Sweet Dreams Do Come True in Casa Kumwesu, an Ice Cream-Themed Airbnb in Texas

UPDATED: June 17, 2024
PUBLISHED: March 2, 2024
2 ice cream themed beds at casa kumwesu ice cream airbnb

Husband-wife duo Jessica Serna and Ismail Mpiana want their influence to extend beyond social media to reality. At Casa Kumwesu, their Waco, Texas-based vacation home that’s available for rent, the couple wants to share their love for the Lone Star State—specifically their love of Texas ice cream—with visitors from various parts of the world.

Travelers visiting Waco can book a stay at their whimsical ice cream-themed Airbnb, which accommodates eight guests, features vibrant ice cream-inspired decor at every turn and is bedecked with cozy and colorful furniture throughout. The home is ideal for adults desiring an escape and for parents who want to give their kids a “sweet retreat.” 

Casa Kumwesu opened April 2023 on five acres of property in Waco. The retreat’s name comes from words for “home” and “community,” combining Serna’s Latina culture and Mpiana’s Zambian culture. 

“We always wanted a house to start with,” Serna says. “We travel so much that when we had an apartment, we were just paying to rent out a place we were never at. We knew we always wanted a place that was ours, but that we could rent out when we weren’t in town.”

My Curly Adventures creator, Jessica Serna, and her husband join forces

Before Serna and her husband began influencing full-time via their respective Instagram handles, My Curly Adventures and My Culinary Adventures, Jessica worked a nine-to-five job but maintained a burning desire to travel the world. Since work kept her tied down, she and Mpiana opted to take short weekend trips.

Though most of their posts were organic, without the expectation of reaching a large audience, the couple’s weekend trips became part of their brand. 

Jessica Serna and Ismail Mpiana outside their ice cream-themed Airbnb.

“We were dating, and we’d just take these fun weekend trips,” Serna says. “We just looked around, and we were like, ‘Oh, there’s this place to go sand surfing in Monahans,’ or ‘Let’s make a little weekend getaway out in Fredericksburg or these English gardens… .’ I had a photography background, so I was posting on social media just because that’s what people do. And then my friends started asking about all these places we were visiting, and at the time, there wasn’t really a social media presence for things to do in Texas, so people were just coming to us for what we were sharing.”

Today, the couple has more than 300,000 followers combined on Instagram, where they share reels and photos of fun places to travel and dine near the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

Casa Kumwesu celebrates local flavor as the area’s first ice cream-themed Airbnb

Serna and Mpiana are aware that Waco is synonymous with beloved Texans Chip and Joanna Gaines and Magnolia Market—a huge draw for tourists that has likely brought a good portion of visitors to Casa Kumwesu. The two have similarly been intentional about incorporating Texan culture and art within the house, with much of the furnishings designed by local artists.

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The house itself is minutes away from a river, where visitors can learn how to kayak. Guests can also opt to visit an indoor surf park, Cameron Park Zoo and several locally owned businesses. Though there are no ice cream machines inside the house, guests often purchase ice cream from local businesses to leave in the freezer for the next travelers. 

Casa Kumwesu isn’t just a backdrop—it’s a dream come true

Serna and Mpiana want Casa Kumwesu to be more than just a photo op.

“I think people think of it a lot as an Instagram house, and yes, it is great for pictures,” Serna says. “But kids love it. We hear from guests all the time that their kids want to move there. They’re talking about it for months to come. It is a colorful wonderland. I think as adults, we think of it as this Instagram thing. But as kids, they’re just living their dream.”

The key to longevity is an ability to evolve and adapt

Having been in the influencer realm for almost seven years, the couple have seen social platforms evolve. From attention-grabbing photo posts to captivating reels, they’ve maintained their footprint in the digital world and say the key to longevity is to be able to move in tandem with each platform.

“At any point, something that worked yesterday may not work today,” Mpiana says. “There is a challenge in that, but we’re open to adapting. When videos came on board, we pivoted, and that’s now become part of what we do. You just have to be willing to adapt.”

Photography by Jessica Serna.