With a roster of local vendors bringing the vision of “A Love Letter to Texas” to life, it was a tender and vibrant night that celebrated the resilient spirit of their community. This spirit allows them to continually not just survive, but to reinvent, thrive and show up, supporting each other and their neighbors through whatever challenge arises.
“If you close your eyes you can hear the sounds of Texas here.
the prickly pear flowers open and close like tides
this land sustains us
what if we wrapped up other people who persisted and pushed
who kept making and creating for us all
spread around some winks
look into some eyes
what if we..
asked the breezes to blow and some stars to shine
what would that mean? would the prickly pear bloom?
would the dragonflies two step? would the hummingbirds sit and watch?”
Welcome to Cactus Moon.
Venue: Cactus Moon Lodge @cactusmoontx
Design: The Nouveau Romantics @thenouveauromantics
Photography: Ashley Sawtelle @ashleysawtelle
Video: Peyton Frank @peytonfrank
Florals: Davy Grey @valerie.wolf and The Perfect Petal @theperfectpetal
Catering: Contigo Catering @contigocatering
Rentals / Tent: Whim Hospitality @whimhospitality
Rentals / Tabletop: Table Manners @tablemannerstx
Rentals / Other: Loot Rentals @lootrentals
Music: Django Foxtrot via Dart Collective @dartcollective
Charcuterie + Cheese Board: Casero Austin @caseroaustin
Wine: Wine for the People @wineforthepeople and C.L. Butaud @clbutaud